Take a few moments to read this article about a Pittsburgh school that is already feeling the pinch of the new lunch regulations.
The smaller, less satisfying portions aren’t the fault of the district, according to food service director Maryann Lazzaro. She says they’re simply following federal school lunch guidelines that require more fruits and vegetables. “If you’re working with 650 calories for a meal, and 140 comes from a milk and 70 comes from fruit because fruit is now mandated … you’ve only got a small amount left for the protein the bread and the vegetable,” says Lazzaro.
Parent Jo-Ann Ward concurs that the issue is “not a reflection on the school or the lunch workers,” But for kids who play sports after school and may not get home till after 5 p.m., it’s not enough food. “Most kids are having to purchase 2 lunches or 1 lunch and a bunch of extras just to get through the day,” says Ward.
While Told you so: part I focused on less scratch foods, this quick post gets at the idea of the strict calorie and nutrition restrictions. Middle-school kids get less food, and I’ve heard school lunch personnel talk about trying to cut grains and protein by serving a sandwich with only one slice of bread, or how one drumstick is cutting it close… Our eleven year-old, lean Mommy’s helper complained that she’s not getting enough food (and this was before the regulations). “I hate pizza day, the slices are like, this big, and I’m always starving.”
I wonder how much more we will hear about this topic, since much of the country hasn’t even started school yet.
Keep your eyes and ears open for me, will ya? Are your kids complaining? Is your school lunch better? Worse? How? (I have to say, St Paul schools has a fantastic menu, so we’re very lucky. I’ll let you know if M notices she gets less food…)
If we are failing to meet the most basic needs of hunger, we are failing our children in the most fundamental way. BTW, no study (and many, many millions have been spent looking) have shown that reducing calories and fat in lunches makes kids slimmer, which seems to be the #1 goal of school lunch programs these days…