Impact of the National School Lunch Program


#1

This popped up in my news feed and I thought it was interesting: Impact of the National School Lunch Program on Fruit and Vegetable Selection in Northeastern Elementary Schoolchildren, 2012–2013.

Increasing children’s fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption is an important goal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National School Lunch Program. Since 2012, the USDA’s requirement that children select FVs at lunch as part of the reimbursable school meal has been met with concern and evidence of food waste. We compared elementary schoolchildren’s FV selection, consumption, and waste before (10 school visits, 498 tray observations) and after (11 school visits, 944 tray observations) implementation of this requirement using validated dietary assessment measures. More children selected FVs in higher amounts when FVs were required compared with when they were optional (0.69 cups vs. 0.89 cups, p,0.001); however, consumption decreased slightly (0.51 cups vs. 0.45 cups, p=0.01) and waste increased (0.25 cups vs. 0.39 cups, p,0.001) when FVs were required compared with when they were optional. More exposure to FVs in schools through programmatic efforts and in the home environment may help familiarize children with FV offerings and encourage consumption.

[emphasis mine]

I increased by FV consumption over 9000% by eating pizza. We should try that next!


#2

That sounds like a step in the right direction. In a similar vein, I’ve heard that the SNAP program, in some areas, offers double benefits if they are used at participating farmers’ markets.


#3

Kids took more FVs, but total FV consumption actually declined (see the emphasized bit). All those FVs they were required to take went straight into the trash (hence the massive waste increase). That seems like a bad thing to me.

The idea we can micro-legislate what people eat is kind of ridiculous. We should make healthy options available, but there’s no sense in requiring a kid take a fruit or vegetable they’re going to throw away without eating.


#4

Yes, and proper eating habits can’t be taught in one meal at school. That needs a solid basis at home.


#5

Wow… can almost imagine a school lunch line just handing out bottles of 2.0… And then giving the students 5 minutes for lunch…


#6

The School Lunch program is pretty terrible. My nephew sometimes doesn’t eat any of the lunch because it is so unappetizing. And he is in the athletics program so needs nutrition.

Statisticians in air-conditioned offices like that more “healthy” food is being served. But it gets thrown in the trash and my nephew comes home hungry and digs into a bag of chips.

However I have got him on Soylent in the morning. If they served Soylent at lunch he would probably opt for that. :slight_smile:


#7

Are kids allowed to bring their own lunch? Maybe 2.0 would be a good option for his lunch and mid day snack too? Refrigeration may be an issue though…


#8

Yes, and they have microwaves but no refrigerators. On days he knows the lunch will be particularly terrible he will take something than can be microwaved. But I feel for low-income kids who rely on school lunches for a lot of their nutrition. Not every kid has a safety net of Soylent and microwaveable meals from home…


#9

My point was how would he deal with no refrigeration at school? Drink Soylent 2.0 lukewarm?


#10

Would probably get a cooler bag in that event.


#11

You could pour it into a vacuum flask (thermos) in the morning.


#12

At that point, wouldn’t it be better to just use 1.5? And do public schools allow kids to bring things like this with them?


#13

Yep, I was thinking that in the back of my head. It would be a good backup if someone forgot to make Soylent the night prior.

The schools I went to did. I honestly don’t know if that’s changed or if it varies by district or whatever.


#14

There is one type of vegetable that kids universally love and grab out of trays quickly - french fries :fries:

For Soylent haters, the vision of our children standing in line for bottle of Soylent is the most horrifying dystopian future. Don’t even mention this around them.

My daughter asked for inconspicuous insulated bottle to sneak Soylent into school, she will pretend it’s soup or something. She needs to control the weirdness factor, so important in high school social order.


#15

My homeschooled children ask for broccoli and other vegetables at the grocery store when we go shopping. :slight_smile: