It seems that in the Top of Utah -- as well as across the nation -- school children are wrinkling their noses in displeasure at what passes for lunch in public schools. The UDSA's Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act has resulted in lower-calorie, lower-fat meals with more fruit and vegetables, less protein and grains, and smaller portion sizes.
It is a bit sad that school kids are being pushed toward the "supermarket diet section" of school cafeterias. And across the Top of Utah, there has been a backlash.
School lunch demand is down considerably, layoffs of workers have occurred as a result, and trash bins are seeing more soggy fruits and mushy vegetables.
However, the kids using the public schools for lunch need to get used to the new "diet fare." It's here to stay and that's what you're going to get. There are some valid health reasons behind the USDA changes. Children are heavier than they used to be, on average, and there are accompanying health risks. It would be nice if school food were tastier, but haven't public school lunches been grinding in the bellies of many children for generations, whether it's broccoli they're eating or apple pie?
However, the USDA, as well as the local schools that receive the food requirements, need to do their best to find a happier medium between healthy eating and tasty meals. More palatable meals have a health impact. If fewer school children are eating the healthy meals in schools, it's a good bet that they are making up for the missed meals by snacking or choosing to have lunch at a fat-heavy fast food restaurant.
So, if the diet meals in schools continue to repulse more students, we could see the exact reverse of what the USDA intended, which is more children eating junk and just getting heavier and more unhealthy. That would be a shame.