Tasteless, flavorless, unappetizing, mediocre, and insubstantial. These are the ways many students describe their school lunches thanks to First Lady Michelle Obama’s obesity-fighting Let’s Move Campaign which introduced new limitations on calories, sodium, and sugar and require more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in school lunches.
Just in time for a season of giving thanks, public school students are taking to Twitter in a cheeky campaign to express their disapprobation. The hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama is going viral with pictures of what’s passing as meals under her regime.
Not only are the meals unsavory but the student commentary that accompanies the photos indicates just how nonsensical the meals are. For example, one photo shows a junior-sized chicken sandwich with just the bread and patty and a side portion of applesauce that’s smaller than a Mott's applesauce pack from the supermarket. The student noted she’s in high school.
As we’ve reported, the unintended consequences of these school lunch regulations include wasted food (as many of the lunches end up in the trash), wasted funds, and empty stomachs. If the objective is for kids to eat healthy and filling meals, these one-size-fits-all regulations miss that goal entirely. Many students simply raid vending machines and hit up fast food restaurants after school to get the nourishment they need.
New York Post reports:
Along with photos of unsavory-looking school meals, the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama was among the top trends on Twitter within the United States for a time on Friday.
While many schools have put the standards in place successfully, others have said some of the new foods end up in the trash can.
Many of the photos have a Thanksgiving theme – think sad-looking stuffing – while others are everyday meals. The hashtag appears to have started around two years ago, but didn’t really catch on until Friday after several websites picked it up.
“Had a very #healthylunch today,” Hunter Whitney of Wisconsin tweeted. “The apple definitely made up for the `mystery mush’ #ThanksMichelleObama.”
His photo of a soupy Spanish rice gone wrong and an apple on a school lunch tray was retweeted more than 170 times.
The White House didn’t have an immediate response, but an Agriculture Department spokesman said most meals aren’t as bad as the photos depict. USDA oversees the school meals program.
House Republicans are pushing a one-year waiver that would allow some schools to opt out of healthier meal standards if they lost money on meal programs over a six-month period. The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables they are required to take.
Washington experts at the Department of Agriculture claim that the meals are not as bad as the pictures depict, but how would they know?
The problem is that they blindly mandated regulations and guidelines for schools to implement, but they don’t actually go out to see the impact and how the rules are implemented on a daily basis. Schools and school systems have to figure out how to make meals work given the resources at their disposal which may vary from school to school or system to system or state to state.
A successful program would include the feedback of students, families, and school administrators in the decision-making process. Parents should not be trampled upon as they are the ones who teach their children eating habits. By including them in healthy eating campaigns, they could try to ensure that healthy eating continues outside of school at home.
Decisions about what goes into the bodies of our kids should not be dictated from bureaucrats in Washington that have no knowledge of the socio-economic and cultural nuances of communities. For them, it’s about the least common denominator based upon a collectivist philosophy that treats everyone the same and spreads the misery equally.
Students are right to thank Michelle Obama for their school lunch misery. In the past they protested and she relented. Perhaps a more sarcastic tone will get through to her and her army of government bureaucrats. That’s probably not likely though. It’s do as I say not as I do.