USDA: On second thought, some of those school-lunch restrictions weren’t such a good idea

posted at 5:31 pm on January 4, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

After the federal government’s school-lunch standards were overhauled in 2012 in what I’m sure was a very well-intentioned effort to institute healthier habits in America’s children and help stave off of the country’s growing childhood obesity problem, it didn’t take long for the calorie-intake and portion restrictions in the new code to crash and burn spectacularly. Healthy eating habits being the highly individualized needs and preferences that they are, kids and parents quickly began complaining that students were not able to get enough to eat at lunchtime, and in some districts, school-lunch participation began to drop as more and more students started bringing their own lunches to school. The USDA soon implemented a temporary stay on the rules, and they just made the changes permanent — seeing as how the restrictions were never very well thought out in the first place. NPR explains:

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time. …

The USDA temporarily lifted the restrictions following many complaints. And, now, according to a new announced this week, the change will be made permanent.

The School Nutrition Association, a group made up of school food directors, is applauding the decision. The group says the overly restrictive limits on grains and protein worked against them.

For instance, some schools could not offer daily sandwich selections because the two slices of bread exceeded weekly grain limits. And in some cases, salads topped with low-fat cheese or other sources of lean protein exceeded protein limits.

Gee, whiz. Like so many other attempts to socially engineer top-down virtue, this latest instance of the one-size-fits-all, nobler-than-thou regulatory approach to problem-solving not merely failed to find a workable solution, but caused another problem in the meantime on which the USDA has now had to retract. Who could’ve seen that coming?


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Gee, whiz. Like so many other attempts to socially engineer top-down virtue, this latest instance of the one-size-fits-all, nobler-than-thou regulatory approach to problem-solving not merely failed to find a workable solution, but caused another problem in the meantime on which the USDA has now had to retract. Who could’ve seen that coming?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Stoic Patriot on January 4, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Wow, a government agency admits it’s wrong?

I smell a rat.

PattyJ on January 4, 2014 at 5:39 PM

I’m hoping that middle ground can be found on this one. Yes the USDA went too far but it wasn’t that long ago that a local school district here got caught serving “cheese bread” as the entree. In other words, lunch primarily consisted of melted cheese on toast with a side of canned vegetables and milk. Yum.

Happy Nomad on January 4, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Big Mo hates American children. She belongs in a cage.

Pork-Chop on January 4, 2014 at 5:43 PM

For instance, some schools could not offer daily sandwich selections because the two slices of bread exceeded weekly grain limits.

What the BLEEP? Two slices of bread exceeds weekly grain limits? Since when, unless you are starvation rations in a North Korean prison camp.

I take a pb& j sandwich with me to work 4 days a week (multigrain bread, peanut butter than only contains peanuts.) And there’s something about kids. . . oh, that’s right, they are growing and need additional calories. If you’re worried about obesity, bring back recess and dump diversity classes and other propaganda.

rbj on January 4, 2014 at 5:44 PM

The USDA soon implemented a temporary stay on the rules, and they just made the changes permanent…

Anarchists

forest on January 4, 2014 at 5:45 PM

Using our children as guinea pigs.

davidk on January 4, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Chicago city schools are the best. You aren’t allowed to bring your own lunch, and you cannot refuse what they put on your plate in the cafeteria.

They throw out TONS of uneaten food.

Murphy9 on January 4, 2014 at 5:48 PM

http://youtu.be/we9_CdNPuJg

Ben Hur on January 4, 2014 at 5:48 PM

After the federal government’s school-lunch standards were overhauled in 2012 in what I’m sure was a very well-intentioned effort. . . .

Well, that’s the Liberal problem, isn’t it? Besides displaying an appalling understanding of human nature and an astonishing lack of historical knowledge, those who worship at the church of “Magical Thinking” seem to believe that having good intentions is all that counts. After all it makes them feel good. But what ultimately counts, of course, are results. And here, to mix my metaphors, an assessment of their policies’ effectiveness makes the Mendoza line look like Mount Everest.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on January 4, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Using our children as guinea pigs.

davidk on January 4, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Exactly. And, it’s disgusting.

I thank God every single day that I raised my family when traditional values were somewhat normal in this country.

You know–when kids went outdoors for recess; when kids had to participate in gym class; when kids weren’t glued to any hand-held device.

Back in that day, we didn’t count kids’ calories. They burned more than they took in.

