LUNCH LADIES, SCHOOL staff, and political partisans were polarized by Obama-era attempts to put healthier fare on school lunch menus. The Trump administration's revision to those rules has received equally mixed reactions from folks on the frontlines of the food fight.
Supporters of the old rules contend that school meals should be nutritious, that the feds know best what this means, and that deviation from federally approved meal plans is just asking for trouble. "When it comes to our children's health, there should be no 'flexibility,'" the American Heart Association responded last December, after Megan Gibbons, executive director of the Illinois School Nutrition Association, told a local paper that changes weren't a rollback but simply offered more "flexibility."
But the Obama-era rules had led to less lunch revenue for schools, more students relying on unhealthy vending-machine snacks for sustenance, more food waste, and other unintended consequences, detractors said.
It doesn't matter how healthy options are if kids won't eat them, and many would not. "Countless parents and more than one million public school students voted with their mouths, leaving the school lunch program in unprecedented droves last year," reported Baylen Linnekin for Reason in 2014.
That was the deadline year for schools to implement some of the changes, which were set forth by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, championed by then first lady Michelle Obama and hashed out by...