Rep wants state dinners to abide by school cafeteria calorie caps


Fox News:

Rep wants state dinners to abide by school cafeteria calorie caps

As the federal government sets strict guidelines for school lunches, one lawmaker is trying to make sure the White House lives by the same rules – even if it means taking all the fun out of state dinners like the one being held Tuesday night. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., is pushing a bill that would require meals served at White House state dinners and other functions to abide by the same calorie restrictions as those served to America’s school kids. Though the bill may stand little chance of passage, he describes it as a message that if the government wants to dictate what children can eat, they should lead by example.
“Back home our school districts and students are frustrated and feel like their government is not listening,” Davis, R-Ill., said.

For sure, Tuesday night’s state dinner in honor of French President Francois Hollande would not meet the guidelines. It wouldn’t even come close.
The dinner boasts a number of high-fat, high-calorie foods which would be purged from school cafeteria trays, including a rib-eye steak with blue cheese that packs close to 1,000 calories alone. If a guest were to eat all four courses of the meal, according to one estimate, they would consume 2,500 calories and 152 grams of fat — not counting alcohol.

That’s a far cry from the USDA’s calorie guidelines for school kids, which only allow elementary school kids a maximum of 1,150 calories for breakfast and lunch.
The USDA standards, which were championed by first lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” anti-obesity campaign, set new rules for school meals’ portion sizes and calorie counts. The rules also limit saturated fat and sodium and require more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Another stupid idea floated by someone just seeking publicity. Funny though. I suspect there are many world leaders couldn’t make it thru a state dinner without alcohol.


The congressman represents the 13th district of Illinois. It covers a section of the state north of S. Louis and extending diagonally up to Champaign and to Bloomington. This is his first term, so he has been in office for one month.

I hope his other proposals are not as silly.


Sounds fair to me.


We have enough policing of our diets now. The last thing we need is a state representative wasting time on how many calories there are in a state dinner. Come on folks, diet is a personal issue and it is not up to anyone to tell others how and what to eat.

As far as kids lunches at school, maybe we should just leave it up to parents and stop preparing anything at all. From what those who work in the cafeterias I am aware of the kids throw over half of what is offered to them away. Why waste good food?

According to custodian staff I know the throw barrels of apples, oranges, veggies and other healthy foods away every single day. I think it is time for moms and dads to provide the food and see if they can afford that kind of waste.


You are all missing the point. He introduced the bill to point out the hypocrisy of Michelle Obama championing the policing kids’ diets when state dinners aren’t exactly what a nutritionist would call a balanced meal.


Forget the State Dinners, the congressional dining room and White House staff should be serving what the school kids are forced to eat.


I think that healthy eating habits forged in childhood are very important (vital, in fact), and sadly, many parents don’t know what those habits are. As a Brit who’s visited the States quite a few times, I have been amazed at the low cost of fast food in the USA (certainly compared to here) and the huge portions that are served. No wonder people struggle to find the healthy balance! People over here worry that we are becoming “like America” with rising child obesity and we have the same sort of interventions by Government.

To be fair to President Obama and his family, they are slim people and are probably eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise when in private.


You seem to forget that Michelle Obama was the first one to work towards decreased serving sizes and waste of food for the state dinners. We need to bag this nonsense about people not understanding balanced diets. There are so many theories out there it can make a person’s head spin and people are going to eat what they like, what is easy to prepare or that which is already prepared for them.

Perhaps this representative would serve the public better by presenting a bill that forbid the food industry from using so much sugar and salt in prepared foods. Same with restaurants. Every one is obsessed with fat content, but fails to realize the real fat producers in our foods are carbohydrates and sugar. Then they add salt for water retention and call it seasoning.

Some of the worst diets I have ever seen have been those prescribed by nutritionists who seem more interested in maintaining the profit margins of massive food producers and grocery stores, than actually understanding proper eating habits.


Kids are not forced to eat school lunch room food!

Not yet.



Seems like he has taken a chapter from the book of somebody else. He is merely pointing out absurdity by using absurdity. Govenment makes rules for other people and they aren’t willing to follow them in their own lives.:tsktsk:


Well, if you mean “forced to eat” as in tied down and food shoved in their mouths, they no, not yet.

