Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Congressman Huelskamp criticizes new school lunch standards; USDA says requirements are healthier

September 11, 2012


— U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, on Tuesday blamed the Obama administration for "leaving kids hungry" with new school lunch standards. But the federal government says the standards are producing healthier meals.

The standards, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, are designed to "raise a healthier generation of children," according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

"That's really what this is all about," Mrs. Obama said earlier this month in a school message to students. "It's about ensuring that all of you have everything you need to learn and grow and succeed in school and in life," she said.

According to the USDA, the changes that took effect this school year ensure students are offered both fruits and vegetables each school day; increase whole grain foods; offer only fat-free or low-fat milk; limit calories based on the age of children being served; and increase focus on reducing saturated fats, trans fats and sodium.

Huelskamp, however, said when traveling through his district he has heard complaints from many Kansas parents about the school lunches.

“Parents who purchase school lunches for their children or taxpayers who support free- and reduced- lunch programs have the expectation that what kids eat are meals – not mere snacks," he said.

On the USDA website, the agency gives examples of the changes made under the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. For example, under the old system, an elementary school lunch would have had cheese pizza, canned pineapple, tater tots with ketchup and low-fat chocolate milk. Under the new system, the lunch would include whole wheat cheese pizza, baked sweet potato fries, grape tomatoes, applesauce, low-fat milk and low-fat ranch dip.

The new requirements raised standards for the first time in 15 years and will affect nearly 32 million students who participate in school meal programs, the USDA said.


formerfarmer 5 years, 9 months ago

"The new requirements raised standards for the first time in 15 years and will affect nearly 32 million students who participate in school meal programs, the USDA said."

They are right. More kids than ever are bringing their own lunch to school because the hot lunches are so skimpy.

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

Or maybe they're bagging them because the hot lunches are expensive. Or their kids have allergies. But do go on with the post hoc.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

Have you actually been to school and seen the kids' lunches? Or are you just guessing?

Look at this month's elementary school lunch menu and THEN tell us these kids are being starved:

Hooligan_016 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, maybe if the kids ate their fruits and vegetables instead of throwing them away, they probably wouldn't be hungry.

/still won't eat lima beans

Phil Minkin 5 years, 9 months ago

This is from the American Heart Association:

Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.

parrothead8 5 years, 9 months ago

And this from the United Health Foundation:

"There are 640,000 obese adults in Kansas, 229,000 more individuals than 10 years ago. In the past five years, diabetes increased from 6.9 percent to 8.4 percent of the adult population. Now, 179,000 Kansas adults have diabetes."

Wonder where our kids are learning their eating habits?

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 9 months ago

It would not shock me to find out that the schools are skimming off some of the food money and putting it into a general fund. This might be one of the reasons the food is so bad and portions are so small.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

Where do you come up with this speculation?

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 9 months ago

"It would not shock me to find out that the schools are skimming off some of the food money and putting it into a general fund. This might be one of the reasons the food is so bad and portions are so small."

So why don't you go to your district and ask to see the books? It's open records. I think you'll find that pretty much every district in the state has to add money from the general fund to the food service funds. No way do federal monies or money collected from parents pay for the program.

olddognewtrix 5 years, 9 months ago

Huelskamp is a partisan fool.Kansas should be ashamed he represents the state.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

No. We should be ashamed he represents this state...

Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler you portray yourself as dumb!

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 9 months ago

Kids don't eat the foods provided at school because for many of them, they have never eaten the good foods like fruits and veggies at home. How many parents even cook for their kids anymore? Many that I know fend for themselves.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 9 months ago

Very much agreed. lot of people hate Jamie Oliver, but he does make some valid points regarding school lunches and how we are not teaching our kids various foods and how to eat.

What did you have at home for dinner? -chicken nuggets ... Well, what did you have for lunch at school? -chicken nuggets


Tbird1 5 years, 9 months ago

I have sat at the lunch table with my 5yr old and you are right, kids dont eat. They are used to fending for themselves that often lead to candy and soda. We have a healthy main course and vegetables every single night. He also has milk every single night. He makes the right choices when going through the lunch line because he has been raised to enjoy real food. I find the meals at the school adequate if your child knows how to eat properly.

asixbury 5 years, 9 months ago

The amount of food sounds plenty--just as many sides and options as before. The options are just healthy now. Why is this a problem? Oh yeah, Americans love to be overweight and unhealthy, judging by ridiculous concerns raised in the report above.

question4u 5 years, 9 months ago

This guy actually wants to go on record as advocating less healthy school lunches? is there anyone in the world who thinks that Huelsenkamp knows more about nutrition than the United States Department of Agriculture?

