You can lead a kid to brown rice, but you can’t make him eat. Or maybe you can if you provide an incentive.
That is what’s on the menu at St. Joseph Elementary School in Crescent Springs, Ky., which like so many other schools and districts in the country experienced an attrition in the rate of students buying school lunch after Michelle Obama’s “healthy” nutrition guidelines were implemented in 2012. With schools facing the prospect of replacing burgers with bulgur and fries with farro or losing federal funding, many simply swallowed and switched — which was more than students were willing to do. Administrators in one rural Kentucky county were informed by their human guinea pigs that the food tasted “like vomit.” The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s largest, witnessed the rise of a thriving junk food black market, forcing the food services director to go back to pizza.
Their backs to the wall, the powers that be at St. Joseph hit upon an idea. They added ice cream to the lunch menu as a bribe for kids who were willing to choke down their broccoli. The school’s exasperated principal Cathy Stover sent home a letter to parents reading:
[B]eginning Monday we will be selling ice cream here at school on a regular basis. You may wonder why we are doing this. Last year the school lunch programs in the Catholic Schools in the area were taken over by the diocese. The diocese provides the menus for the month, and while we may switch days around, we must use the specific menus we are given. We must also abide by the nutritional guidelines as provided by the federal government within the last few years. There are less [sic] students who purchase lunch due to some of these guidelines.
The letter went on to note that “the ice cream that we will be serving has reduced fat and low sugar” and gave parents who didn’t want their children indulging in the sweet treat the first right of refusal.
Fox 19 spoke with Gina Sawma, director of food and nutrition for neighboring Fort Thomas Independent Schools, who said she isn’t surprised by the menu change, adding that her school system opted out of the National School Lunch Program at the beginning of the school year. “The students were not liking the food,” said explained, adding that 10,000 fewer lunches were served the year the new guidelines took effect.
(h/t Kyle Olson, EAGNews)
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