We all knew it would just be a matter of time before the USDA was "bullied " into changing the latest regulations moving towards healthier school lunches. This year, there was a new maximum weekly requirement put on grains and proteins. The thought behind this was remove more of the simple carbs and fatty proteins , and focus on more vegetables and fruits.
The problem really was not the amount of grains or proteins in the week, but more about the calories. It seemed as though kids were saying they were still hungry after eating their meal. Of course there is some agreement in saying a maximum of 9 servings of grains a week is rediculous, , as that eliminted being able to offer a sandwich every day (one piece of bread is one serving, which would mean you fall short by 1 piece of bread to be able to do this)So after much complaining, the USDA caved in and relaxed the regulations
Now there is no longer a maximum on amount of proteins or grains per week. Before everyone gets too excited, I of course was extremely concerned as to what this would really mean. It could mean that now instead of having bosco sticks instead of pizza in a week (since it would have been over the regulated amount to have both in the week), it now means go ahead and serve both in the same week. It means that hot dogs can be served more frequently as well. To me it means moving a huge step in the wrong direction...I think there could have been a middle of the road resolution instead of this major change.
Unfortunately, my fears became a reality, as a friend in a neighboring district sent me an announcement that went out to the parents of her school district. It read:
Families across the country voiced their concerns about school lunch menus . . . the USDA listened. Therefore, please see the changes to the Food Service menus for our schools. This was followed by charts promoting for the elementary level a pyramid of pretzels, junky yogurt and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (don't be fooled by the PB and J...it is probably an uncrustable)
For the secondary schools, cheese steaks and hoagies that now will be reimbursable items.
This announcement came as the same time as a New York Times article reported that the obesity rates had actually dropped for the first time in years.
Obviously things were moving in the right direction. I guess the promotion of more vegetables for no charge was just not promoted enough because after all, vegetables just don't make the money that all of the other stuff does.