Those WERE “the days.”

jersey taxpayer on January 4, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Big Mo hates American children. She belongs in a cage.

Pork-Chop on January 4, 2014 at 5:43 PM

True but what does that have to do with her hatred of children?

Happy Nomad on January 4, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Chicago city schools are the best. You aren’t allowed to bring your own lunch, and you cannot refuse what they put on your plate in the cafeteria.

They throw out TONS of uneaten food.

Murphy9 on January 4, 2014 at 5:48 PM

And that, Murph, is exactly the lib paradigm in a nutshell!

jersey taxpayer on January 4, 2014 at 5:55 PM

Big Mo hates American children. She belongs in a cage.

Pork-Chop on January 4, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Yes, our big-a$$ed first lady is behind this.

bw222 on January 4, 2014 at 5:56 PM

Liberals are paternalistic boobs.

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 4, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Big Government bureaucracy as micromanager.

Conservatives try to preserve tried and true policies, while Liberals enjoy unfettered social experimentation, just in case something might ever just work.

flicker on January 4, 2014 at 6:03 PM

It’s hard to imagine that school cafeteria food could be made worse and, yet, the Obama administration managed. Have these folks been right about anything yet?

Cindy Munford on January 4, 2014 at 6:06 PM

You know what I’d love to do? Micromanage the bureaucrats. After Obama retires to Hawaii, I’d love to be the owner/operator of an exclusive, highly sought out eatery near him. Then when he went there to eat, I could give him a 10 page application he had to fill out, and make him answer a bunch of questions online, and then when it all fails, make him do it again. All the while a plate of arugula just within his arm’s reach, making him salivate.

Paul-Cincy on January 4, 2014 at 6:06 PM

CWchangedhisNicagain on January 4, 2014 at 6:02 PM

WHOA! I happen to LIKE boobs! (ducks)

rottenrobbie on January 4, 2014 at 6:08 PM

kids and parents quickly began complaining that students were not able to get enough to eat at lunchtime, and in some districts, school-lunch participation began to drop as more and more students started bringing their own lunches to school. – E.J.

Could (gasp) that be all it would take to bring down Obysmalscare?

I know one thing; this family will never sign up. We’ve been self-pay for the last three decades. We’ll continue to self-pay. As in all of life, we do NOT depend on any government to determine any damn thing in our lives.

A prosperous, healthy and happy 2014 to you all. (I know the prosperous part of that conveyance is laughable to most, but nonetheless I wish it for you.)

I wish every American citizen hope, and Godspeed, even IF you voted for Oblamo twice. Here’s the reason: Every SINGLE time this preezy had a choice to bring Americans together, he’s chosen to divide us.

In my view, the new year is a perfect time to try to unite Americans, even if he won’t. We will only defeat the monster if we come together as individuals, and while I’m not sure that’s possible, I have hope that most of us can.

Have a good weekend, everyone :)

jersey taxpayer on January 4, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Sounds successful to me!!

Switching kids from free lunches to them bringing their own and me not having to pay for it sounds like a real success.

– I don’t see the problem..

KenInIL on January 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM

When Fedzilla starts menu planning for school cafeterias, you know DOE has run completely out of control.

petefrt on January 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM

It’s not just the kids the obamas need to nudge into their box the adults are getting it now. How long will ocare survive?

tim c on January 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

KenInIL on January 4, 2014 at 6:13 PM

That’s how I feel too. I always thought (and still do) that the school lunches were just junk food with a side of overcooked veggies. Home lunch is usually much better.

Don’t know if any of the kids on gov’t (taxpayer) lunches also starting bringing lunch from home. If so, that is a bigger success then – at leas they learn mom and dad are the primary providers not nanny Fed.

batter on January 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

barry and moochelle are a matching set, everything they touch turns to crap.

crosshugger on January 4, 2014 at 6:23 PM

so basically both Obamas are watching their “legacy” become catastrophic failures.

Spliff Menendez on January 4, 2014 at 6:26 PM

This was the First Lady’s doing. She is so clueless. Heck, she married Barry, that should tell you right there.

SansJeux on January 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Wasn’t there a time when parents made the food choices for the children?

tngmv on January 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

The USDA temporarily lifted the restrictions following many complaints.

Is that all it takes for the Feds to back off???

Well…..

ObamaCare is toast……

Electrongod on January 4, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Wait just a second here.

