Fat Kids and School Lunches: What You Said

See what Patch readers had to say about school lunches — and tell us what you think.

Should schools be allowed to opt out of certain school lunch nutrition standards?

That was the question atop a Patch story earlier this week about public schools arguing the standards set in 2012 are too costly and are wasteful. One school district in Alaska transferred $135,000 from its education fund to afford the mandates, according to a report from The Hill.

However, supporters say the program has gotten a bad rap and allowing schools to opt of standards meant to encourage children to eat healthfully would be a mistake.

More than 1,400 people voted in our poll, with more than half saying standards are necessary. And nearly 700 readers had something to say about the issue.

Here's another chance for you to sound off:

  • Is flexibility needed to continue healthy-lunch requirements at our public schools? Or is the program working as it should be? Tell us in comments below.

And here's a sampling of earlier comments:

Igor: People are blaming the children's diet for the obesity problem. I think it's the lack of exercise and that falls back on the parents again. It's a lot easier to plunk the kids down in front of the tv or video game', give them chips and a soda. They're out of the parents hair. I know I'll get flack for this but, those who scream the loudest are the most guilty.

Nadja Adolf: The problem with the "healthy lunches" and the "common core" alike is that their supporters base their support on the intentions behind the programs instead of the rotten results of the programs. I think that federal funding for schools should be ended. Period. The availability of federal money and incentive programs has so far encouraged the schools to abandon proven teaching methods including phonics, fail to teach children English, and serve awful food. As more absurd mandates reach the class room, more and more families are abandoning the public schools. In some areas the only people in the public schools are the families who can't afford to either send their kids to private school or to homeschool.

dorthy manser: I've got to agree with you. Federal meddling in schools has produced zero benefit as far as I'm concerned. I think the Feds should insure that public schools spend the same amount of money on every child and butt the hell out. Recommend

Harriet Brown: Not only are these "healthy" foods costly, the children won't eat them.

Bobbie: Brown Bagging no longer works as children may bring food to school to which other children are highly allergic. Also and unfortunately, some families cannot afford to feed their children 3 meals a day. In the 70's, we were on food stamps and our children received free lunches via the Monroe schools. God-Send.

Old Fisherman: How about we just let the parents prepare the lunch for the kids and then maybe they will eat it as they should know what the kids desires. The old brown bag used to work very nicely and avoided all these gripes because you can't criticize your own choice.

Linda Chrisney: We need to go back to fresh food cooked at the school. I live in a nice city but the food in the cafeteria is slop, precooked,slimy trucked around and dumped out to serve to our kids. There is a salad bar chock full of ...WAIT sugary canned peaches, watery cottage cheese. Iceberg that reeks of chemicals, white tasteless water that claims to be ranch dressing etc. No surprise that the kids won't eat it. The employees aren't proud of it and it's handled like waste before it's even served. We need to bring back the onsite "Cafeteria Lady" who sees how the meals are received, what gets eaten and can adjust to seasons and the needs of "her" kids. Let's use the money we spend for advertising, gas, drivers and waste to do this right.
Becca Henry June 01, 2014 at 03:42 PM
My daughter loves her fruits and veggies. I am so lucky. But, she won't touch the school food. It is disgusting. I've tasted it. It is horrid.
Lorna D. Rudnikas June 02, 2014 at 12:13 AM
How far back does this irresponsible behavior on the part of Board of Education reluctance to maintain sensible meals for our schools? What is all the chaotic wringing of hands and shaking of heads all about Alfie? Thin or fat, whatever, nutritious should simply be the rule of the day..not hard to fathom, really!! Get rid of sodas, lots of sugar, fast food garbaage and for heavens sake fried foods. It was easily realized from day one it the trend for fast food in the school was a disaster waiting to happen. Yikes! And so, now suddenly the wheel needs to be reinvented??? Keep it simple folks...basics...get back to them, quick!! Do what is good for our kids no matter the moans and groans.
Solange Kincaid June 02, 2014 at 01:45 PM
When did a school lunch become such a primary event in a students' life? A home-served dinner should be the primary meal event where the kiddies share daily events and nosh on the freshly prepared healthy foods selected by the nurturing adult in the home. School lunches should provide the kiddies with quick energy and inexpensive staples like mac 'n cheese, fries, chocolate milk, and ice cream. Volunteer in an Arlington public school cafeteria and see for yourself the food that is trashed daily that could probably alleviate the starving masses in India and Nigeria for a day! Kids also feel stigmatized by signing in with a school ID that designates free lunch recipients whereas the other kids produce the cash. School-provided breakfasts also rely on bagels and buns - all prone to add to obesity. Parents who don't take the time to provide breakfast to a kid are worthless.
Charlene Culpepper June 09, 2014 at 04:37 PM
I am 65 yrs old and remember eating in the school cafeteria for many years. The food was so so but it was also a break from the old standby of PB&J or bologna sandwiches that was standard lunch fare in our household. My folks mixed it up but we also paid per day for every lunch we ate at school.. There is no right or wrong way to do this.. Make lunches at school cheaper or better tasting... My grand kids simply don't eat if the cafeteria serves crappy tasting food or if they don't like what I make for them at home.. Ergo, they don't eat anything from 7:30 in the morning when they have breakfast until at least 3:30 in the afternoon when they come home starving... I'm pretty sure most kids are like that since mom and dad are not there to insure that they eat.. Kids will be kids...


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