Education

Fewer French Fries, More Orange Veggies Coming to School Lunches.

|

School lunch is one place where government action to slim down America's fat tykes actually makes sense. Millions of kids jam state-selected food down their gullets every day, sometimes two meals a day. Most kids have two choices; whatever their local public school cafeteria dishes out, or what their moms packed at home (although increasingly, the options of what their moms are permitted to send from home are limited). For kids who get subsidized lunch, it's school lunch or bust. And school lunches are terrible. They have been for a long time.

Now—if the U.S. Department of Agriculture has its way—kids will now get lunches with more and better veggies (including one serving of "orange vegetables" a week), less salt, low-fat milk, and fewer french fries. Some of the requirements kick in quickly, others will phase in on a 10-year plan. Pretty commonsense stuff, but surprisingly hard for districts to implement on their own. Local districts are hemmed in by federal standards and policies that make innovation difficult, plus requirements to use USDA surplus goods.

New nutrition standards for lunches provided to kids with limited options in public school buildings and paid for in taxpayer dollars were long overdue. Naturally, they're also being overhyped.

This is the "first major improvement" in the standards that "we've seen in a generation, and it reflects the seriousness of the issue of obesity," says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

There have been an awful lot of "major improvements" designed to address the problem of childhood obesity in the last generation—from the fancy-pants lunches Obama's kids eat at Sidwell Friends school, all the way down to apple slices and milk in the Happy Meals at McDonald's—but the wheels of government turn slowly, and perhaps none more slowing than the Department of Agriculture.

And it's only taken a generation to get around to start phasing in a plan to limit taxpayer subsidized daily french fries for the nation's public school piggies! Major.

NEXT: Looking for Loughners

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Does ketchup still count as a vegetable in school lunches?

  2. Fewer French Fries, More Orange Veggies Coming to School Lunches.

    In related news, fewer french fries, more orange veggies coming to school lunch trash cans.

  3. This is a good thing for at least one reason: We don’t need more of this.

    1. That pretty much made me blow Mountain Dew out of my nose. Thanks.

      1. I hope thats diet Mountain Dew

  4. I believe french fry-flavor oranges would solve this problem.

  5. one serving of “orange vegetables” a week

    Cheetos?

    1. Nice.

    2. don’t forget fritos and doritos!
      thankfull, we have a wide variety of “tos” foods to get our daily alloquat of “orange”

      1. C’mon man, Fritos are yellow, like Dipsy Doodles.

      2. Those gross orange Hostess Cupcakes?….barf….my wife likes those things.

    3. I am still trying to think of an orange vegetable other than a carrot.

      1. Yams and, uh, persimmons?

      2. This probably refers to what used to be more commonly called yellow vegetables, and would include sweet potatoes and yellow squash besides carrots.

        People seem to have the idea that kids wouldn’t go for such things, but I bet children under 10 YO would overwhelmingly prefer sweet potatoes most of the time to white potatoes prepared the same way.

        The greater problem with vegetables and children is that for any given vegetable, a significant minority of children will strongly object to it, while not having a strong objection to hot dogs & white potatoes. School lunches tend to be like the Budweiser and Miller of lunches, striving to be acceptable to the greatest number rather than to be anyone’s favorite. But if you gave children a choice from among, say, carrots, beets, and peas, you would get some who would strongly reject one or two, but hardly any who would reject them all, and overall they would find choices they’d prefer to whatever blandness they’re currently getting in institutional food.

      3. Also pumpkins, some kinds of sweet peppers. I was thinking they could include orange fruits as well. I love sweet potatoes and carrots, so I’d have been happy with this.

      4. Heirloom tomatoes.

  6. I predict that nothing the government does will reduce childhood obesity. However, I leave open the possibility that whatever they do might make childhood obesity worse. I feel pretty confident with this prediction.

    1. the govt cant stop fat parents fm serving fattening foods to their fat kids.

      1. Ahem… your decision as to whether to eat broccoli or cheez whiz affects interstate commerce…

      2. Re: OhioOrrin,

        the govt cant stop fat parents fm serving fattening foods to their fat kids.

        Is it “can’t” or is it “can” with a typo? I cannot tell with your “I am a living example of US Public Education” writting…

        1. another illiterate mexican

        2. Umm… “writting” !?!

        3. Umm… “writting” !?!

          1. Yes, “writing” with a double T, because it’s T time.

            🙂

        4. stop trying & stick w span glish. comprende amig a ;

          1. …and racist

            1. not racist 2 point out that spics need 2 shut there tacohole

              1. spics r puerto rican

              2. Do you still jack off in an empty soup can while posting here?

          2. Baise ta m?re, connard.

        5. +100 internet lulz

      3. Challenge Accepted!

  7. “plan to limit taxpayer subsidized daily french fries for the nation’s public school piggies!”

