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Hunger-Free Kids Act: Is it Leaving Your Kids Hungry?

As parents and students around the country complain about the new legislation and its impacts on school lunches, we want to hear from you Tampa Bay.

Complaining about school lunches is a time-honored tradition that kids relish almost as much as they do summer vacation. This year, however, complaints are up as the effects of the federal Hunger-Free Kids Act are felt in lunchrooms all over America.

Some of those complaints are coming from unlikely sources–not just students and their parents–but also school district officials.

The act created new guidelines for student lunches that went into effect in August. Those guidelines call for limiting the amounts of proteins and grains offered, based on grade level, and requiring students to choose a fruit and a vegetable with their meals. Caloric limits are also in place.

While creating a more balanced menu might sound like a good idea, school district officials across the country are saying complaints and food waste are up and purchases of school lunches are down. Some students are saying they’re leaving the lunch table hungry. Others say they’re throwing out a lot of what they’re required to buy because they simply don’t like it.

School districts are also saying the new plan is costing them money–a lot of it.

for example, the new program is costing about $1.3 million more to implement than what the government provided to fund it. Plus, lunchroom workers are finding themselves having to serve up items students don’t want.

“Even if students don’t like beans, they’re going to see them on their plate,” said Pasco Schools' Food and Nutrition Services supervisor Julie Hedine.

Here are our questions to you Tampa Bay: Do you think it is government’s place to force certain items onto school lunchroom trays or do you think students and their parents should have the choice? Are your kids complaining more about lunches this year? Do they say they're hungry even after lunch? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Gary Huckleberry October 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM
An extortion financed government is not qualified to govern food, home, work, or army.
BlFalconskeep October 10, 2012 at 01:30 PM
My children have never been called obese, chunky or fat. They are athletically built with high metabalisms. School lunches should be healthy, yes, but they should also be appealing to the children. My kids come home from school and they are ready to eat the wallpaper off the walls. They tell me they are starving. My oldest daughter lifts weights, my middle daughter sports "6 pack" abs and my youngest daughter can't seem to take in enough calories to keep in slim pants although she can out eat my husband (you would have to see the size difference to truly get the point- 4ft 3" vs 6ft 3"). There are such things called "Nutrionists" and "Dieticians". The school system is supposed to employ one. Wait, they do! Instead of big government telling everybody what to do (I dont see them with the credentials to say they are Drs, Nutrionists or Dieticians), why dont they let the states and the people with the knowledge work with parents and kids to make up school lunches that are filling, nutritional and balanced? Who knows our children better than those of us that are with them all the time? The White House and Congress have never met my children, so I dont see why they believe they should dictate what is served to them.
BlFalconskeep October 10, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I agree with you. The meals I have seen are full of processed foods that contain empty calories and help promote diabetes and other problems. These kids need meals that are tasty, nutritious and have the proper calories and filling properties to keep our kids happy and healthy so they can learn better. My kids love homemade fruit smoothies for breakfast with an english muffin. Even though I dont have alot of money, this is something I can make that doesnt cost alot of money, filling, nutritious and tastes good. Things like this dont take much. Tasty food can be nutritious and filling without empty calories and full of artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Laura October 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM
I also attended a meeting, hosted by Food and Water Watch & Going Green, to help get support for "Let Me Decide" a campaign to get GE (genetically engineered) foods labeled. I am trying to do what I can to get rid of or control GMOs. What are you doing? I am active in my community to try to make a difference. I do look at the big picture and do what I can to make a difference. If you go back to the initative I referred to, its also about growing locally and involving chefs in our school system. Its all good stuff we can control on a local level. If you don't like government, go out in your community and show them how you can make a change.
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