Did you read the article that I posted a link to?
Here’s another article (there are plenty if you do an online search): https://www.newsweek.com/why-have-michelle-obamas-healthy-school-meals-been-junked-592938
Here are the facts
- The children and teenagers were not EATING her healthy foods.
- The food was being thrown out–lots of it, which in some schools necessitated the purchase of more waste containers and more money for trash pickup.
- Many smaller and low-income schools could not afford the foods.
When children and teenagers don’t eat, they are hungry, and that makes them (and adults as well) sleepy, crabby, weak, and fuzzy-headed–not exactly a good recipe for success in school. The teachers had to deal with these hungry kids.
Also, when children have not eaten during the day, they go home and gorge, unless they are from poor families. Then they just get hungrier.
There is an organization that has existed in our city for 20 years. It is located in the inner city in one of the poorest neighborhoods, and serves over 250 children per day. They are able to go to this organization before and after school and have a warm, safe place to study, read, play games, and eat a warm dinner–which is usually the kind of food that you listed, because that’s what the kids will eat, and it’s affordable. When the children leave at night, they are given a packet of “kid-friendly food” to take home, because many of them do not get a breakfast or any snacks. Let’s just say that “Kid-friendly food” is NOT whole wheat tortillas and/or fresh vegetables. It’s cheese and crackers–wrapped, you know–the kind with the “orange cheese” between the “orange crackers.” It’s food that kids will actually eat, not throw away.
There are definitely nutrition issues surrounding poverty–the food desert in many of these neighborhoods makes it difficult for poor families to find, let alone purchase fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables. Poverty often necessitates the purchase of cheap starchy “white” foods like white flour, white pasta, white bread, etc.
There are plenty of organizations, many of them faith-based, that are working to solve these issues. E.g. ,one thing that has happened in our city is the development of many neighborhood gardens during the summer.
First Lady Obama’s heart was certainly in the right place, but she simply moved too fast and too furious. Many of the schools were already serving salad bar options, which are very popular, and fresh seasonal fruits, which are also popular. There was no need to develop recipes that were not only culturally insensitive, but also strange-tasting to the children and teens. Food that is not eaten will not nourish.
There are plenty of ways that school lunches can serve food choices that are both nutritious and tasty to children and teens, and reasonably-priced so that schools can afford it.