Three months into the first school year with sweeping new federal rules designed to help kids eat more healthily, students across the country have protested.
Left to right: Ravin Bhatia, Jolie Yu, Stephanie Sun, and Grant Keo wait in line for school lunch at Brookline’s John D. Runkle School. The school serves healthy food, like baked potatoes.
The new rules, championed by first lady Michelle Obama as part of her fight against childhood obesity, limit the amount of grains, protein, sodium, and saturated fat that lunches can contain.
Green vegetables for the baked potato bar at the Runkle School in Brookline.
Transfats are banned. All students much have at least 3/4 cup of vegetables on their tray. For the first time, caleries per meal are capped.
Lucas Lazos Munoz takes fruit with his lunch.
As the new regulations took effect this fall, some local schools saw fewer students buying lunch. Nationally, students have fought hardest against the smaller portions, which limit lunches to between 650 and 850 calories, depending on grade level.
Gail Hatzieleftheriades grabs a container of carrots.
This year, officials at some schools are worried about the vast amounts of food–especially the required vegetables and fruit–that students are now throwing away.
“They were not eating the veggies and fruit with great frequency’’ in other years, said Alden Cadwell, Brookline’s director of food service. “So giving them more doesn’t make them eat it.’’
Jolie Yu eats her orange slices at the Runkle School in Brookline.
While some school officials are frustrated by the broad nature of the regulations–how they do not account for a specific child’s weight and assume a child has eaten a full breakfast–schools must follow the new federal school lunch regulations to receive cash reimbursements from the US Department of Agriculture, which they use to subsidize the cost of free and reduced school lunches.
Wilfred Arias Mendez slices his apple.