From an editorial Monday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
The challenge for the nation’s school lunch program is not unlike that of the parent of a picky eater: Creating a healthy, balanced meal is just half the trick. The other is getting the child to eat it.
Since healthier standards were put in place for school meals in 2012, more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains have been features of the breakfasts and lunches that reach 31 million students in 100,000 schools every day.
First lady Michelle Obama, who led the effort to put healthier meals on cafeteria tables, had good intentions, and changes were necessary, given the size of the nation’s waistline.
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But the U.S. Agriculture Department’s ambitions were bigger than the children’s stomachs. It turned out that too many of them were put off by the new menu and were throwing away too much food. Sometimes parents have to give a little, and we now agree that’s true of the school lunch program, too.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved a sensible, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the school meals program for another five years but scale back some of the regulations.
The Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016 now goes to the Senate, where it deserves to pass.