[Ed. – You can lead a horse to water…]
New federal guidelines requiring healthier school lunches have made headlines in recent years, but that doesn’t mean kids are eating them up.
In fact, a study conducted soon after the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act went into effect found what many parents suspected: a lot of school children were taking the required fruits and vegetables and throwing them directly into the trash.
The small study, published online Tuesday in Public Health Reports, comes about a month before Congress is scheduled to vote on whether to reauthorize the program.
Researchers from the University of Vermont used digital photography to capture images of students’ lunch trays after they selected their food, as they were leaving the lunch line, and again at the end of their lunch as they passed the food disposal area. They found that while children placed more fruits and vegetables on their trays – as required by the USDA mandates put in place in 2012 – they consumed fewer of them. The amount of food wasted increased by 56 percent, the researchers found.