More School Lunch Protests

      48 Comments on More School Lunch Protests

More students are complaining about the new USDA-mandated lunches:

Statistics that show obesity is a growing problem prompted an overhaul of the nation’s school lunch menus.  The new rules require twice as many fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and less sodium and fat.  And some students aren’t very happy about the changes.

I noticed the reporter doesn’t even ask himself if the overhaul will actually reduce obesity.  In fact, I’ve yet to read a mainstream media article which raises that question.  Reporters all seem to accept that more fruits, vegetables, healthywholegrains and reductions in fat and sodium are good ideas that the kids just don’t happen to like.

On Tuesday, Congresswoman Kristi Noem sat down with students in Pierre to see what they think of the new menu.

It’s nice that a Congresswoman is listening to kids in her district, but once again, somebody in the mainstream media should be asking the Big Question:  Why should school-lunch menus be a federal issue in the first place?  By what strange reasoning do we accept that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington are better qualified than parents and local officials to decide what kids in South Dakota should be eating for lunch?  The issue here shouldn’t be whether or not we (or a Congressperson) can somehow convince the school-lunch overlords to let kids eat more of what they want.  The issue should be the very existence of school-lunch overlords.

With the new federal regulations, kids can’t pass up both the fruits and veggies when going through the lunch line anymore.

Pretty please, take a moment and think about the utter arrogance underlying that rule.

What, you don’t want a fruit or vegetable on your plate?  Too friggin’ bad.  We in the USDA have decided you will put a fruit or vegetable on your plate, period.  We know what’s best for you.

So we’ve got do-gooder officials in Washington telling kids in our district in Tennessee what they can and cannot – and must – put on their plates.  Parents, teachers, local administrators, the kids themselves – their preferences don’t enter into it.

Here’s more of the same arrogance in a reply by a USDA official:

“One thing I think we need to keep in mind as kids say they’re still hungry is that many children aren’t used to eating fruits and vegetables at home, much less at school.  So it’s a change in what they are eating. If they are still hungry, it’s that they are not eating all the food that’s being offered,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary Janey Thornton said.

Got that?  If the kids are hungry, it’s their fault for not eating the fruits and vegetables the overlords at the USDA have insisted must go on their plates.  It couldn’t possibly be that fruits and vegetables – which have little or no protein or fat – just aren’t very filing.  It couldn’t possibly be that the USDA experts are friggin’ clueless about what a growing child or active teenager needs to get through the day without going hungry.  No, by gosh, we’re from the government and we’re here to help.

I hope students all over the country rise up against this nanny-state, paternalistic nonsense.  I hope they coordinate their protests through social media and make it a nationwide revolt.  Come on, kids, take a stand.  Start an Occupy The Cafeteria movement.  When government officials start telling you what you can and cannot eat, it’s time to raise hell.


48 thoughts on “More School Lunch Protests

  1. The Older Brother

    Oooow. Civil disobedience. I love it.

    It would be a blast to watch how the education establishment, which is the dinosaur tar pit of the progressive movement, handles being hoisted on its own petard.


    The dinosaur tar pit of the progressive moment … that’s a big pit. Let’s hope more of them fall into it.

  2. Janknitz

    My daughter always brings her lunch to school but she was comparing notes with another kid who had the same orthodontic appliances installed, and that kid always had the school lunch.

    For the fruit part of the school lunch the kids are often given a whole apple. At least 50% of the kids in the 6th grade have orthodontia and cannot eat an apple whole because biting into it would break the wires. The dental appliance my daughter and her friend have makes it even harder because they can’t fully open their mouths. I like the idea of real fruit, but they are taking “whole” a little far when they don’t consider these kids’ needs. And, of course, kids aren’t permitted to have knives to slice the apples themselves.

    I do, however, applaud the disappearance of rice krispie treats and snickerdoodles from the school menus, although I don’t think the government should have had to make this happen!

    Well, here’s how the government geniuses will probably handle it: they’ll order the kids to eat the apples, then create a subsidy to buy new orthodontic appliances for kid who break theirs on the apples.

