School Lunch Gets Graded
September 15, 2012

Students Have Mixed Reaction To Healthier School Lunches

Video: Children Need Healthy School Lunches

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

New USDA guidelines passed earlier this year may have been designed to ensure that students get healthier school lunches, but they're reportedly receiving mixed grades from students who aren't always happy with the culinary choices offered by their learning institutions.

While the new guidelines see students "piling more carrots, more apples and fewer fatty foods on their trays," they haven't exactly earned universal praise from those they're intended to help, according to a story published by Fox News Latino on Friday.

"One student complains because his cafeteria no longer serves chicken nuggets," that article added. "Another gripes that her school lunch just isn't filling. A third student says he's happy to eat an extra apple with his lunch, even as he's noshing on his own sub."

Associated Press (AP) reporter Michael Hill reports that the Agriculture Department guidelines require students in schools throughout the country to select more fruits and vegetables to go with their favorite foods, and also enforces a maximum amount of calories that can be consumed during the meal.

Hill wrote that students interviewed at one school district "seemed to accept" the revised guidelines, and that the USDA officials reported that they had observed the same thing elsewhere. That being said, Hill said that some of the more active teenage students complained to him that the meals just weren't filling enough, and others complained that some of the food choices offered by his school district just weren't all that appetizing.

"Reactions in schools so far this fall have been positive, according to Kevin Concannon, the USDA's undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services“¦ But new guidelines or no, many kids are still picky eaters," the AP said. "One thornier complaint is that the new lunches are too little for active teens now that the calorie range for high school lunches is 750 to 850."

Under the guidelines, schools must offer students both fruits and vegetables every day, as well as "substantially increasing" the number of whole grain foods made available during the lunch period, the USDA said in a February press release announcing the program. In addition, it calls upon schools to offer only low-fat or fat-free milk, age-based calorie limits in order to ensure proper portion size, and a concentrated effort to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium included in each meal.