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Ball-Chatham Students Unhappy with Lunch Program
Several school districts are saying "Thanks but no thanks" to the new health-focused federal school lunch program. The nation's new healthier school lunches, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, are packed with more fruits and vegetables. But they're getting a failing grade from some students.
Several school districts are dropping out of the government-subsidized lunch program after just one year because they say students are rejecting the healthier fare.
The national school lunch program is designed to provide healthy low-cost lunches to children each school day. But that doesn't mean the kids are eating what's on their plate, which has parents in the Ball-Chatham school district concerned.
"They are starving when they come home because they don't feel like they were given enough to eat and that the options they have were very limited," Chatham resident Angela Try said.
Try is a busy mother of four and says her kids aren't happy with new school lunches that just started this school year.
"They had turnips one day last week," Try said. "All last week they chose to take their lunch so they didn't have that option to eat that. I know my kids wouldn't have chosen that, and if it would have gotten put on their plate, they would have thrown it away as well."
Although schools across the country are dropping out of the federal school lunch program due to food being wasted, Ball-Chatham School District Superintendent Carrie Hruby says they are keeping the program.
"Making sure that they are making good choices in what they choose to eat is a good thing," Hruby said. "And so we're going to try and continue to pursue it even though it may not be as popular at first."
Glenwood Elementary School has seen a major decrease in the number of kids eating school lunch, which means more parents are preparing what Try calls "kid-friendly" lunches at home.
"They are kids, and once in a while just give them a pudding cup or a Popsicle," Try said. "Maybe make it once a week. I wish there was a little more balance with all of the healthy options that they have and a little more kid food too."
GenHKids founder Dr. Kemia Sarraf created the healthy school lunch menu with the Ball-Chatham school district, and says the menu is still a work in progress.
"I can appreciate the fact that these typically are considered adult-friendly food," Sarraf said. "If we are not teaching our children to eat and recognize and appreciate them when they are young, how are we supposed to expect them to make those best long-life choices as they grow up?"
Ball-Chatham school district administrators said they receive $250,000 from the federal program and are open to suggestions from both the students and their parents.