  3. Angele

    Since when do PARENTS and STATES want to get involved with forcing their kids to eat right? The NANNY’s as you call them are the only ones who care that ALL kids get treated equally not just those who come from good parenting. The STATES do not want the task or if they do have the STATE OFFICIALS revolt instead of the kids.

    When growing up my Mom packed me the perfect lunch. I was so jealous of the kids who got to eat in the cafeteria and have chocolate pudding and macoroni and cheese. But I suffered through. I am sure the kids these days can suffer through eating fruits and veges and get their french fries and candy before or after school.

    1) If parents don’t want to force their kids to “eat right,” it’s none of the government’s @#$%ing business to decide to do it for them. Schools are supposed to educate, not be in charge of children’s diets.

    2) If anyone is going to choose the menu at a local school, it should be local officials, not a bunch of nanny-staters in Washington.

    3) You’re assuming the aforementioned nanny-staters know what “eat right” means. They don’t. If they did, they wouldn’t ban whole milk but allow flavored skim milk with sugar added, and they wouldn’t limit fat and protein, which are the foods that make us feel full. They are dictating that kids follow the advice that’s been pushed for 35 years now — i.e., the timespan during which obesity and diabetes rose.

    4) This isn’t about limiting french fries and candy. Did you read the articles? It’s about banning whole milk, limiting meat and cheese, and telling kids they MUST select a fruit or vegetable.

    5) The fact that kids can (and certainly will) buy whatever they want after school in no way justifies the nanny-staters dictating what they can, cannot, or MUST put on their plates at school.

  4. gharkness

    Hi, Tom! More than twenty years ago, I was a school lunchroom manager. We had a nice dairy case with individual boxes of milk. Real milk. The kind that has fat in it. Those Who Think They Know Better one day decreed that there will be fat-free milk available to children every day.

    Now, this was (as I said) more than twenty years ago. I didn’t know squat about actual nutrition – this was long before my low carb days, but I KNEW there was something wrong about these strangers coming in to my lunchroom and telling ME what I was going to feed “my” kids from my community!

    So, in order to follow the rules, I made sure that every day we had one carton of fat free milk, carefully hidden in the back of the dairy case. It was “available for the children to choose,” which was the requirement. Looks like now even those days are gone. Is it possible for a child to choose to drink real milk any more as opposed to chalkwater?

    This is so discouraging. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    If they’d at least offer the kids a choice, that would be better.

  5. Reeda

    A few months ago, my 8-year-old grandson asked his dad at a family gathering, “Dad, why do I get so hungry after eating an apple?” It’s sad that an 8-year-old can make the connection, but government officials can’t.

    And don’t even get me started on school BREAKFASTS! The choices are horrible (cereal, bagels, muffins), but my daughter always countered with, “But it’s free! What about the kids who parents can’t afford breakfast?” It was a good time to educate her about the “free” things we get from the government not really being free.

    Indeed. And how did parents manage to feed their kids before all the “free” meals?

  6. Jamie

    Things like this just convince me more and more that I will pack my kids lunches everyday rather than subject them to what the school says is “healthy.” And if the school tries to insist on my child eating the lunch the school provides I will raise a huge stink about it. (And possibly find sneaky ways to disguise the healthy food I provide as something the school approves of.)

    If our school ever tries to tell us what we can pack in our girls’ lunches, there will be a battle. I was willing to go along for a day when the USDA goofballs showed up for inspections, but daily? Never.

  7. Scott

    I am sure they already have a solution to the students throwing the veggies away, soaking them in High Fructose Corn Syrup.

  8. Farside

    If a school system accepts federal dollars for their lunches, it must follow the federal regulations that goes with the money. A school system can set itself free by rejecting the federal largess.

    Yes, but here’s the problem with that: the federal government takes your money and then offers to generously give it back to you if you follow their rules — and you’re supposed to see the return of your own tax dollars as a gift.

