Sunday, January 29, 2012

School Lunches to get an Overhaul

Finally, the US Public School Lunches are getting their first overhaul in 15 years.  The US Department of Agriculture is starting their 3 year phase in plan, of the new regulations, for school lunches this fall.  Included in this plan is a 6 cent a plate increase in school lunch funding to each public school.

Gone are the tater tots and in are the baked sweet potato fries with the new regulations.   Pizza will now have to have a whole wheat crust.  Milk that is more than 1% fat is out too.  Those cookies that everyone gets excited about will be replaced with a piece of fruit.  Which leaves, well I'm not sure what that leaves in the menu that our kids will eat.

I am all for healthier school lunches.  School lunches haven't changed much since I was a kid in the 80s, I think that the chicken and noodles my kids eat at school now might even be left from that decade.  It is time for them to get a face lift and become part of the healthy eating trend.  The question on my mind is, will kids go for it?

My other concern is how much is this going to cost in reality?  It's all good for the government to chip in that whole 6 cents per lunch to help out with the cost of the new foods, but preparing healthy meals costs more than that.  I'm already paying the school more a week for my kids lunches than I think I should be, and I am not alone in feeling this way.  Food costs are rising all over the country, and in states where fresh produce can't be grown during the majority of the year gas prices are pushing those costs even higher.  The new fresh standards for lunches look great on paper, but the actual cost of them are going to hurt the middle class each week if they go too high.

The government is also asking for parents support while they implement these new regulations.  They know that kids are more likely to eat something that they have seen before, and are asking parents to introduce the new foods at home so kids will eat them at school.  For parents this means watching your kids lunch menu for when something they don't normally eat pops up and then either going and buying that item, or packing your kids lunch on that day.

Children are notorious for being picking eaters.  They will eat what they are use to eating and sometimes even that can be a struggle to get them to eat those things.  There are whole cookbooks dedicated to cooking for kids, how to make healthy foods kids will supposedly love, and how to sneak veggies into the meals that they already love.  If parents are having to resort to buying books on sneaking vegetables into their own kids meals are we actually going to believe that those same kids are going to gobble up sweet potato fries over french fries at school?

You can view the new school lunch guidelines on the USDA's website


  1. linking up on g+ via the hop. please connect back !

  2. My kids are still young (3 yrs old & 7 months) so I'm not sure what they serve as school lunches... but I think it's great they they're starting to serve healthier options. As far as cost... I think that's a great way for schools to set an example on how healthy can be cheap. A school could offer a class on horticulture & use the food in the cafeteria. (That's what our college did.) Or, just think of the money they could save by simply planting a few apple trees to use for food.