You either loved them, or you hated them. Or, maybe you were never allowed to try them if your mom was a die-hard brown bag advocate.
I was a buyer. I still long for that sea foam-colored plastic lunch tray filled with a warm cheesy Johnny Marzetti casserole, garlic toast, apple sauce, green beans and a small piece of homemade Texas-style chocolate sheet cake. All washed down by a small cardboard carton of whole milk.
Ever wonder why kids started eating lunch at school?
President Harry S. Truman began the national school lunch program in 1946 as a measure of national security. He started the program after reading a study that revealed many young men had been rejected from the draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition.
If you have a child in school, you are probably familiar with the changes in the school lunch menus as of late – all attributed to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
A complete menu overhaul has taken place making whole grains, fruits and vegetables the star of the lunch tray, while trading bread, dessert and home cooked meals for government supplied “healthy” subsidies.
Doesn’t every kid want to chomp on a dish of radishes half-way through the day when they are starving because they’ve hit a growth spurt or require 4,000 daily calories because they are a student athlete?
Why am I writing about school lunches? Because ironically, more kids are now going hungry because the portion sizes are limited and they are not eating any of the revamped meals. Costs are also rising because substitutions come at a premium price.
So why not pack a lunch?
Yes, that is a viable option, but not one for kids on the free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch programs.
Most lunch ladies are moms who work in the school system so they can keep the same hours as their school-aged children. These are caring individuals who have traditionally kept an eye out for hungry children and would make sure their bellies were full and they received extra food if they needed it.
Food allergies aside, some school systems are even dictating what foods kids can bring from home and making them supplement their lunch by requiring them buy additional food if their meal doesn’t meet federal standards.
With the new program, the lunch ladies are not allowed to give out any extra food for free, even when they know that child may not eat again until they come to school the next morning.
And apparently, there is a tremendous amount of food being wasted between the kids not eating the new foods and school systems being required to meet regulated servings.
The following video was put together by kids in a school system in Kansas. They are using humor to get across the point that they are starving and the new guidelines are unreasonable.
You’ll notice, the kids portrayal of their hunger isn’t exactly what President Truman had in mind to build up national security and not exactly what lunch ladies originally had in mind to give the kids energy to get them through the day.
© 2012 Terri Spilman