  9. Tally

    you’re right tom – this nanny state existence running on bad science and elitism has to stop!

    i wish people would wake up and see that grains make you fat and stop trying to feed them to the kids (and cattle, and adults). it’s like we’re fattening them up for slaughter!

    also –

    look at the articles recently about lady gaga gaining 25 pounds – and it’s from eating pasta and bread! hello?! but the experts will say that it’s the fatty sauces or whatever that go ON the pasta. and the butter!!

    here in florida, they’re feeding the kids dominos, breaded fish sticks, mozzarella sticks, bread, spaghetti, mac and cheese, etc. but there’s no soda allowed here! only juices and powerade!

    progress. LOL

    Even the USDA were pushing a good diet, they’d have no business pushing it. They should bug off.

  10. Bob Fenton

    There is a good reason for this statement being true – “In fact, I’ve yet to read a mainstream media article which raises that question. Reporters all seem to accept that more fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains and reductions in fat and sodium are good ideas that the kids just don’t happen to like.”

    The media will not do anything to embarrass the Obama administration. If this was a Republican administration, they would be all over this.

    Perhaps. Reporters were quick to point out the ham-handedness of No Child Left Behind, but rarely pointed out that the bill was a pet project of Ted Kennedy’s.

  11. Steve

    Forget protesting by youngsters at school. Pull your kids out of the government indoctrination prisons. Then they might be to think critically on their own. And, you can control what they eat.

  12. Kathy

    I’m not having trouble with the video link – loads & plays just fine.

    You know way more about computers than I do, so I don’t know how to help you – sorry. 🙁

  13. Justin Ross

    Wait, why are we complaining about kids having to take a fruit or vegetable? I don’t understand the problem. This isn’t about the government “telling you what you can’t eat”. It’s them saying that kids eating a school lunch need to take a fruit/apple along with it.

    Where’s the problem with that? Are they stopping parents from packing a lunch for their kids?

    I have absolutely *zero* problem with schools teaching kids to eat fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are not the cause of our obesity problem.

    Looking at the article, there are much more important things to be upset about.

    “Schools need to keep students below a certain calorie count depending on their age.”

    “The new rules require twice as many fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and less sodium and fat.”

    The libertarian slant on things like this always seems to be “See? Look what happens when the government…”. This isn’t a symptom of “big government”. It’s a symptom of “bad government”.

    1) Big government is bad government.

    2) Yes, I’m complaining about the USDA mandating that kids take a fruit or vegetable. It doesn’t matter if you think fruits and vegetables are wonderful; it’s not your business (or the government’s) to tell my kid she MUST put a fruit or vegetable on her plate if she doesn’t want it.

    3) Yes, this is what happens when government gets involved. It turns into a we-know-best, one-size-fits-all “solution.”

    4) The schools aren’t “teaching” kids to eat fruits and vegetables. They’re ordering kids to put fruits and vegetables on their plates. Surely you can distinguish between the two. You think fruits and vegetables are health foods. I think meat and eggs are health foods. If the USDA ordered kids to put meat or eggs on their plates, would that be okay with you? Or do you only want the USDA ordering kids to take foods that you personally deem good for them?

    5) Yes, parents can pack a lunch. That doesn’t excuse the USDA from ordering kids who don’t pack a lunch to eat the meals the USDA deems good for them.

  14. MargieAnne

    Help! I have been brainwashed by FatHead and Wheat Belly.

    Oops! I should really be saying thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

    Here in New Zealand we don’t have school lunches as you do except in some of the more exclusive private schools so do not have the same issues. But we do seem to have a poverty problem where children go to school without breakfast or lunches and the school and/or community band together to feed these children. You know immediately this is going to be a healthy breakfast of weetbix, toast, margarine, jam,(jelly), and probably low-fat, flavoured milk. Weebix are a bar made with crushed wheat flakes pressed together with something. They are always good for an argument. Some people liken them to having the nutrition of chaff and others insisting they are well balanced with carbs and protein but no fat. The latter was told me by my ‘health aware’ DIL recently. I decided to hold my tongue as I had gifted them the Wheat Belly book.

    What concerns me most of all about your description of school lunches is the apparent lack of protein for growing children and adolescents. How can these meals be balanced nutritionally for these age groups if the protein is restricted?

    When will common sense prevail? We wait for America to come to it’s senses. We have blindly followed the blinkered.

    Keep up your good work.


    Unfortunately, the dictocrats in the USDA have decided that animal protein should be limited. They talked up the oh-so-holy “plant-based diet” in their latest guidelines.

