Students angry with Michelle Obama’s school “lunch rations” have taken to Twitter to share photo of their fairly vacant trays. School cafeteria staffers across the stated that not only are students telling them they are still hungry, the kids are also registering their angst over the offering on the menu and dumping much of the food in the trash.
Packing a lunch from home is not an option for all students. Many on the free and reduced lunch program either eat the small portions of food they might not enjoy on the cafeteria tray, or go hungry. A growing number of students have taken to social media to tell First Lady Michelle Obama how they feel about their school lunches.
Even one mother who was at the school for a function and decided to dine with her daughter added her two cents about the First Lady’s lunch portions. After posting a photo of lunch tray with nothing more than half a kiwi and what appears to be a sloppy Joe sandwich, Megan Howell (@Howelady) said, “My school lunch while eating with my daughter. Only other choice was a scoop of salad. This is sad!”
According to a report published by The Washington Times, a total of 1 million students stopped eating a school lunch as a result of the implementation of Michelle Obama’s new lunch standards. A Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act nutrition standards revealed that 48 states are facing compliance obstacles. Some of the challenges noted to the new standards noted in the report include student boycotts, “odd food pairings” such as shrimp with a cheese stick, and increased cafeteria lunch tray costs.
The national School Lunch Program experienced a “sharp decline” after the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act nutrition standards went into effect during the 2012-13 school year. Participation in the school lunch program had steadily increased for the past 10 years, according to the report. The government audit also noted that 321 districts opted out of the National School Lunch Program entirely, citing the new nutrition standards are the reason.
Despite the government audit, complaints by schools, students, and parents the USDA is still heralding Michelle Obama’s school lunch program as “popular.” The reportedly difficult to follow guidelines and restrictions have forced some school to nix peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. School with open lunch hours at the middle and high school levels have found more students going off campus to buy lunch or grabbing snacks from nearby vending machines.
Michelle Obama’s nutrition standards include strict calorie limits for all age groups, sodium limits, specific ounce counts for grain and meat, a total ban on white bread by the end of this school year, and zero tolerance for trans fats.