Are you telling me that FLOTUS can gorge herself on buttered lobster tails, the finest pasta, wauygu beef, the finest chocolates and vodka in the world but the chirrens of the “collective” don’t like their bread and water? Perhaps their parents need to be taught a lesson, hmmm?

/Don’t laugh.

Key West Reader on January 4, 2014 at 6:49 PM

ObamaCare is toast……

Electrongod on January 4, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Toast is banned.

Key West Reader on January 4, 2014 at 6:50 PM

This was the First Lady’s doing. She is so clueless. Heck, she married Barry, that should tell you right there.

SansJeux on January 4, 2014 at 6:32 PM

It’s not that she is clueless. It is the fact that she is a hypocrite. She gorges herself on fine foods, wines, etc., but insists that her subjects eat what she dictates them to have.

She’s as big as a horse, but YOUR children will be thin. Just cause she says so.

Now shaddup and eat your freaking rice cake you plebe.

Key West Reader on January 4, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Stop interfering in the states education!

TX-96 on January 4, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Do-gooders think they know so much, when they really know so very little.

GarandFan on January 4, 2014 at 7:21 PM

Chicago city schools are the best. You aren’t allowed to bring your own lunch, and you cannot refuse what they put on your plate in the cafeteria.

They throw out TONS of uneaten food.

Murphy9 on January 4, 2014 at 5:48 PM

I recall other schools policing kids whose lunches were brought from home and removing items deemed to be over their calorie/fat quotas while charging parents to “supplement” student lunches with items to meet quotas.

When I was a kid, I had practically no appetite at all until I hit age 14; as a pre-teen, I’d be throwing all that crap out too.

Here’s a parody of the Hunger Games movie some students produced last year, to protest the “MyPlate.Gov” bullshite…enjoy.

Wanderlust on January 4, 2014 at 7:29 PM

That NPR article links to another of its own articles, written in 2012. The picture of a school lunch accompanying the article looks like the kids are on diets. Two fruits, a salad, and some saltines(!). There might be some meat in the salad I can’t see, but of you look at the picture, you’ll see ht I mean.

No wonder the kids were hungry.

Alana on January 4, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Moochelle was in charge of this right? Not sure how a large woman like her could be put in charge of such a program. Just plain dumb. Plus. Why is the government even involved in this?

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM

Not every kid needs the same amount of food. Plus, it is most likely what the kids eat at home that is making them obese.

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:42 PM

I’m surprised FLOTUS didn’t demand a mandatory vegan diet for our schools.

OTOH she didn’t get all that junk in her trunk from gnawing on carrots and broccoli.

myiq2xu on January 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Wasn’t there a time when parents made the food choices for the children?

Wasn’t there a time we had parents actually raising their own children? Mom’s home to feed breakfast, pack lunch in the morning and pick the kid up and feed them after school.
They want single mom’s, daycare, both parents working, abortions at will and same sex couples. Not families.

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Not every kid needs the same amount of food. Plus, it is most likely what the kids eat at home that is making them obese.

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Question for you. What does your Queen eat?

/No, not Michelle, I’m talking about Barack. The Queen of Boosheet.

Key West Reader on January 4, 2014 at 7:50 PM

OTOH she didn’t get all that junk in her trunk from gnawing on carrots and broccoli.

myiq2xu on January 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

More like eating every lobster in the Ocean.

Uh huh.

Key West Reader on January 4, 2014 at 7:51 PM

OTOH she didn’t get all that junk in her trunk from gnawing on carrots and broccoli.

She is huge and ought to be ashamed of herself. How on earth did anyone think she could decide on food choices?

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:53 PM

If kids are paying for their own lunches they should be able to eat whatever the heck they want.
Are these restrictions only for the kids on the government reduced and free lunch plans?

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:54 PM

They throw out TONS of uneaten food.

If someone was to do a study of what parts of school lunches get thrown out I bet they would find that most of the veggies and other “healthy” food gets tossed.

A smart person would say “Why waste money buying food that kids won’t eat” but a Progressive would say “We need a law to make them eat their veggies!” A politician would ask “How much will the veggie farmers lobby donate to my campaign?”

myiq2xu on January 4, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Especially egregious were the lobster restrictions Moochelle had pushed to increase her stash.

viking01 on January 4, 2014 at 8:05 PM

It’s not just the White House moochers.

