School Lunches

FIRST LADY Michelle Obama has championed healthier school lunches.

Beginning next year, cafeterias nationwide will feature offerings with improved nutritional benefits.

For instance, pasta and other grain products in schools will have to be whole-grain rich, or breakfasts more than half whole grain. That includes rolls, biscuits, pizza crust, tortillas and even grits.

Healthier school meals are needed. Obesity issues abound in this country.

With that said, however, a nutritional school meal should not be one that is not appetizing to students or cost prohibitive to the school districts serving up the meals.

Unfortunately, there is indications that such is the case in both instances. So much so, many school districts are asking Congress and the Agriculture Department to roll back some of the requirements.

Many of the requirements have been tough to digest for school officials. The School Nutrition Association has asked Congress and USDA to only require that 50 percent of foods be whole grain-rich, to suspend the 2017 sodium requirements and to stop requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable.

School districts are feeling the financial pinch of students opting to bypass the more healthy but less tasty meals. That costs schools money.

Moreover, if students are bypassing school meals it is defeating the purpose of the first lady’s intentions.

Healthier meals need to take their place at school tables. But we believe more time and a tweaking of the menu is needed to make the program more palatable.

to all those concerned.