But if you mean “forced to eat” as in only school lunch room food is available, it seems we might be moving that way. Wasn’t it a Chicago school that banned lunches from home? And even the Feds are in on it:

Dear Parents,

I have received word from Federal Programs Preschool pertaining to lunches from home. Parents are to be informed that students can only bring lunches from home if there is a medical condition requiring a specific diet, along with a physicians note to that regard.

I am sorry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions concerning this matter, please contact Stephanie [redacted] the Health Coordinator for Federal Programs Preschool at [redacted].

Ms. [redacted]


For millions of kids- school lunches are the only full meal they reactive each day.

Should their parents do a better job providing ofr them- CERTAINLY!- are they or will they??
For far to many of them the answer is no.


I think all food is cheaper here than in Europe, certainly as a percentage of average income. I have no problem with that. But I’ll agree the fast food portions are huge for most unless one gets the “value meals”. A dollar hamburger is a pretty good deal, and it quells hunger pangs for a guy like me.

When I was growing up, the quantity and calories were even higher than now, but kids were not fat. I think most modern obesity is due more to inactivity than to diet specifically.

I’m not entirely sure I would characterize Michelle O as “slim”. Uh, well, I’ll stop there.


Maybe state dinners could be served cafeteria style.


I’m not agreeing with the rep, but merely pointing out that he is using an absurd gesture to point out championing legislating behavior when not abiding by it yourself. In other words if you legislate “good behavior” then why not legislate it for yourself also. If the Obama’s are for better nutrition why not encode it into law so that they and all future guest have no need to be responsible for their choices?

Personally I think it is stupid to legislate things like this for adults or kids. We do not need to live in a nanny state where government protects us from ourselves.


I think the State has a legitimate interest in preventing the nation from becoming one of obese diabetics. Its sad that it has reached this point, but as funny as it sounds, the levels of obesity in this country could be a risk to national security. Almost 70% of adults 20 and over are overweight or obese and the rate of childhood obesity is staggering. 400,000 people in the United States fall into a category called “super massive” which is defined as a weight of 400 pounds and up! The fact that this category exists at all is disturbing. Nearly 4 million people weigh in between 300-400 pounds and 300,000 people die every year from obesity related complications. Apparently we do need a “nanny state.”


I don’t disagree that the US is in bad shape. I simply disagree that legislature will change habits. As long as foods high in fat, carbs, and sugars are also the cheapest and most convenient choice then the problem will continue. You would get better results by incentivising companies to develop products that taste good but don’t cost an arm and a leg. Perhaps create a junk food tax levied on products with too much sodium, sugars, etc. It still leaves people the choice to buy the items, but then one has to make a cost assessment if their vice is worth the cost. We do the inverse and support government subsidies/taxes that make corn syrup cheaper than importing sugars.

The problem with a nanny state is that once they “fix” one problem, they then look for the next one to “fix”. It also basically teaches people to rely on the government to show them what’s good or bad. Use market forces to drive products out of the market place. Telling people you are not responsible enough to make the right choice just doesn’t work.


Another step in the right direction would be to rework the welfare program in this country to encourage working instead of just collecting a government check every month.


I agree, we don’t need to live in a “nanny state.” If we are not careful someone will be telling us what time to go to bed, how to brush our teeth, how often to take a bath, and finding ways to fine us if we break the rules. It is getting ridiculous.

And when it comes to doing something effective, like actually stopping the use of steroids, antibiotics and growth hormones in our meat supply, or keep plastic out of our breads, or limiting the amount of sugar and salt in prepared foods, no one wants to touch that. It would cost some big shot too much of their profit margin.


I agree. I would be all for changes where benefits were such that people didn’t choose not to work because they would trip a cap that ended their benefits. I’d rather see extra help going to those that are doing some work rather than encouraging them not to work at all. Perhaps provide more assistance if you get some type of job training. I have no problem with helping people out, but structure it so there is a reward system for trying to better your lot. You know that whole teach a man to fish thing.

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