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School Lunches Not Satisfying, Students Say

Prices increased and portions decreased this year under new federally mandated program.

Lunch prices have increased throughout the school district, but portion size has decreased, and many students are not feeling satisfied after their lunch periods, according to the board of education’s student representatives.

The student representatives—who are chosen by the high school administration and share information from the school at board meetings—expressed concern at the Sept. 24 board of education meeting that students are having to pay higher prices for lunches, but getting smaller portions. They said students are not feeling as full at the end of their lunch periods.

Business administrator Peter Starrs said the district participates in a child nutrition program that funds meals at the schools, and the USDA has implemented new food regulations.

“They put different requirements on how much protein, how many calories, salt and how big portions are,” he said. “We are more restricted in what we can serve.”

This is all being done through the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was put in place to combat obesity. School districts that do not comply are levied hefty fines.

The contract for Bridgewater school lunches is through Maschio’s Food Services, Inc., for $36,330.

Through the payment of lunches, the district is assuming to get a return of $125,000 for the 2012-2013 school year.

In the primary and intermediate schools, student lunches cost $2.40. In the middle school, student lunches cost $2.55, and lunches at the high school cost $2.70.

Starrs said they have heard some complaints from the lower levels too, and are looking into ways of improving the offerings.

“We have directed our company to see what we can do to bring the menu back to what it was with sizes and offerings,” he said. “But we are confined by regulations, and need to stay in it to receive monetary subsidies.”

Other districts have seen complaints about the new lunch programs, with some students, including those at Parsippany-Troy Hills High School instituting a lunch strike recently to protest the changes.

Two students at the school organized a strike Sept. 28, asking students not to buy lunch or any snacks from the cafeteria on that day.

Other schools have held similar protests with students bringing brown-bag lunches instead of buying from the cafeteria, according to an article on Parsippany Patch, and two U.S. representatives in Congress are currently looking to amend the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Superintendent of Schools Michael Schilder said the changes were all made in the name of fighting childhood obesity, but the district will see what can be done.

“We’re looking into it,” he said. “It is certainly being looked into, and if there is anything we can do, we will.”

What do you think about the new lunch prices and offerings? Are the changes worth it?

Gerianne October 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Yes Elliot, my private little girls academy even had a smoking lounge for senior students-but I would imagine that peer pressure in reverse and societal condemnation has resulted in a decline in smoking rates, not governmental restrictions, cigarettes are still legally sold in this country and willl be as long as there is a healthy(no pun intended) tax benefit. However, eating is not a choice-neither is good parenting-I just want the government, well meaning or otherwise, to stay out of my personal choices.
Wick Smith October 02, 2012 at 07:21 PM
Personal choice? Are you saying kids should eat as much as they choose of whatever they like? School lunches today look much more like fast food than they used to. I don't think some restrictions are unwarranted. I'm told that school cafeterias are still throwing out food that these "hungry" kids don't want to eat.
Ray Bertram October 03, 2012 at 06:07 AM
My son graduated last year and the lunch was never enough for him so he had to purchase extra food each day and by the way he is 6 foot tall weighed 162 lbs and had 4%per cent body fat. He was an athlete and worked out every day. There are many more students just like him. You say the food looks like fast food more then ever that's funny because the menu's are set by the same people you want making the portion restrictions. We need to lets Parents set the restrictions on what their children eat. Each child has different dietary needs. Kids like my son are restricted to the same portion as a 100lbs girl who does no physical activity at all and I am not talking about female athletes. Time for some common sense. And yes PERSONAL CHOICE!!!
LS October 03, 2012 at 04:38 PM
My children have made the same comments. Lunches are not satisfying. What happened to the days when lunches were actually "cooked" at the schools. I don't feel bringing in Domino's pizza was a good choice either. Unfortunately, although too many parents do depend on McD's, Wendy's and BK to feed their children, I feel it is also technology that is very much to blame for childhood obesity. I am very thankful my children are not "gamers" and would rather be outside with their friends. I am very thankful I have to force them to come into the house at night. Technology has made it too easy for these children to "connect" with friends online or through text messaging. What happened to the days of going outside? This is where childhood obesity lies.
Gerianne October 03, 2012 at 06:07 PM
As young adults my "kids" are not fast food afficionados. They are active, athletic, healthy citizens who eat now as they did in high school (don't know about their college food choices, because I was not a helicoptor parent) We ate together and had salads, meats, potatoes etc. for most meals, we didnt have much in the way of treats, usually fruit, but sometimes we did splurge and have cookies or cake. They were raised to take care of themselves, to make decisions that were beneficial for them, and to use their God given common sense when it came to making personal choices. Inasmuch as we are no longer with them all the time, I am glad that they were raised to be independent and not to rely on a Nanny State to care for them. PERSONAL CHOICE IS JUST THAT-PERSONAL. Maybe the school lunch plans can double up on the rabbit food. Moderation in all things -

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