Mixed Reviews About New Lunches

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

While the meals are hot, the debate over what should be for lunch is even hotter in Springport.

Under new USDA regulations-- which affects all school districts-- kids now get about 2 ounces of meat with every meal, and they're limited by the number of calories they can eat, as well as sodium levels.

"I have such a fast metabolism, I get hungry like every five minutes," said Austin Robinson, a student. "They need larger portions. I don't even get enough to fill me up."

Many students like the fruits, veggies, and fresh new choices, but some parents complain their kids leave school hungry.

"As soon as they get home, they are wanting to eat, like literally when they walk in the door," said Dawn Bugbee a parent with kids at Springport. "Last year it wasn't as bad."

Some parents say they are now packing snacks with their kids to supplement the lunches.

One of the biggest disputes at Springport is over the salad bar. Kids say they liked the way the old salad bar was, where students were able to make their own salad and put as much chicken, cheese, and ranch on as they wanted. Now students can only choose from smaller pre-made salads and if the kid doesn't like what's in it, he or she has to pick it out.

"Now we are getting fruits and vegetables but quite honestly it's a waste of the school's money because not enough kids eat it," said William Laurain a student at Springport. "Everyday I leave school I go home hungry and I would prefer not to do that because then I go home and just eat junk food, because that's what we have at home."

Kids say they wish the main course of the meal was larger.

One kid I met had devoured his fresh pear, but if you look in the trash, a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables never get eaten.

"America needs to start eating healthier," said Tuyson Bahr, a Springport student. "I kind of like this new thing Ms. Obama's got going on."

Schools now provide low fat ranch, and fat free milk in three different flavors, regular, strawberry, and chocolate.

The Springport district says it didn't make the rules, and is doing the best it can to provide kids with food they like, while meeting the guidelines. Each meal costs only about $2 a piece.

Under the new regulations, K-3rd graders are allowed up to 633 calories. High school student's meals can have as many as 825 calories.

Superintendent Randall Cook thinks it's best for kids to eat healthy. He says not one parent has complained about the quality or choices. He said one parent asked him a question about quantity, to which he says there are plenty of healthy items to fill up on.

"My kids seem to like it a lot better this year," said Mary Allen, a parent who was eating lunch with her daughter. "They buy hot lunch more than cold lunch now."

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