You'd think that at some point the people of Kansas would recognize the intellectual limitations of the politicians that they've endorsed.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

He merely wants to go on the record as opposing any measure put forward by Obama-- particularly those measures that might hurt the vested interests in big Ag who supply the crappy food being displaced.

tolawdjk 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm guessing portion control has something to do with it as well.

People eat until they are "full" without understanding that many times "full" is too many calories, or made up with empty calorie fillers. If the meal isn't on a plate as big as your head its a "snack".

CheneyHawk 5 years, 9 months ago

Our HS senior is 6'2" and is now coming home for lunch - simply not enough food. It's not a question of quality or healthiness, just quantity. Our middle son is a HS Fr and is 5'11". One is in FB, the other XC and simply can't get enough energy from lunch to get through the school day plus activities. Hopefully, there will be some common sense and middle ground to get this fixed. Keep it healthy, just be realistic on the amounts.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 9 months ago

My 12 year old is 6"1' and 175 lbs. He has enough to eat at his middle school.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

And just what does he eat at home? And what is he offered at school?

And, more important, have you actually gone to the school and talked with them?

Danielle Brunin 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't they offer seconds at school? When I was in high school not so long ago, the athletes loaded up on seconds and thirds, and it was encouraged so that nothing went to waste. Is it a time issue, or do they not have food left over? I went to a small school so things may have been different there.

asixbury 5 years, 9 months ago

Your sons could always bring snacks to school, like many students do. Eat the snacks during passing periods between classes. That should tide them over to the next meal.

roadrunner 5 years, 9 months ago

OMG people! Its all about portions!!! We are WAY to used to gigantic portions that have contributed to the obesity epidemic along with the diabetic cherry on too of it!! And honestly, my kid goes to HS here and he can get 6 main dishes if he chooses to. No one tells him he can't have three sides or 12 desserts. So, at least at the HS level, the story about the big kid going hungry is just his own fault. But of course... Obama is a socialist who is FORCING people to eat their small portion of vegetables.... What a bunch whiners!

Phillbert 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, get the government out of our public school lunches!

And out of Medicare, too!

chootspa 5 years, 9 months ago

And out of the business of hiring football coaches.

Glenn Reed 5 years, 9 months ago

You need to reread what you posted here. You're arguing for "big brother big government crap" while calling it "big brother big government crap."

The fact that public schools even exist is "big brother big government crap." The fact that they offer lunches is more "big brother big government crap." Assuming that you're in the schools every day in a professional capacity, your salary is "big brother big government crap."

That being said, most folks would be able to get around this particular piece of "big brother big government crap." They can bring a lunch. They can buy two lunches. They can supplement their lunch with a jar of frosting from home.

Now, there are people who are bound by this "big brother big government crap." Specifically, these are the children who are enrolled in the free meals programs. I don't think they'd be allowed more than one lunch under the program, but I'm not certain.

Tell me, under what capacity are you in the schools every day?

asixbury 5 years, 9 months ago

I was in the free meals program, and my school allowed me to get seconds when they were available. You only got seconds if there was food leftover after everyone had gone through. This probably isn't an option at bigger schools, though. My school was relatively small-about 300 students in high school.

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

This echos what my children are saying. They are hungry.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

And do they actually eat all their food? Or throw things the vegetables. Or not bother with the all-you-can-eat salad bar? And I'm not talking about their telling you "yes, I ate everything".

And have you actually asked what your school's policy is on seconds and having more than one item?

You can go to your kids' school during lunch without sitting with them and actually see what they eat and throw away. Or have a friend do it for you. It's astonishing how much food kids don't even try. And, the truth is, if they were really hungry, they'd eat all the food on their tray.

Sounds more like your kids are simply wanting an afterschool snack...which is perfectly normal...and you're assuming they don't get enough to eat at school.

evera 5 years, 9 months ago

My son does eat everything I have seen it, he loves fruits and vegies and still comes home hungry. Not after school snack hungry like he could eat an entire meal hungry. 12 yrs old . normal height and weight range

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

That's the age at which he will establish his eating habits. He really shouldn't eat more than his size, growth rate and activity level warrant, even if he thinks he's hungry. Allowing him to overeat now may follow him for the rest of his life.

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

Uh...have you actually checked to make sure they can't take more than one helping? Because all my grandkids' Kansas schools allow that.

fan4kufootball 5 years, 9 months ago

From what I hear from people is that the lunch is really weird as well- like the vegetable and/or fruit served doesnt even compliment the main entree.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 9 months ago

So, the vegetables and fruits and dissing the entree? Put the fruits in a blender and tell the vegetables they are next. That will stop that! Sorry, couldn't help it!

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

Look at the school menus - they are posted online, you know.- rather than believing what someone else says is "weird".

