Former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “healthy” school lunch mandates have been imposed on school districts across America.
With strict calorie limitations, schools were stuck between giving up federal funding or being left with massive piles of lunches that students didn’t want to buy.
When the policy was first introduced, students and their parents shared their outrage on social media:
— Tyler Clements (@TylerClements6) April 3, 2014
— Megan Howell (@Howelady) March 14, 2014
All we get for lunch today. Thank you Michelle Obama pic.twitter.com/1rACNXM9aP
— Brady Justice (@BradyJustice2) March 12, 2014
But with President Donald J. Trump now in charge, Republican officials are ready to roll back Michelle’s lunch rules entirely. One High School in Pennsylvania has already taken action. What was once a massive waste of money is now operating efficiently and profitably despite losing federal dollars.
In previous years when they headed to lunch, Penn-Trafford High School students had to wait in longer lines for fewer choices, and the district’s food-service program was losing money.
This year, administrators chose to have the high school opt out of the National School Lunch Program, and they are on pace to be back in the black, budget-wise.
“We’ve lost, to date, about $40,000 worth of reimbursement, but our sales are up about $50,000 over last year,” district Business Manager Brett Lago said.
Lunch prices range from $3.20 to $4.50.
“The participation has gone from about 25 to 45 percent, and we’re still providing free lunches to all those students who would have been eligible under the school lunch program,” Lago said.
National School Lunch Program guidelines limit what school cafeterias are able to serve in terms of calorie and sodium limits and also mandated that students be served certain items.
In the past, a lot of those items — fruits and vegetables in particular — ended up in the garbage.
“The trash cans were always full, sometimes overflowing,” said senior Brianna Lander, 18, of Harrison City. “You don’t see that now. People would go up to the snack line and get random junk food, where now you can get an actual meal and eat it.”
After a complete remodel, the high school cafeteria is set up like a food court, with a deli and panini station, a grill, a main course counter, and pizza and a la carte stations.
“You get to choose what you want instead of being sort of funneled in and only having one choice,” said junior Chase Zavarella, 17, of Penn Township. “I think everyone is happier with the new selection.”
With stations for salad, panini sandwiches, and pizza, more choices give students appealing options. As you can see, the results are great:
Opting out of Nat’l School Lunch Program working out for Penn-Trafford HS https://t.co/lldGdFyaqD
— Patrick Varine (@MurrysvilleStar) February 20, 2017
As school district business manager Brett Lago explained, “[K]ids at that age, they’re a little more informed and better at making smart choices for themselves because we still have a lot of healthy options. But as far as meal guidelines, you can’t say that a 300-pound football player and a 90-pound cheerleader have the same (dietary) needs on a daily basis.”
They have lost approximately $40,000 of federal reimbursement, but sales are up more than $50,000. Students and parents are thrilled with the new, expanded choices.
Clearly, the era of Michelle Obama’s lunch control rules are coming to an end.
What do you think about this high school rejecting Michelle’s lunch mandates? Please leave us a comment (below) and tell us.