Kentucky’s Harlan County School District is in hot water with students, parents, and now school board members over the healthy food they’re required to serve under new USDA guidelines championed by First Lady Michele Obama.

The Harlan Daily reported that a special meeting was held last week to address growing frustration with school meals that don’t fill kids up and taste terrible.

Jack Miniard, director of school and community nutrition, said new USDA regulations under the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act largely govern food choices and portion sizes. The meat or protein requirement is limited to one serving per meal. The only way for students to receive an additional serving is to purchase it themselves. …

While fruits and vegetables are offered freely and students can take their fill of those, meats and carbohydrates will continue to be served in limited portions only, so students complain of not getting enough food. Parents shouted to the board, ‘Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry!’
… Whether it is free breakfast, lunch, supper, or just something to drink, children are becoming increasingly dissatisfied and parents increasingly frustrated.

'They say it tastes like vomit,' board member Myra Mosley said — and repeated — when the issue of school milk was raised.


It’s worth remembering that the First Lady is not the first person in Washington to push a healthy meal agenda.

Back in 1946 President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act authorizing the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). So many men had been rejected for World War II service because of nutrition-related problems, the program was considered a matter “of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities.” 

Today the legacy of this government program is clear: lots of crummy tasting food and too many hungry kids.