I mean "the vegetables and fruit served don't even complement the main entree"??? Good grief!! It's a school lunch. Exactly what fruit or vegetable do YOU think complements a frickin' chili dog? Or a cheese pizza??? That's just an excuse...and a pretty poor one at that.

bad_dog 5 years, 9 months ago

OK, you didn't buy the first excuse.

How about the fruit & veggies aren't color coordinated with the main entree, or they clash with the school colors?

kernal 5 years, 9 months ago

I suspect some of the kids who are complaining about skimpy lunches are skipping breakfast and expect lunch to cover both meals.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

I went to school with my granddaughter the other day and the lunch was wonderful. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetable. Granted, if the parents just feed their kids high processed foods and junk food then, yeah, the kids are going to go hungry. Fortunately my granddaughter is use to real food.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 9 months ago

I always cooked food for scratch for my daughter and granddaughter and they helped from a very young age, using blunt school scissors to cut lettuce into pieces for the salad. They loved helping make bread from scratch and over time we made twelve different kings. The really cool thing though is they still cook that way in their homes. Their friends would not eat what I cooked when they were invited over because everything looked strange to them, and everyone knows that cheese is supposed to be bright orange. Well, the sour dough bread that I am so proud of, since I use recipes from the Alaska gold strike times, got me in hot water with SRS because someone called them and said I was poisoning my child! They sent someone over to investigate and the woman laughed when I explained it to her. I gave her a loaf of fresh baked bread, just happened to have some them. She shared it with her co-workers and they loved it. The woman who complained was furious. She simply had never heard of sour dough bread, and it was the word sour that she was relating to. I have heard women on food stamps, and I am glad they got them, but not the way they used them, state that it was insulting and degrading to expect them to cook, because it was beneath them. I don't think you are going to change that attitude anytime soon. I wonder how many middle class women feel the same way? I do know that many men are excellent cooks and excellent fathers who are very happy when they cook something for their children and they love it. I have seen it happen. This is like the Middle East, it is not going to be solved any time soon.

kernal 5 years, 9 months ago

Anyone who thinks it is degrading to cook doesn't have a firm grip on reality. Even all of the 1% don't have full time cooks. Jeesh!

Danielle Brunin 5 years, 9 months ago

Sour dough recipe, please. I love a good sour dough! :)

Kendall Simmons 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm just glad my husband loves to cook :-)

Love the sour dough bread/poisoning story, by the way!!

Katara 5 years, 9 months ago

I think a lot of the kids think they are hungry still because they are so rushed during lunch period. There is just not enough time for the kids to sit down and eat a well balanced meal.

I remember reading a long time ago that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send the signal to your brain that it is full (I don't remember the reason why - sorry) but when the entire lunch period is 20 minutes long and a child has to wait in line 5-10 minutes to get their lunch/or milk, it doesn't allow the body enough time to send the full signal.

Kids rush and gulp down their food because that is the only way to finish their food in that short period of time and when you do that, overeating happens.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

Good point but under current regulations if they extend lunch the school day would be longer.

Phillbert 5 years, 9 months ago

When Tim Huelskamp was in school his only meal was a block of government cheese the size of his head. He also walked downhill both ways, because no socialist government bureaucrat was going to tell him to walk uphill and get more exercise.

Bob Harvey 5 years, 9 months ago

Now that was a thoughtful and well stated comment. sigh

mom_of_three 5 years, 9 months ago

Let's face it. Some kids in high school have bigger appetite than others. So they just need to purchase more or bring more. but I am glad its getting healthier.

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 9 months ago

Have the kids start photographing the food and compare it with food served at school in other parts of the world.

Click on my blog:

I personally am very glad that it's more healthy.

I do think, though, that many kids don't spend enough time eating well, as Katara points out. Adults have the same problem - we rush through food to get to the television set, or whatever comes next.

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

Cutting the same crappy pizza slice in half and saying you made it more healthy is nuts. In Lawrence our kids are fed the very bottom level of quality food, from the freezer to the table, and as Autie captured above, 12 minutes to eat.

repaste 5 years, 9 months ago

Anyone here have any info on Ottawa Ks school lunches? I've heard they have made some popular changes?

somedude20 5 years, 9 months ago

Fat parents seem to have a better chance of creating fat kids. Fat Republicans love to hate Obama (the kind of fat chaps that stay at the Olive Garden for 3 hours to get their all-you-can-eat money's worth) and Chunk loves cheese whiz and Twinkies. Happy Chunk Day!

Tracy Rogers 5 years, 9 months ago

How much do you pay for your kid's lunch? Probably about $2.50 or so I'd guess. Go to a restaurant and see what you can get for $2.50.

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