Recall the over-the-top parties the bureaucrats throw for themselves in Vegas and other hot spots. Oh, of course those are “conferences” and “training sessions.

Silly me, I should have known they were for my benefit.

FOWG1 on January 4, 2014 at 8:47 PM

…why can’t we punch these people?….why?
…it’s self-defense!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2014 at 9:54 PM

…that kid in the picture…looks like Mooch…with a tight haircut!

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Why would you limit protein in children? I don’t get it; guess I missed something. Are they trying to reduce the height of Americans so they don’t appear domineering to the shorter people of the world? Very strange since the paleo diet is all the new rage and it is comprised of meat and vegetables. So, if they can’t eat grains and they can’t eat protein, what the heck are kids supposed to eat besides lettuce and cucumbers?

Puma for Life on January 4, 2014 at 9:57 PM

If kids are paying for their own lunches they should be able to eat whatever the heck they want.

Are these restrictions only for the kids on the government reduced and free lunch plans?

southernms on January 4, 2014 at 7:54 PM

The restrictions covered all lunch plans served by school cafeterias, and some jurisdictions took the nannying thing even further by requiring parents to pay for extra “healthy” food for kids who brought their lunches to school, where the administrators assessed the food they brought and deemed it to be not “healthy” enough for them.

CS Lewis had this nailed with Experiment House in the fourth Narnia book, The Silver Chair.

Wanderlust on January 4, 2014 at 10:01 PM

For instance, some schools could not offer daily sandwich selections because the two slices of bread exceeded weekly grain limits. And in some cases, salads topped with low-fat cheese or other sources of lean protein exceeded protein limits.

Limiting grains I can see, sort of, but if 10 slices of bread exceeds the weekly limit, then something is obviously wrong with the limit.

But limiting protein? Are we having a problem with children getting just too-much gosh-darned protein each day?

Talk about solving a problem that never needed to be solved!

While it is possible to get too much protein, it’s pretty rare. Certainly not something to require limiting school lunches.

Two problems with these guidelines. The first is in setting a cap on nutrients without distinguishing in any way between the kinds of nutrients. The second is in trying to limit school lunches to drive an anti-obesity “solution.” It’s only one meal of the day, and those who are really obese from eating too much are probably not eating just at lunch time, any way.

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 5, 2014 at 1:52 AM

The local school that got serving cheese bread did so because they probably screwed up and ran out of food. The tried to serve something. It was a bad idea but they more than likely ordered wrong in the first place.

I’m amazed kids don’t get sick regardless of the food they are served. I heard a story about a lady who liked to dress up food so much and be a chef…that she cooked the chicken only 80 degrees so it looked good…I know it is pre-cooked, but YIKES!

tomas on January 5, 2014 at 8:19 AM

If childhood obesity is such a huge problem, and the fix was to control the amount of food the kiddies eat, what other fixes will there be to perceived problems that Americans have? Fixing things for our own good will never stop as long as we have an out of control govt.

Kissmygrits on January 5, 2014 at 8:29 AM

If schools want to keep students from getting fat, they need to make them run around for a couple of hours a day.

Count to 10 on January 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 5, 2014 at 1:52 AM

You probably can’t fix obesity by global calorie limits, because some kids are so active that they would starve on a calorie intake that would make some other kids gain weight.

Count to 10 on January 5, 2014 at 8:57 AM

I don’t understand how anyone with half a brain could conceive that eating just two slices of bread – IN A WEEK – is too much.

That’s moronic.

deadrody on January 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM

So the government modified the rules governng the lunch programs at schools Big deal, ithese kids should be bringing their own meals, its ridiculous that schools provide this in the first place

snoopicus on January 5, 2014 at 9:54 AM

“If you’re worried about obesity, bring back recess and dump diversity classes and other propaganda.”

There ya go!

jatfla on January 5, 2014 at 10:03 AM

And in the same vein…. water conserving toilets you have to flush multiple times, and of course…… incandescent 60W bulbs. What is on the minds of those absolute morons in DC? Certainly not representation of their constituents!

ultracon on January 5, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Wow, a government agency admits it’s wrong?

PattyJ on January 4, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Smells more like a desperate attempt to avoid being totally ignored and/or shut down. If an agency is totally ignored, people start to question why it is funded.

landlines on January 6, 2014 at 2:53 PM