Drive for healthier school lunches causes a backlash among some educators, administrators and policymakers

TIME Magazine reports:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in January proposed sweeping new nutrition standards for school lunches: limiting French fries and starch to one cup per week, lowering calorie limits and sodium levels, replacing whole milk with skim or 1% and mandating leafy greens and red and orange veggies like squash. The rules will affect some 30 million lunches served in America each school day.

Next on the USDA’s target list: à la carte items and so-called competitive foods [like name-brand pizza and burgers sold at many schools]…

“We’re not trying to be the cupcake police,” says Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the USDA. “But let’s look at helping kids make the right choices.” The federal government “has the responsibility to lead the discussion” on America’s eating habits, Daniel adds…

But the yummy stuff makes more money — and that’s a big deal in an era of tight school budgets. “We had a Chick-fil-A night and made $800,” says Emily Burns, a mother of three who sits on a PTA board at a Tulsa elementary school. “People feel bad” about the fried food, she admits a bit sheepishly, “but it’s $800, and that can buy a piece of equipment for our school.”


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