American Students Reject Healthy School Food
School authorities in the US are disappointed by students’ response to the introduction of healthy food in schools. This has forced them to revise the menu. The healthy food campaign was launched to combat the epidemic of obesity and other problems like diabetes.
One school featured fresh pears, tostada salad and black bean burgers among other healthy food items. But, students responded with disdain and went back to eating junk food and soda. In fact, some students say they have started eating more junk food after the launch of the healthy fare. Some schools in the US got rid of nachos, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, strawberry and chocolate milk and other foods rich in sodium, sugar and fat. Instead, the menu featured healthy alternatives like pad Thai noodles, quinoa salads and vegetarian curries.
Students Reject Healthy Food
But, students have rejected this healthy fare en masse. Thousands of students have withdrawn from school lunch programs. There is massive waste with students throwing away uneaten entrees and milk cartons. Many students go hungry instead of eating lunch and hence suffer from anemia, stomach pain and headache. In many schools, a thriving underground market has erupted for taboo fare like burgers, candy and chips.
Healthier and Tastier
School authorities have taken note of the rejection of healthy foods. They have revised the menu and will now offer hamburgers daily. Exotic healthy dishes like brown rice cutlets, quinoa salads, pad Thai, vegetable curry and beef jambalaya are out. A healthier pizza with whole wheat crust, low-sodium sauce and low-fat cheese will be available. School authorities say they wish to listen to the students and respond accordingly.
More Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
In Los Angeles schools, sodas were banned on campus in 2004. School authorities are paying heed to government guidelines which mandate vegetables and fruits in lunches. L.A. schools have eliminated frozen and canned vegetables and fruits, and last year bought fresh produce for $20 million, up from $2 million in 2006. Students have not rejected all the healthy foods. Vegetarian tamales and salads have become popular.
Bad Quality Food
Students say the food available at school is soggy, hard, burned or watery. They are turned off by the lack of quality in the so-called healthy fare. Many students have complained about hard rice, undercooked meat and moldy noodles. They compare school food to “dog food”. In one school, students rejected new dishes like Caribbean meatballs, jambalaya and plain milk. Many students say some of the healthy dishes are “weird” and long for familiar comfort food. School authorities have promised to pay heed to these complaints and introduce better quality healthy food. But, they aver that at no cost will they return to the bad old days of deep-fried corn dogs, nachos and chocolate milk.