  15. Home-Schooling Dad

    This is one more reason I’m glad I home-school my children. It’s worth sacrificing an income and living on less for our freedom. I can cook real food for them for lunch!!! In addition, I don’t assign homework so they get plenty of outdoors time. You’d be surprised how quickly you can educate properly fed kids with energy who wake up naturally. Half our day is fun and outdoors when the weather cooperates!

  16. Bill

    It’s not just government, it’s also private insurers. I just finished a nutrition assessment analysis from mine. At the start I checked ‘low carb’ & ‘gluten-free’ (there was no ‘paleo’ choice); then, the bottom-line advice from them was that I needed to get half my calories from grains, and of course, reduce my saturated fat consumption. I wrote them a negative critique. No doubt I am paying just as much in premiums as someone who is morbidly obese. And this is an insurance company, who is supposed to be dialed in to the actuarial realities of life-and-death behaviors like diet. Fat chance; when they can collect the same high premiums from everyone, who needs statistics? (Anyone know of an insurer that gives good-health discounts?)

    I’m still wondering why insurance companies don’t look deeper into diet and health. It would seem to be to their advantage.

  17. Buzz

    This has nothing to do with politics and more with the way reporting is done today.

    Whether we like it or not, the majority of people believe fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good for you and fat is bad. A reporter comes along to do a story on the new school lunches. They only have about one and a quarter to one and half minutes to do the story or a short amount of space.. They tell what’s happening get a couple of quotes, and they’re done. A quote from a student saying the new lunch makes them hungry is good enough for the other side. It would take a lot more time to start mentioning other beliefs. With staff shortages, the reporter probably has to go cover another story somewhere else.

    Recently, 60 minutes re-aired a story on Robert Lustig and his crusade against sugar. That lasted around 20 minutes. (I’m sure when his book comes out,in December there will be a lot more stories.) Let’s face it, his beliefs are opposite those of the government. Or take Wheat Belly, there have been plenty of articles discussing this and that also goes against the government’s beliefs.

    So while we may see this story and say the problem is because the kids aren’t getting enough protein and fat, the average person seeing it is thinking these kids are not being fed enough.

    Remember, the story being covered in local news is not whether the science behind the government’s thinking is correct but how do the students like the new lunch being offered under the new guidelines. (And anytime you see a member of Congress show up for a photo opportunity, it’s because they think they’ve don something good.)

    Not everything in the world is Republican vs Democrat.

    The reporters’ blind faith in the USDA’s recommendations isn’t a left vs. right issue. The USDA’s imposition of mandatory lunch guidelines, however, is very much a freedom vs. statism issue.

  18. Paladin13

    According to lefties like Moochelle Obama, you have the right to control your body so to abort your unborn child but you don’t have the right to control what you eat and put in your body. And soon to come with Obamacare, you will have no right to control your medical treatment. Get out of the way you useless eaters.

  19. Lori

    “At least 50% of the kids in the 6th grade have orthodontia and cannot eat an apple whole because biting into it would break the wires.”

    I’m in braces as well due to an injury. I haven’t had any problems with meat and cheese. Yes, your orthodontist will specifically tell you not to eat hard, crunchy foods unless they’re cut into bite sized pieces. Not only will they break the wires, but braces pull on the ligaments that connect your teeth to the bone, making them sensitive to pressure. I haven’t been eating much veg lately for exactly these reasons, even though only some of my top teeth are in braces. And I love salads and crunchy veg with dip for dinner!

    I don’t love bread or crusts, but I imagine they’d get stuck in your braces. First of all, ewww. Second, your ortho will also advise against eating chips and such because…they’re starchy and therefore stick to your teeth and can lead to tooth decay. Google “school lunch” images, and it’s little but starch, starch and more starch.

    If I were trying to get kids to eat veg voluntarily, I’d start with salsa as a hamburger condiment, cream of broccoli soup, and put some cauliflower (and cream and salt pork) in clam chowder.

    Now you’re talking. My girls don’t have to be harassed into eating vegetables because we serve vegetables with plenty of fat.

  20. Alex

    I don’t see the problem with a one-size-fits-all approach. Surely a football player has the same caloric needs as a nerd.

