TODAY: Kids lament new lunch guidelines in video

27 09 2012

My mom was a school cook. Back in the day, when I was an elementary and middle school student, the nutritional guidelines were a lot different. As I recall, the emphasis at the time was making sure that kids got enough to eat. There was even a mention in there about high calorie foods, because there was genuine concern that kids weren’t getting much — if anything — to eat at home.

There were a lot less “heat-to-serve” prepared foods, too. That’s not to say that everything was made from scratch; there were plenty of entrees of the corn dog and frozen pizza variety, but there were also a good number of options that required an actual recipe. And that meant that calorie counts were less exact, and foods could be prepared and seasoned with an extra dab of butter or sprinkling of salt. Essentially, they were probably a lot less “healthy” by today’s standards… but they sure tasted a lot better and contained fewer preservatives.

The guidelines have changed over the years, and there has been an emphasis on keeping costs down while providing foods that kids will eat. I’m sure that portion control is better and calorie counts are more accurate, but it’s also lead to a lot of chicken nugget and sausage-on-a-stick at the expense of anything that requires an adult to say, “Try it! You’ll like it!”

Frankly, I think the problems that have lead to a third of all elementary school kids being obese have more to do with what’s happening at home than what they’re being served at school. After all, the guidelines have become more stringent over the past 30 years, and the kids have kept getting fatter. Maybe, just maybe, it has something to do with what they’re being fed at home (I’m guessing more heat-to-serve chicken nuggets and frozen pizza) and the fact that the kid spends all his time in front of the XBox instead of outside tossing or kicking a ball around.

Meanwhile, a group of high school students have put together a music video to protest the new nutritional guidelines that they say are leaving them feeling tired and without energy just a few hours after lunch. They say they’re still hungry, and need more calories for their developing bodies. I’d suggest going back for seconds when possible, maybe bring a snack to munch between classes, or if worse comes to worse, pack your own lunch. Then again, I sympathize with them a bit. Sometimes the food they’re serving just sucks, and you don’t have any other choice. I guess when that happens, you have no other choice than to film a protest video…

– dEV

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‘We are hungry’: Kids lament new lunch guidelines in video

Not even a month has passed since new federal guidelines mandating healthy school lunches went into effect, and already there’s been pushback from students who insist that the healthier, scaled-down meals don’t provide enough calories to power them through the afternoon.

Student athletes, in particular, say that the new 850-calorie limit leaves them famished and too tired to make it through sports team practices.

“We would notice a drop in energy around 1 to 2, so we would get hungry right again,” Callahan Grund, a junior at Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs, Kansas, told TODAY. “In the past that hasn’t happened as much.”

To make their point, students at Wallace County High, along with their English teacher, crafted a music video parody dubbed “We are Hungry” that laments the lower-calorie lunches to the tune of “We Are Young.” That video has gone viral, with more than 250,000 views since it was posted on Sept. 17.

The spoof video shows a volleyball player collapsing to the gym floor to the words “You go to practice and you feel like falling down.” Another scene shows kids crowding around the snack counter at a grocery store while the singer mourns, “My friends are at the corner store getting junk so they don’t waste away.”

Linda O’Connor, the teacher who put new words to the old tune, explained her motivation. “From day one when the students went through the line, they literally looked at their plates incredulously,” O’Connor told TODAY. “Like, ‘Is this really what we’re being served?’ It was the lack of protein and the entrée that really hit hard for them.”

The new guidelines were put in place to help combat the nation’s growing obesity epidemic: Currently nearly one in three teens qualifies as obese. The guidelines are supported by first lady Michelle Obama.

“We’re talking about getting kids running around and playing again,” the first lady said. “It is important to understand that this isn’t just about fun and games. This isn’t a joke. It’s about their health.”

Along with a minimum/maximum number of calories that is tied to the age of the students, the guidelines also mandate that milk must be nonfat or low-fat; that there should one cup each of fruit and vegetables each day; and that there must be 2 oz. of protein and 2 oz. of grains per day.

This is the first major overhaul by the government in school lunch guidelines in 15 years. In a statement, Kevin Concannon, Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, said: “The amount of food on a kid’s plate is not much different than in years past – it is simply healthier. The new standards were developed using the latest science at the Institute of Medicine, which determined the appropriate amount of calories. Under these new standards, schools have the option to give students who need additional calories more servings of fruit and vegetables and low-fat milk.”

The biggest change in the school lunch guidelines isn’t the number of calories but rather the foods that go into those calories, said Anne Condon-Meyers, a pediatric dietitian at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The size of the protein portion has gone down, while the amount of fruits and vegetables has been boosted, Condon-Meyers said. And while kids may be used to a bigger serving of protein, they don’t really need it.

(Full Story with Video)|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/2012/09/10/nbc-news-comics-go-beyond-the-higgs-boson/&__utmv=14933801.|8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7Ccover=1^12=Landing%20Content=Mixed=1^^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20Mixed=1&__utmk=188789291




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