School lunch debate heats up

May 28, 2014 6:06 PM

When it's lunch time at Shasta Elementary School in Chico, students are required to take at least a half of a cup of fruits or vegetables. And while the fruits and veggies start off on students' plates, most of them end up in the trash.

“Some days are better than others depending on the fruit or vegetables we’re serving,” said Amanda Hurd, a Shasta Elementary School safety aide. “But most time, 80 percent of it is going into the garbage.”

Shasta Elementary School didn't always carry so many fruits and vegetables. The cafeteria started doing so after a child nutrition law was passed a few years ago which required school lunches have healthier options.

And when House Republicans recently put together a plan to permit exceptions of these standards, First Lady Michelle Obama spoke out against it. And her while her intentions may have been in the best interest of students’ health, some school cafeteria workers say they're not realistic.

“I think Michelle needs to visit some of the schools,” said Doris Coffey, a Shasta Elementary School cafeteria assistant. “Maybe her girls eat salads all of the time. A lot of our kids some of them eat the salad but a lot of them just put it on their tray to get past us and then just dump it.”

Sixth grader Justin Boots eats lunch from the school cafeteria every day. And despite all the healthy options, he says he and his co-eds have a hard time eating right.

“Kids don’t really eat fruit and vegetables that much,” he said. “They usually just eat the main course and that’s it.”

Chico Unified School District nutrition officials said this healthy meal plan has been very difficult for students to adjust to. But added that they abide by federal and state regulations and hope students will come around to these foods.


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