    The limits are age-based. I guess all kids of the same age have the same caloric needs.

  21. Alex

    Craig – I’ve never had a supersize soda in my life. Why on earth would anyone need to consume so many grams of sugar in one sitting? I thought this site was dedicated to low carb.

  22. Troy Wynn

    The only positive outcome I can see is the lesson these kids are getting on how freedoms are lost by an imposing government. This should stick with them for a long time. If you are a parent, why not use this as an object lesson (for your kid) on how gov’t interference impacts ordinary citizens, that this power is not granted in our constitution, and finally, this is an example of “progressives” who want to manage your life, and how you (the kid) have an obligation in the coming years to not let it continue.

    Let’s hope the kids get that message.

  23. LCNana

    Not sure sending lunches from home helps much here where I live, Tom, because the ignorance comes from the kitchen too. We walk our dog past the bus stops early in the morning and we have to drag her away from the sandwiches dumped there – and this is before school!! So the kids don’t always like what Mum fixes either. When we see the kids walk back down our street after school many of them are carrying Tim Horton’s LARGE coffees (lattes?) as they go.

    What a sorry mess eh? It’s gotta be one kid at a time, I guess. Your two are on their way, and the rest of us have to influence kids, and grandkids as much as we can. Unfortunately our 13 year old granddaughter has caught “veganism” from her silly mother. And she gets chubbier and chubbier every time we see her….

    Sure, plenty of parents don’t know diddly about nutrition and many may not care either. But it’s not a proper role of government to intervene.

  24. Lauren

    I just read an article on ABCNews about this. Epic Fail, of the slam-head-on-desk stupidity variety. Oy! I detest whoever decided the government has the right to tell me what to feed my kids. Seriously. I’ll send my kids (should I have any) with a sack lunch full of fat and protein and no wheat, thank you very much.

    Since it’s both a failure and based on a stupid theories to begin with, watch for the government geniuses to decide the problem is that they didn’t make the program big enough.

  25. Janelle

    I’m one liberal who thinks this lunch-nanny thing is heavy handed and wrong-headed–not to mention a huge waste of tax revenues and food. I hope they at least recycle the uneaten produce for animal feed or compost.

    That would require functioning brains and an admission that the kids aren’t eating the vegetables.

  26. Osama Magdi Elmageid

    “I noticed the reporter doesn’t even ask himself if the overhaul will actually reduce obesity.”

    Exactly. They shall not be bothered with the inconvenience of actual research.

  27. Marilyn

    @ Craig: This Bloomberg thing is asinine! Nobody’s health is going to be changed for good or for ill by the few items a patient or visitor might eat while someone is in the hospital. Except that a patient already not feeling like eating needs something APPETIZING, not some saltless fatless politically correct glop. Tom’s right; stay well.

  28. Alex

    A side note. The ready-to-eat Angus burgers at Costco are really good. 2 minutes in the microwave(1 minute flip) and they’re ready!

  29. thebionicbroad

    I’m a high school counselor who does lunch supervision in our cafeteria. The students are required to take fruit, and then it all ends up in the trash can. Most of our students are on free or reduced lunch, and they throw away enough food in one day to feed my family for a month. It makes me sick that my tax dollars go in the trash on a daily basis.

    Which is why taking a fruit or vegetable should be optional.

  30. Larry

    My eight year old nephew explained his situation to me. He gets up in the morning and eats breakfast. Then he goes to school and eats second breakfast. Then lunch. Then, according to him, he starves throughout the afternoon, and eats as soon as he gets home from school. Then later in the evening, dinner. All the high carb/low fat meals are turning him into a Hobbit.

  31. Walter B

    The “Let them eat snacks.” motto plays nicely with the Snickers commercials. “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.” The do satisfy. But.

    Can this be coincidence? is the snack industry running the Military Industrial Agricultural Nutritional Complex? I suspect they have a hand in it.

