Thursday, September 27, 2012

Michelle Obama's school lunch rules leaving our kids really hungry

     If you want to understand how liberals view the world, take a look at the new lunch rules that schools have to follow in order to avoid a cut-off of federal aid. It’s a one-size-fits-all approach to school nutrition that is literally starving some of our students.
     Some Kansas students have created a video, posted above, that now has half-a-million Youtube hits. And while the video is funny, these new edicts are not.
     New school lunch rules pushed by Michelle Obama and other ultra-leftists impose an 850-calorie maximum on all high school lunches. This calorie-cap applies to all students, from the 80-pound waif to the 200-pound football player who burns 5,000 calories a day.
     But it gets worse! The feds are dictating what goes on the plate as well. The potato and tomato lobby managed to fight off efforts to essentially ban potatoes and pizza, but other rules have gone into effect that make school lunches pretty unappetizing.
     For example, instead of normal, delicious bread and pasta students are now served inedible whole-grain products. These have to be thrown away uneaten, but nevertheless are counted in the 850-calorie total as if they were actually consumed.
     Let’s consider a typical Obomameal: Two baked fish nuggets, a cup of vegetables, half a cup of mashed potatoes, one whole grain roll and 8 ounces of fat free milk. Milk tastes bad, so it has to be thrown away; whole grain rolls taste bad, so they have to be thrown away; the vegetable might or might not have to be thrown away, depending on what it is. That leaves students with a lunch consisting of two fish nuggets and a half-cup of mashed potatoes, which isn’t enough to get through the day. Even if a student were to eat it all, for many it’s not enough.
     And talk about waste! Students are allowed to refuse one item as they pass through the lunch line. Everything else is put on their tray whether they want it or not. So our lunch rules guarantee that a substantial portion of the food served is going to end up going straight into the trash.
     The Obama administration recently came up with a solution to the mess it has made. Snacks! That’s right, the government says students just need to buy snacks to get them through the day. I’m not sure what poor students on the free-lunch program are supposed to do. Perhaps they can enjoy their snacks vicariously by watching others eat.
     The solution isn’t snacks. Like most problems our school lunch woes have an easy solution: Serve our kids normal food! Let them have a Burger Day once a week when they are served a 6-oz. hamburger along with crinkle-cut fries and ketchup as a vegetable. Let them have cinnamon rolls for breakfast that are so good that they will still be talking about it 40 years later. Let them have white bread and potatoes and pizza and real cheese and Cokes to drink – all the things that we as adults eat. Let’s get Michelle Obama’s nose out of America’s lunch rooms and return control to local school districts.
     If we want to tackle childhood obesity, then let’s tackle it! Let’s have the courage to tell fat kids and their parents, “You’re fat.” Then we can require them to adhere to the new lunch rules that presumably will help them lose weight; it suits me if we require them to spend an hour on a treadmill every day. Let's stand up to the corn lobby and ban high fructose corn syrup – a dangerous poison which causes obesity. But don’t stop the entire high school from chomping down on a hamburger and fries just because a few kids are fat! Feed lettuce leaves to the kids who need them and leave everyone else alone.
     One size doesn’t fit all. Different students have different needs; Michelle Obama’s new lunch rules serve our nation poorly.
     It’s a lot like the problem with Obamacare, which assumes that every American wants and needs exactly the same insurance policy. We don’t. Our needs are different, just as the 80-lb. girl has different nutritional needs than a 200-lb. football player.
     When I was a second-grader at Sallie Cochran Elementary School in Holly Springs, one of the things I remember is how delicious the cinnamon rolls that we would get from time to time were. They were good enough that people talk about them decades later. All today’s students will be able to remember decades from now is how hungry they were.


Anonymous said...

You represent everything that is wrong with the old guard at Ole Miss. Please hurry up and die so that we can bring the University into the 20th century.

Anonymous said...

if this is satire, poking fun at the ignorant, then its almost funny. But if its an actual opinion of someone purporting to be a graduate of The University of Mississippi then it is an embarrassment to the university and city of Oxford. That said, I am certain the authors parents are very proud

Col. Reb Sez said...

I'm not sure if the same Anonymous who wished me dead also declared me "fucking stupid" for supporting the Reagan administration position of allowing ketchup to be classified as a vegetable. However, yes, I believe that once a week or so school kids ought to be allowed to have a burger and fries for lunch, just like the rest of the world.

Anyone who Googles this issue will find that a world of people agree with me. It's quite common for those on the left to simply label the conservative position of allowing free choice as "satire."

Stay tuned. America's schoolkids are going to get tired of going hungry and being served crappy food.

Anonymous said...

I got "tired of going hungry and being served crappy food" during the Reagan administration.

You may or may not be stupid, but you should realize that your preferences are not everyone's. For instance, I don't like milk so I would throw it away, but my daughter does so she drinks it. I don't like burgers or fish sticks, but whole-grain rolls sound delicious to me while my daughter likes both fish sticks and whole grain rolls, though still not burgers.

Generalizations will get you called stupid every time!!! (Yes, I know that's a generalization.)

Col. Reb Sez said...

Anonymous, you make a point. Although I think a majority of students will not like the new lunch rules there will be some who like the new menus. I suspect the small portions will be popular with a lot of girls who tend to watch their weight like hawks. Not so much with guys; and therein lies my complaint. A small girl and a big guy don't have the same calorie needs but the rules treat them the same.

You mention that you might throw your milk away but your daughter wouldn't. (FWIW, my daughter likes whole grain products, my son doesn't). Yet the school lunch rules require that students only get to refuse one item. So there is going to be a tremendous amount of plate waste. Essentially we are going to be throwing a lot of money in the garbage can.

