Children now get free meals at state schools in 8 states

The over use of cheese is tied to the requirements for a certain amount of protein in each serving. It’s cheaper and eaten by more kids than meats are, so it gets loaded on.
As far as getting “good” foods instead of junk foods, many schools no longer have the facilities to prep food on site. At most they have warming cabinets and steam tables. All of the food in the local elementary schools is cooked over at the high school, and delivered. Cooking from scratch requires trained people and lots of equipment. With tight budgets, and plenty of suppliers like Pizza Hut willing to do deals to get their food in front of the kids, healthy meals are a hard sell. There are programs working on this across the country, but there is a long way to go.

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I have to imagine Big Dairy has a hand in setting “nutritional standards” as well. They have a pretty powerful lobby keeping dairy products in heavy rotation in numerous government programs.


That seems like a separate issue though. The cafeteria policy on what food children do or don’t get should be the same regardless of who pays for the lunches.


In my experience this would have led to a table full of unwanted apples and oranges of mediocre quality, plus can’t really do this with a lot of the entrees without them becoming unappetizing due to age pretty quickly.

I should add this was when they were putting one of each item in a plastic bag and handing out the bags to students, rather than in a cafeteria setting. I assume things are better this year… at least, I’m seeing less foodservice fruits in the gutter in my neighbourhood :smile:

I think a lot depends on how insistently lunch is distributed. When the policy started the school tried to give students who didn’t brown-bag it a complete lunch whether they wanted it or not. So some kids would take their favourite thing out of it and dump the rest. Now I think kids have to express more interest in getting food, and they’re less likely to be asked to take something they don’t want.

That’s where it was, yes.

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