Let Innovation Breath

I just read this, "Any student regardless of their free and reduced lunch status will be charge 50 cents for their milk because milk alone is not a reimbursable meal." There is a ton to not like about the federal school lunch program, but this is one that drives me crazy. If this same student goes through line, takes an entire lunch, including a milk, and then throws the entire lunch away in the first trash can, then he or she can have the milk for free. If not, he or she has to pay for their milk. Is this really what the government wants schools to do? In the same week that I read about the amount of food waste in this country, I'm advocating for my kids to get a free milk by throwing their lunch away. School cafeteria managers are so frightened that they will lose their reimbursements that they are making silly decisions about what food to serve kids. In the last four years, we have worked very hard to introduce local food, have a healthy, attractive salad bar, and serve tasty soup and sandwiches at every secondary lunch. The new set of guidelines for receiving federal funds are eroding our progress on healthy food and lunches. We can no longer serve baked chicken quarters (it was an incredible lunch that the students loved) because the portion of protein needs to be two ounces or less to meet the requirements. Can you find chicken quarters that are two ounces? So instead, it was frozen chicken portions for the first time since I've been there. I really worry about obesity, just look to the infographic below, but to make lunch a teaching period, where kids learn about how and what to eat to be healthy, we need to be able to model and showcase options. Our incredible progress is fading. Can we rise above the fear of reimbursement to do what is right for kids? We are being lead by fear in this area, and it is time to push back. Nursing Your Sweet Tooth