It was just a week ago when an Oklahoma teen’s picture of her school lunch went viral on social media.
It turns out that student is not alone in grumbling about school lunches, an investigation by the Washington Bureau discovered.
Since new federal nutrition standards began rolling out in 2012, fewer students are buying school lunches, even though enrollment is going up.
The Cox Washington Bureau reviewed U.S. Department of Agriculture documents and found thousands fewer students bought meals when stricter standards kicked in.
The rules, championed by first lady Michelle Obama and approved by congress, require more fruits, vegetables
, and whole grains in lunches. Plus, the rules put limits on sodium, sugar, fat and calories.
“It’s a struggle to get kids to eat them and enjoy them,” said Dianne Pratt-Heavner, with the School Nutrition Association.
The School Nutrition Association supports the new standards, but wants more flexibility to help students adjust to healthy changes.
“We’re asking congress or USDA to provide a little breathing room to help school nutrition professionals plan meals that kids will eat,” said Pratt-Heavner.
For example, the standards require all grains served at school to be whole-grain rich.
Experts say requiring half that would help schools provide more options, and get more students eating lunch.
Obama has said she doesn’t want to roll back guidelines.
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