By Steve Gunn
MUKWONAGO, Wis. – Michelle Obama and the federal government have altered the federally-funded school lunch menu to make sure students don’t ingest too many calories over the course of the day.
But many students at Mukwonago (Wisconsin) High School say the new menu leaves them feeling hungry. They say a “once-size-fits-all” menu doesn’t fit them very well at all.
On Monday, 70 percent of the 830 students boycotted cafeteria food to register their displeasure. About half of all middle school students did the same thing.
“A freshman girl who weights 100 pounds can eat this lunch and feel completely full, maybe even a little bloated,” Joey Bougneit, a Mukwonago senior, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
But not all students weigh 100 pounds.
Nick Blohm, a 6-3, 210 pound linebacker on the varsity football team, said there’s less chance of students doing well academically if they’re sitting in class thinking about their hunger pains.
“I’ve already told my mom we might be packing my lunch for the rest of the year,” Blohm said.
Clay Iverson, the school’s varsity football coach, worries that hungry kids will run home and binge on all sorts of unhealthy foods, undoing any benefits of the lighter lunch.
Pam Harris, the school district’s food service supervisor and a registered dietician, agreed that student diets at home have a greater impact than what they eat at school.
“I want to solve the problem,” Harris told the Journal Sentinel. “But limiting calories in school lunch is not going to help the overweight kid. What happens at home is a major piece of that puzzle.”
Harris handed out comment cards to students, so they can express their views about the new menu. She plans to send them to the United States Department of Agriculture, in the hope that the government will allow schools to gradually introduce the lighter menus.
Nobody here at EAGnews is a registered dietician. But we are familiar with teenagers and we know they tend to eat more than the average person because they are going through a rapid period of physical growth.
We also know that many teens, like many of their parents, tend to skip breakfast during the morning rush. That makes a satisfactory lunch even more important.
Blohm has a very good point. Kids who are thinking about their stomachs are not going to concentrate as much as they should on their math problems or English assignment.
Instead of serving skimpy lunches at school, Mrs. Obama and the government should work harder to encourage kids to go outside and move around, so they are burning calories rather than sitting in front of a video game eating potato chips for hours at a time.
You can’t starve kids into fitness, Mrs. Obama. If you persist in that approach, they are simply going to bring super fat lunches from home and ignore your healthy choices menu in the school lunchroom.
Three cheers for the kids of Mukwonago for standing up for their stomachs.