    Well maybe we shouldn’t subsidize lunches for “piggies” at all. Only skinny people deserve to get taxpayer subsidized things. You should start your own PAC.

  8. The rule does not need congressional approval.

    This substantive rulemaking has to stop. I guess the USDA is taking a cue from the EPA.

  9. including one serving of “orange vegetables” a week

    I would totally be rooting for sweet potatoes (mmm, candied yams) over carrots.

  10. Has there ever been a better industry at bullshitting than the cow milk industry? They seem to have thoroughly convinced people that their not particularly healthy drink is some sort of magic elixir.

    1. The USDA is the best example of regulatory capture ever. Just take a look at the Food Pyramid. It’s a blueprint for obesity.

      1. Which version? There’s been about 30 of them over the last decade.

        1. They all put grains at the bottom and fat at the time. In general that has not seemed to have helped to much.

    2. Milk has protein, calcium, lots of vitamins and fat. Like anything else, it’s healthy in moderation, and very useful as an ingredient in other foods. Of course I mean whole milk. That low fat or no fat shit is horrible and serves no purpose.

      1. I like 2% fat milk more than whole.
        I like wolverine piss more than 0% fat milk.

      2. I like 2% fat milk more than whole.
        I like wolverine piss more than 0% fat milk.

        1. Goddam server squirrels.

          1. Do you like goddam server squirrels more than 0% fat milk?

          2. Yeah, they’re at the bottom of my list too. Know how many squirrels you have to milk to get enough for coffee?

    3. If kids are going to drink milk they should at least drink whole milk. This whole cholesterol/saturated fat scare is a myth and kids need fat and cholesterol for proper brain development. Ever notice how ADHD, asthma, autism, learning disabilities etc have become more common since it was decreed kids should follow a low fat diet?

      1. Cheeseburgers RULE – ya got cheese, (milk, protein), meat (protein), and vegetable (bun, wheat, mmm! wheat = vegetable/plant). And ketchup (only if you’re under 18) and pickles/lettuce/mustard (MORE vegetables!).

        It’s like a healthy-diet force of nature! I can’t believe they serve anything but cheeseburgers at schools.

        1. They should put a Red Robin in every school. Sure, it’s not the best burger in the world, but as chains go, they mass produce a tasty burger.

          1. Oh, it’s a hamburger joint. My first thought was, how many of those do you have to slaughter to get….

      2. Well, there’s at least a theoretic basis for kids not to drink whole milk: Babies when autopsied routinely have fatty infiltration of the myocardium. But that cuts both ways: If it’s reversible from babyhood, you’d think any such damage would be reversible from childhood too.

      3. The if is key. Milk should be for very young children, babies and toddlers. After that, there are better ways for little humans to get the protein and fat needed for brains. Give em more cream and butter with other real foods.

    4. Has there ever been a better industry at bullshitting than the cow milk industry?

      Well, duh! Cows…bull shitting…what would you expect?

  11. Where does this argument that school lunches suck come from?

    Square, crustless pepperoni pizza? (Double) Mashed potatoes and turkey gravy Thursdays? At least those are some of the things I got in high school. Maybe grade school is different and more limited, but they definitely weren’t unappetizing. Just because adult busy-bodies enjoy eating pate (sorry can’t figure out how to do a fancy e right now) doesn’t mean kids want to eat that shit. So instead of battling obesity they are going to turn the next generation into anorexics who abhor health food.

    1. Where does this argument that school lunches suck come from?

      Widespread well formed opinion. P.S. 108’s lunch room smelled like canned tomato soup every single school day. I never ate their lunch, but just on that evidence alone I could conclude it to be the most monotonous, boring lunch imaginable.

  12. School lunch is one place where government action to slim down America’s fat tykes actually makes sense.

    Why the hateful rhetoric?

    1. KMW has a hard on for fat people for some reason. I guess it’s hard not to find a nanny in everyone.

    2. She was obviously picked on as a “flat-chested-skinny-bitch” through high school.

      Now she’s just HAWT…but that kind of hate leaves a scar…

  13. another illiterate mexican

  14. maybe if u werent illiterate

    1. Re: OhioOrrin,

      Follow the road to the city, so that you can ask for a brain when you get there… That one, the yellow one.

    2. Hello there kettle! Long time no see. Or to make it easier to understand:
      hi ketle lng tm no c lol

    3. You suck

  15. Now?if the U.S. Department of Agriculture has its way?kids will now get lunches with more and better veggies (including one serving of “orange vegetables” a week), less salt, low-fat milk, and fewer french fries.

    There you have it – the plan is to turn kids into anorexics by taking advantage of their finickiness…

    1. the alternative to fat is NOT anorexia

      1. Re: OhioOrrin,

        the alternative to fat is NOT anorexia

        I just love your non sequiturs! Here I am, talking about a plan in a facetious way, and you, OO, talking about something entirely different!