  32. Chris

    “What, you don’t want a fruit or vegetable on your plate? Too friggin’ bad. We in the USDA have decided you will put a fruit or vegetable on your plate, period. We know what’s best for you.”

    hahaha, I actually heard this in a German type dictatorial (sort of Klink from Hogan’s Hero’s) accent when I read it. Thrilled my son is a senior in High School, packs his own lunch, and the food Overlords have not peaked into his lunch box-yet. I know him though, he would go without and just wait till he got home rather than shove some fruit or veggie he wasn’t interested in into his piehole. They would physically have to try to shove it into him, he is a big kid, I can tell you it would take at least a couple of them to do it.

    I am also appalled at the expense of paying the people who will have to police this new regulation, as well as the waste of food. Forget starving kids in China, what about the children starving in Appalachian Hills.

    Yup, in addition to the nonsense, we’re paying people to enforce it. Great use of resources for a country $16 trillion in debt and counting.

  33. Ray Kelley

    I just don’t get how people making these decisions supposedly for the good of others don’t understand some very basic things. For example, who doesn’t know, just from the experience of being a person, that protein rich food is the most satiating, even if you’re still operating under the misconception that fat is bad. When I was low-fat dieting, I would eat tons of skinless chicken breast to keep me full, not piles and piles of vegetables and fruit. Looking back, it was rather unpleasant, but it at least somewhat relieved the hunger those sorts of diets subjected me to.

    The geniuses in the USDA decided kids eat too much protein already.

  34. Martha

    @ Marilyn, it’s worse than that. My nephew was in the hospital in an iatogenic (doctor caused) coma and then on dialysis due to an allergic reaction. On the top of his chart, where it is supposed to list allergies it said CELIAC. (Which he is) His wife had to smuggle him food because every meal they served him included wheat. He got out of there as soon as he could hobble on crutches. 40 pound weight loss in three weeks – not what he needed!

  35. Jake

    “The students are required to take fruit, and then it all ends up in the trash can. Most of our students are on free or reduced lunch, and they throw away enough food in one day to feed my family for a month.”

    I could just be overly cynical, but I can’t help but think this is one of the intended consequences of these new cafeteria requirements. It’d be far from the first time the government has set about raising food prices by throwing away huge amounts of perfectly good food. Actually that’s been pretty consistent policy since the 1930’s, so no, I’m not being overly cynical.

    You’re not being cynical at all. FDR’s administration ordered millions of livestock slaughtered and countless tons of crops destroyed during the Depression — one of the few times in American history that people were actually starving. Then he paid farmers not to grow food on large sections of land. He thought this would raise farm prices and rising farm prices would lead us out of the Depression. That worked about as well as the rest of his economic manipulations.

  36. Brian

    Government will be more and more in our lives as time goes on. But a question, Tom. You resent the mere existence of the overloads…would you feel the same way if the overloads made GOOD changes?

    Yes, I would. This was supposed to be a free country. I don’t want dictocrats in Washington telling a school in Tennessee what it must serve for lunch, no matter what the rules are.

  37. Ed

    This comment does not apply to the majority of readers here, but it occurs to me that if you want to get the ‘Nanny State” out of your lives there is a necessary first step.

    Stop acting like spoiled children. Quit running to the government with all of your problems. Society, aka government, doesn’t owe you free healthcare, subsidized mortgages or any of the freebies so many people demand.

    As long as people invite them into their lives…well sorry, we won’t get to choose where they stick their noses.

    My sentiments exactly. I have little patience for supporters of big government who complain when they don’t like the policies big government imposes. As I said in a previous post, get over the idea that we just need the right people running the big government. That will never happen. The right people don’t want to tell others how to live.

  38. Marilyn

    Martha, that’s so scary! I hope your nephew is recovering. Let me guess. It said, “Allergies: CELIAC,” so they figured he was allergic to celiac and they didn’t know what that was, so ignored it?

    People are really pretty clueless about what gluten is. I once had a waitress at a restaurant proudly bring me their “gluten-free” menu. The first item on the menu was a sandwich made with whole wheat bread.

  39. Janelle

    I don’t want to live in a nanny state or a Libertarian paradise. If we the people don’t stand up and make our voices heard–as Tom hopes the students will do–our passivity will speak for itself, and we won’t like the result.

    For the record, most libertarians don’t believe in a libertarian paradise either. We leave utopian visions to the left:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *