The new guidelines state that for-
Lunch- 750-850 calories (for grades 9-12)
Breakfast- 450-600 calories (for grades 9-12)
According to a story published in The Jeffersonian Democrat, “Kids consume about 30% to 50% of their daily calories while at school so that would mean a student lunch should contain between 900 and 1,200 calories.”
So kids are getting 100-300 calories less than they require.
As a result of these new policies kids are now FORCED to take a fruit AND a vegetable, but as we all know some kids don't like fruit and very few kids actually LIKE vegetables. So what does this mean? This means tax money literally being THROWN AWAY. In an interview with a lunch lady at my school she said, “Our trash has almost doubled since this new policy came into effect.” So what are these new guidelines even accomplishing? If kids are just going to throw away what they don’t want to eat then why make them take it? Also since when could the government FORCE us to TAKE food? The government is also looking at expanding the portion size of fruit and vegetables to a full cup, forcing kids to take a full cup of fruits and a full cup of vegetables leading to even more waste.
Many youth that participate in extracurricular sports have practice right after school ends. Kids in soccer, football, basketball, and other various sports have all complained about being hungry during practice. In an interview with a student I asked him if he was ever hungry during football practice, “I would get so sick that i felt like throwing up.” He responded. So what did you do? “I started to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from home.” Another student wrote, “They are trying to control the health of children of this nation through ONE MEAL a day, which really doesn’t make that much difference. What our country needs is parents as good examples to guide them into healthy habits. It is the children's’ guardians’ responsibility to show them how to be healthy, NOT THE GOVERNMENTS!” Another student wrote, “If students don’t get enough calories or sustenance from lunch, most will turn to candy and pops to try and gain more sustenance, which would destroy their health more than larger portion sizes.”
and lastly a student added, “Many low-income families rely on school lunches to provide food for their children but if schools don’t provide adequate sustenance for these children it could be a major health risk for those people.”
In 42 USC § 1758 under paragraph f (nutritional requirements) subparagraph 2 it states, “To assist schools in meeting the requirements of this subsection, the Secretary shall develop, and provide to schools, standardized recipes, menu cycles, and food product specification and preparation techniques; and provide to schools information regarding nutrient standard menu planning, assisted nutrient standard menu planning, and food-based menu systems; and may provide to schools information regarding other approaches, as determined by the Secretary.”
Since when was a secretary given this much power? I thought secretaries were supposed to advise not control. So I guess the real question this poses is should the secretary have this much power? One student said, “The school should choose it’s meals, menus, etc... If the school doesn’t choose and the government does then the schools won’t get personalized menus and they lose control over what we they can make and serve. What if the cost of making these new meal plans costs more than can be afforded?” another responded with a great point of, “The secretary has no say in a school where they have never been to, never heard of, and mostly never ate at. This is the direct result of uninformed politicians.”
To make states comply with what is called in the code as “continuous improvement plans” the secretary is given $4,000,000 to divide between states that comply, also the federal government is threatening to pull funding from programs that do not comply. This is just brutal giving to those who do and taking from those who don’t. I just don’t feel that this is right, I know that it goes on a lot but that doesn’t make it right.
People in specific places eat specific things. Such as where I live, in salem Idaho, potatoes are a big thing here. So, naturally we eat a lot of potatoes because it is cheap, and that what we like, and it keeps money local instead of sending money out of the community to buy alternate staples. One youth said on the subject, “A rural area that raises crops has a cheap and plentiful option. When these options are restricted money can become an issue.”
In the 10th amendment is states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So Basically any rights not given to congress under article 1 section 8 of the congress (called the express powers) and not denied by the states are given to the states or the people. Nowhere under article 1 section 8 does it give congress the power (or even imply the power) to control school lunches (or the education system in general for that matter).
We need to decentralize the federal school lunch program to the state or even to the individual school districts themselves. We also need to eliminate secretary control of this code and like I said let the states or school districts feed their own kids. I mean who better to make the decisions then someone who is close to the situation. We need to petition and write to our Senators and Representatives. I feel that now in our day and age people don’t feel that they can make a difference. To those people I say, “Be strong and remember that America is bigger than the US Government. The people are what really give the government it’s power. This government is, “of the people, for the people, and by the people.” Since when did we let a bunch of rich people sit in Washington and tell us what not to do? There are also some people that are afraid to stand up against the government because they fear that the government has the power to hurt them. To them I repeat the words of Count Palatine, “ Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium ” Which is interpreted as, “I prefer liberty with danger to peace with slavery!” There are some that say, “I am ok, this is just a little thing.” or “It doesn’t affect me.” To those I say that this is not just about food. This is about rights and liberties that this great american experiment was founded upon. John Locke, a great philosopher whose work “Two Treatises of government” greatly affected the framers of the constitution, said, “[The law of nature] teaches that all men are equal and independent and that no one ought to harm another in his life, liberty, or possessions.” Also John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon in the Cato's letters said, “All governments, under whatsoever form they are administered, ought to be administered for the good of the society; when they are otherwise administered, they cease to be government, and become usurpation.”
I will close with the words of Thomas Paine in his pamphlet Common Sense, “O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the Old World is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe, Asia and Africa have long expelled her. Europe regards her as a stranger and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.” Fight for our rights. Fight for our liberty, and we will prevail!