Churchland High School students are feeling the force of Michelle Obama’s Healthy
Hunger Free Kids Act.
Michelle Obama’s 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was good in theory. The federally
mandated act was put in place to increase children’s access to healthy food, even if they come
from low-income households. For the first time in thirty years, the government has made an
effort to change school lunches. While this sounds like a good idea to raise a new generation of
healthier kids, there are many downsides.
In order for schools to be “under code” they must limit the amount of calories, sodium,
sugar, and fat all of their meals have. Unfortunately, the food is bland and lifeless because
they’ve taken out the “good stuff” and haven’t found a way to add flavor back into the food. When
food looks like it will bite your fork, you’re most likely not going to eat it. Cafeterias have noticed a
decrease of profits from students because the food is “gross”.
“It’s terrible” said a student after being asked how he feels about the lunch.
Since students don’t eat lunch, they will bring their own food or not eat at all. If they chose
to not eat at all, they will likely be hungry and therefore distracted in their remaining classes for
the day. Lunchroom workers make the same amount of food each day, students will buy lunch,
taste it, realize it’s horrible, and throw it away. This has lead to an increased amount of food
School districts receive give or take 300 million dollars for their lunch programs. That
seems like a lot of money, but in reality it’s not enough.
The companies who distribute the food for schools sell their produce, which is very low
quality to begin with, for very cheap. Students who pay for lunch are eating almost spoiled food,
or food that is just simply not the best quality.
If schools were given just a little bit more money they could afford to buy their produce
from companies who pride themselves on selling the best quality of fruits, vegetables, and meat.
Once they get the right ingredients, students will notice the quality of their breakfasts and lunches going up and start eating school food again. The HHFKA is a vicious cycle, children don’t eat, they’re still hungry going back to class, and they aren’t focused. If the schools were given more money for better lunches, kids would eat, be focused in their classes after lunch,wouldn’t be so much of a big deal.
Photo by DC Central Kitchen - Lunch at DC Public Schools on 10/9/12: Local Beef Burger on a Whole Wheat Bun, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Baked Potato Fries, Cantaloupe Wedge & Milk, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31406016