The U.S.D.A. presents $3.2 billion plan to make school lunches healthier. But critics claim it’s a mark of nanny-statism.
(Image Source: The White House ) BY NIELS SCHACK NORGAARD ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN The U.S.D.A. has presented its $3.2 billion plan that aims to reduce childhood obesity by making school lunches healthier. The new standards double the amount of fruit and vegetables on lunch plates and reduce calories, trans fat and sodium. It’s part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by First Lady Michelle Obama and was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The new guidelines represent the first major changes to school meals in more than 15 years. “When we send our kids to school, we expect that they won't be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we try to keep them from eating at home.” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is thrilled with the result, writing on his blog : “Today we celebrate an historic achievement on behalf of kids across America. We have accomplished a critical step on the road to deliver healthier, more nutritious food to our nation’s schoolchildren.” But the plan has sparked criticism from conservative bloggers. Erika Johnson, a writer at Townhall.com , blasts the statement the U.S.D.A. published on Wednesday. She claims Michelle Obama and the U.S.D.A. are going overboard trying to intervene in people’s lives. “The ‘latest in nutrition science’! A ‘healthier generation’! ... What could go wrong? I'm sure this program will work out perfectly, at no expense to the taxpayer and with absolutely zero unintended consequences - like, you know, black markets in Cheetos or students trashing their quinoa salad en masse .” And what can kids expect for lunch under this new plan? Well, the U.S.D.A. says an elementary school lunch could be whole wheat spaghetti with meat sauce, a whole wheat roll, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi, low-fat milk, low-fat ranch dip and soft margarine. The plan will be implemented beginning this fall.