The School Lunch Changes The Departing Trump Administration Wants To Make

Through the years there has been great debate concerning school lunches; dating back to the early 1900s, the hunger and malnutrition of school-aged children were often worried over in America (via Mental Floss). Although the meals have changed through the years, from beef soups and vegetables to pizza and chicken fingers, the worry remains steadfast, which could be why school lunch is a hot topic among our government. 

In 2010, the Obama administration launched the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act which allowed The U.S. Department of Agriculture the opportunity to make some real changes in schools across America. This Act not only sought to improve their lunch menus by offering more nutritious foods, but also feeds up to 31 million children per day (via The New York Times).

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Trump administration is attempting to change the nutritional requirements put in place by the Obama administration, which would minimize some of the nutritional requirements for school lunches. Changes include slashing requirements for whole grains by 50 percent, re-introducing 1 percent chocolate milk, and eliminating sodium-reducing targets. High sodium intake is a concern as it has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and, according to the FDA, many children already eat more than is recommended.

What the schools are saying

Skeptics say the new stance would make lunches in schools less healthy, and according to Kathy Fisher, policy director of the nonprofit Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the children have acclimated to eating more nutritious foods. Wayne Grasela, senior vice president of the School District of Philadelphia, agrees that the Obama administration school lunch guidelines are healthier, stating, "Children are used to them, and it is our intention not to change back." According to The Counter, public health groups are also opposed to the new intended school lunch guidelines, claiming these new guidelines do not support science-backed nutrition standards.

A spokesperson for the USDA told The Philadelphia Times the proposed changes are to minimize food waste and help school districts become more "flexible," as children are wasting up to 25 percent of the offered food because they don't like the options. The spokesperson states, "If they are not eating, children are not benefiting, and we don't want to let that happen on our watch." A recent USDA press release states that the proposed changes are claimed to be a direct response to the experts interacting daily with school-aged children.