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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?

Mike October 02, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Yet they can still serve french fries...some kids manage to end up with a mountain of fries, ketchup, and mayonnaise, washed down with a Snapple. I think the current vendor does a good job but perhaps we should look into something like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/jobs/revolution-foods-chief-on-healthier-school-meals.html
Uareallnuts October 02, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Kids complaining about school lunches? My oh my, what ever is the world coming to? The plain fact is that school lunches have traditionally been calorie-laden and nutritionally suspect. I say give this new system a go for a year and work out the issues along the way.
Linda Evans October 02, 2012 at 11:15 AM
My daughter is a 4th grader and comes home starving; she said she doesn't get enough to eat for lunch; My other daughter in Middle School said in order to feel satisfied at lunch, she has to purchase 2 lunches, she was also made to take an apple and fruit that she gladly gave to a friend. She eats her fruits and vegies at home - My younger daughter said she got Mozarella sticks for lunch and had to get a 2nd order which they allow because they were smaller than appetizer size!! This is just getting ridiculous that the government feels the need to tell my kids what they can and can't have. Can't imagine how deprived the high schoolers feel - or for that matter, boys.. they burn more calories so the smaller portions have to be hard on them too! :(
diane jones October 02, 2012 at 12:02 PM
When is our government going to stay out of our personal lives - do you think our government eats portion sized lunches.
think08807 October 02, 2012 at 12:37 PM
Parents could make their children lunches.
Eliot W. Collins October 02, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Let the children have french fries, onion rings, hambugers, hot dogs, ice cream and 32 oz. sodas if that is what they (and their parents) want. The parents who care about what their kids eat and who have set a good example at home will simply pack a lunch for them to take to school.
Eliot W. Collins October 02, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The government should stay out of the personal lives of obese kids who get adult onset diabetes as well.
Robin B October 02, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Feeling full or not at the immediate conclusion of a meal is NO proper nutrition criteria. One trick to staying at a proper weight is to stop eating before you feel full and then, if hungry an hour later, have a snack. "It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." --Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954
Gerianne October 02, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Perhaps someone from the "government' (maybe Michelle Obama" would like to come to my house and prepare "healthy meals" When are our ELECTED officials gonna stayout of our parenting and get some real work done. If your kid is fat and unhealthy do something about it-don't wait for some unseen entity to foist your issues on the others. Get your kids involved in sports or other activities, limit the trips to the food court at the mall and serve healthy well balanced meals at home. Gee, how did we ever manage to raise our children before governmemtal interference? What's next? What cgurch should we send them to?
Eliot W. Collins October 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Back in the late 60's the United States was the first nation to require a health warning on cigarette packages. At that time some said, "What's next? Smoking in public will be prohibited almost everywhere." It turns out that they were correct. My high-school even had a smoking lounge for the teachers, and some students complained that this was unfair.
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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