        OO:
        “If I only had a brain!”

      2. Yeah, it is

  16. Fewer French Fries, More Orange Veggies Coming to School Lunches Trash Cans

    Yeah, I’m a cynic.

  17. Glad to see Mangu-Ward correctly noting that a change in school lunch policy to make healthier options more available is not an imposition of tyranny over the previous status quo.

    When in was in high school we either ate the repugnant crap they served or, because we had an open campus, enjoyed the plethora of healthy external choices in proximity: McDonalds or Taco Bell.

    1. Re: Tony,

      Glad to see Mangu-Ward correctly noting that a change in school lunch policy to make healthier options more available is not an imposition of tyranny over the previous status quo.

      Agreed, it is correctly stated, as it actually represents a progression of the previous tyrannical imposition (i.e. tax-funded school lunches), not an entirely new and unexpected imposition.

      1. Someday they’ll be a czar position available for everyone.

      2. Arguably it is an increase in individual freedom, though. You are more free when you can choose to walk, jog, or run, rather than being restricted to waddling.

    2. tony only smart person here

      1. Re: Tony,

        tony only smart person here

        Shit, Tony – you now have a stalker!

        1. shut yr tacohole

    3. When [I] was in high school we either ate the repugnant crap they served or, because we had an open campus, enjoyed the plethora of healthy external choices in proximity: McDonalds or Taco Bell.

      So you grew up completely unaware of the third alternative where you bring your own lunch?

      1. maybe his mom didnt have any hands, tough guy

        1. Hahahaha Troll finally gets a good one

        2. Oh, his mom had hands all right. Great hands. Have you ever seen the Shake Weight commercials?

          https://www.shakeweight.com/flare/next

        3. Which explains why he didn’t get hit enough times.

        4. A+

          A diamond is to be found in the gravel pile of your posting, after all.

      2. I still don’t cook. My kitchen is essentially a large liquor cabinet.

        1. So my brain is completely pickled!

        2. That explains quite a bit.

        3. That explains quite a bit.

  18. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

    1. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

  19. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

  20. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

    1. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

      1. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

        1. This video would be more convincing if the Reason.TV crew would have found someone outside of their own organization to support their hypothesis.

    2. Can we serve the server squirrels to school childern for lunch?

  21. Why not compromise? Fried sweet potatoes have beta carotene, and taste pretty good.

    1. +1 They are great!

    2. Yes! Too few places serve them, though — mostly off-the-bottom-end bar & grills in my experience.

      Which reminds me — what happened to the various fried & breaded vegetables they used to have at Church’s Fried Chicken 30+ years ago? They used to have mushrooms, okra, and something else I forgot, besides potatoes.

  22. Crap. I missed John Thacker’s comment before I posted that.

  23. my 9yo is in a public school – he’s certainly eating better than I am for lunch at work. It’s like reading a gourmet menu compared to my microwave meal.

  24. Let’s see what changed beteewn this generation and prior generations? Was it that prior generations ate less and ate healthier? No. Was it cable, color tv, video games, computers, and central air conditioning? Yes. So what do you want the government to do about that? If you said nothing, go to the front of the line.

    1. This is partially true, Almighty, but there really is documented evidence that we are getting roughly 20% more calories on average. The problem is accentuated, however, by the fact that we get far less exercise.

  25. government action to slim down America’s fat tykes actually makes sense
    i dont think so tim

    1. I think the point was that government trying to remove the log from its own eye is probably better than worrying about the motes in the bag lunches that parents pack, to mix a paraphor.

  26. School lunch is one place where government action to slim down America’s fat tykes actually makes sense.

    Um, no it doesn’t. Did our nation’s schools suddenly improve over night and now they can move on to this?

    The 3 R’s would be a nice place to start…

  27. He said heated rhetoric!!

  28. But when all is said & done, improving the quality of school lunches isn’t going to make children thinner; if anything, it’ll get them to eat more for lunch. Restricting energy content would make them thinner, but doing so universally at lunch fails to account for the fact that people have different appetites at different times of day. If lunch is the biggest contributor to someone’s waistline, then OK; but some people eat more for breakfast or dinner, and cutting their lunch is either going to have no effect or just make them feel deprived, especially if they don’t have a weight problem to begin with.

  29. BTW, “less salt” can practically be taken as a proxy for less in the way of hot dogs, cold cuts, canned soup, and, to a lesser extent, dairy. It’s not like much of the sodium contribution has been pickles, pretzels, or potato chips.

  30. Jamie Oliver crying all the way to the bank

  31. In the long run it’s good that they are looking to put health foods in our schools.
    gluten free products

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.