Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Michelle Obama + USDA = Hungry Kids

This is the face of a little boy who is not impressed and neither am I.

 My kids need some serious food to keep up with their seriously active lives.
I have bumped Aaron’s Wordless Wednesdays because I cannot be silent on this day. I cannot sit by idly while children across the country have rumbling tummies. I’m not talking about under privileged children nor am I talking about the starving Pygmies in New Guiney—I am talking about our children and the new school lunch program.
My active kids on their tire swing.
The USDA has made some major changes to the school lunch program and so far, a week into school, I have hungry children. The new school lunch program implements larger portions of fruits, vegetable, and whole grains. I have no problem with that, I love fruits and veggies. HOWEVER, it also significantly reduces the amount of protein to practically nothing not to mention the calorie reduction. My kids are very active. They enjoy time outside, play with their friends outside, my daughter enjoys track while my son just likes to run and climb on anything and everything. My children also have a very high metabolism. By offering a “one-size fits all” style of lunch that reduces their proteins, carbs, calories, etc. they are lacking the nutrients their growing little bodies need.
I am not opposed to healthier eating but dictating what they eat right down to the amount of ranch dressing they can have (my daughter refuses to except that the gunk in her cup was ranch dressing, she said it tasted more like watery mayo) is not only ridiculous but it is doing more harm than good. Instead of starving the kids in an effort to control childhood obesity why not encourage more activity in conjunction with a healthy, FILLING diet. My daughter eats like she will never see another meal again yet remains a beanpole while my son eats like a bird and swears he is so full he will pop. However, my two very different children are offered the same amount of food at school. This does not play out well.
For example, I had high hopes for the new school lunch program because it promised to be healthier and the menu really looked good....on paper. We gave it a try. I hoped for the best and here's what I get: 
Today I asked my son, "How was lunch?" 
He said, "I guess it was ok."
Me: "Did it fill you up?" 
Him: "I guess so."
Me: "Are you hungry now?"
Him: "I feel pretty snackish."
Me: "Ok. Get a snack and let me talk to your sister."
So, I asked Kylee, "How was lunch?"
Kylee: "Ok."
Me: "Did it fill you up?"
Kylee: "NO! Two hours before school was out it felt like my stomach was digesting itself. I am soooooo hungry. Can I please take my lunch tomorrow?"
Both my children understand that a healthy diet is a balanced diet and everything is best in moderation. I also regulate how much my kids are on their DS's, Wii, and their TV time. They play outside, they stay active, and they need more food than USDA and our first lady is offering.
The new food regulations not only go so far as to regulate the amount of condiments a child can use but it also leaves schools with their hands tied. If a school chooses not to utilize this new program they will have their funding cut and then everyone goes without. Schools have been feeding us for generations and it feels like a smack in the face to all those people that have devoted their lives to planning, preparing, and serving school lunches. Schools have always had the choice of food programs and I believe they should be able to use their food dollars in a way they see fit. Every district is different, every kid is different so a one-size fits all just won't work. The schools know their kids, so let them do their job.
Get these kids some real food!!!
I understand the need for healthier foods and I am all for it but I do not like my children coming home hungry and their school left with no alternatives. The worst part of all this is how this will affect the low income families. Our family is fortunate enough to afford to brown bag it but what about the families that can’t? In our area there are several families that get reduced price or free lunches. We are in one of the poorest districts. In some cases the school is where these kids get their best meal so how does “one-size fit all” fit into their lives? Kids that are hungry can’t focus and kids that can't focus will do poorly in school.
I realize we have an issue with obesity in this country but over regulating school lunches is NOT the solution to this problem. We do NOT need more regulation, we need more accountability and less "quick fixes." Our school lunches did not cause obesity and individuals must be responsible for their own actions--food choices and level of activities.
What are your thoughts on this issue?
If you disagree with what our first lady and USDA are doing then I urge you to write your Congressman and Senators. I also incourage you to contact the following people about this issue:
Undersecretary of Food & Nutrition Services Kevin Concannon 1400 Independence Ave, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack 1400 Independence Ave, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250

Other sites with some great info and some great stories:

Chris Chinn: Does Your Child Fit the "One Size Fits All" Lunch Program?

Pinkie Post: 3 School Lunch Solutions with Linky

Morning Joy Farm: School Lunch Soapbox


  1. Hey guys.... I thought you might get a kick out of this. Fifty shades of Bacon -

  2. This is great! Thank you so much for sharing. I smell a giveaway......and bacon.

  3. Couldn't agree more!!!! Junior at a high school in north Dakota and I have to bring my own lunch along with the school lunch so I have enough energy for football practice and that cut funds if you drop the program is total balony! I mean who are they helping?? Obese kids are just gunna go home and snack on all the junk food they can because they are starving...mans gotta eat but come on healthy food is great but 2 oz. of protein isn't enough for me!

  4. Yes. my junior in high school now takes his lunch every day to have enough to eat to get through the day and football practice.