I support healthy eating choices, but they should be a choice. Children should not be starved into eating vegetables they don't like. Vegetables taste different to childre. As a child I liked very few, but as I got older I slowly added them to my diet. Attempting to force-feed me broccoli in third grade would not have been productive.

But the bottom line is that the federal government shouldn't be micro-managing local school lunchrooms. This isn't going to be popular. Stay tuned.

Saille said...

Well, just for starters, here are the ingredients in Heinz ketchup, other than tomatoes, vinegar and spices: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP.

So no, it's not a vegetable.

Second, obesity isn't necessarily going to manifest in high schoolers with high metabolisms, but the eating patterns they set during their formative years can and will contribute to obesity later in life. Whole grains don't spike blood sugar the way white flour-based products do. Fermented breads like sourdough spike it even less. That's why it's worth serving to every kid.

Third, if a kid refuses an item, it's not served, right? So no, not all of those things are going in the trash. But it sure would be nice if schools composted.

Fourth, before we talk about "micromanaging" lunch rooms, let's talk about not managing them enough, which has certainly been the trend. You spoke of lobbies...yep. That's why the government has historically required two grains per meal. There has historically been a TON of fat, oil and sugar served in school cafeteria, from sweetened juice drinks to sweetened milks to fried foods, high-fat dressings, etc.. Vegetables have traditionally been canned and overcooked (destroying much of the natural nutritional value) with added fat and high sodium content. Salads have been iceberg lettuce (pretty much no nutritional value). Fresh veggies usually come with a side of ranch. There's corn syrup in the peanut butter. There's loads of fat in the corn-fed meat. Piffle on your cinnamon rolls. We've got much bigger problems. Thank goodness for Mrs. Obama, who fully grasps the extent of this national crisis.

Col. Reb Sez said...


Thank you for your comment.

Hunt's ketchup has not high fructose corn syrup. You will get no argument from me for keeping this poison out of the lunchroom. But a large serving of ketchup has most of the vitamins and minerals that are found in a tomato. So it is a vegetable. The only reason for this classification is to occasionally allow the serving of a burger with fries.

I think the benefit of whole grain bread is overstated, but I do think it is available. But I think regular bread should be available, too.

Third, and important, is that students may not refuse but one item. So yes, students must take things that they don't want and then just throw them in the trash. There is going to be lots of waste. I don't think a school can accept an unopened carton of milk. It has to be discarded.

Fourth, the USDA put in some pretty stringent lunch rules several years ago, so it's not like our school lunchrooms were dishing out unhealthy fare. And you seem to state opposition to sweetened milk, but Los Angeles found that when they removed chocolate milk the kids just quit drinking milk. Chocolate milk returned. You cannot totally control human behavior.

Saille said...

Here's an average mid-western school lunch menu for this week:

Here's what I see:

White flour
Sugar syrup
corn fed meat (loads more fat)
canned fruit (less nutrition, prob. added sugar)
fried (possibly double-fried) potatoes

There are some frozen veggies on there, I'll grant you that. There are sweet potatoes, albeit still fried. The jury's out, but IME the applesauce is likely sweetened, the pizza sauce likely has corn syrup in it, and there's likely lard in the beans.

The ONLY fresh veggie served that week is carrot sticks. I don't see any evidence of multi-grain or whole-grain bread.

The "fruit and veggie of the month" are kind of silly, since I don't see delicata squash anywhere on that menu, and the pears I see look like the same old canned pears, or why would they be "chilled"? The "healthy eating" sidebar offers no real information.

Now, tell me how this in any way deprives any child of stuff kids like to eat? It doesn't. Kids like pancakes and burgers and pizza and things you dip. However, it does NOT:

•eliminate corn syrup
•offer substantial fresh veggies
•follow the color model for healthy veggies. Where are the leafy greens, the (unfried, non-tired old carrot sticks) orange and purple veggies?
•Offer nutritious meat and a viable daily meatless entree?

It's so frustrating.

So many American school children can't even identify many veggies, let alone how or where they grow. How are we going to acclimate them to eating a variety of food if we haven't made them generally available?

You know what else? I'm awful tired of my healthcare premiums going up b/c my neighbors fill up on simple carbs and then develop preventable diseases.

Col. Reb Sez said...


Thanks for posting.

First, I agree with you 100 percent on high fructose corn syrup.

One of the big points in my blog post was that the new portion sizes are too small for many high school students. A student athlete, for example, might need 5,000 calories per day, and an 850-calorie lunch just isn't going to cut it. Also, even though SNAP benefits are more than sufficient, many poor children simply aren't getting fed over the weekends and come to school on Mondays ravenous. To cut the size of their meals essentially in half is cruel.

I would guess that the pancakes in the menu you cite are made with whole wheat flour. Same for the pizza dippers.

You can go on about how wonderful purple and green vegetables are, but most of the broccoli is going to be thrown away uneaten. Most of the peas will be thrown away uneaten. If the schools were to do as you would have them do and serve even more varied vegetables, such as eggplant, they would need to bring in extra garbage cans.

I do think schools should strive to provide healthy eating options every day. But they should also provide foods that students are sure to want to eat. So on the day that they have sweet potato fries, they should also have real fries. On the day that they have broccoli they might also have corn. Let's give these kids choices.

Students may not have the exact eating habits you want them to have, but it's really not right for you and yours to try to starve them into submission. It won't work. The end result is going to be that they throw the food they don't like away and then buy unhealthy snacks. Far better to just let them have a serving of corn or mashed potatoes than a couple of Snickers bars.