Right-sizing school lunch
New federal nutrition standards are creating healthier school lunches around the country by requiring schools to feed students with a greater variety of food and more fruits and vegetables. It’s the first time we’ve raised standards on school meals in 15 years, and the first time ever we’ve limited the calories.
Students struck back recently with a parody music video “We Are Hungry,” sung to the tune of pop song “We Are Young.” This student produced and performed video became a small hit on YouTube, and we love that they have joined the dialogue. But now some in Congress have seized on the video to make an ideological statement about opposition to regulation.
Rep. Steve King recently introduced the No Hungry Kids Act, a bill to roll back the 850 calorie limit on school meals. Yet this limit is hardly starving our children. In fact, few would say that feeding our children a Burger King Triple Stacker with a strawberry sundae would be deprivation, yet even that fast food feast falls below 850 calories, as does many meals at McDonald’s and Subway. Under the new standards, school meals will provide plenty of food while also insisting on more variety and more healthy choices.
We all know the problem these standards seek to change. Obesity affects 17 percent of children in the United States, an alarming jump from just one generation ago, according to the CDC. And the new school standards come recommended by the child nutrition advocates we trust, including the Food Research and Action Center and Mission: Readiness.
America’s need to eat healthier has reached crisis proportions. We must give the next generation better eating habits now. This issue is simply too important to let it become bogged down in ideology.