August 28th, 2013
12:38 PM ET

Federal School Lunch Program Going Downhill?

A healthy school lunch program from the federal government is causing major problems for schools across the country.

“It just seems that when kids are used to tacos and French fries, giving them whole wheat spaghetti and steamed broccoli just isn't cutting it,” says CNN's Elizabeth Cohen.

“The nation's new healthier school lunches, championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, are packed with more fruits and vegetables, but they're getting a failing grade from some students.”

And schools say this is costing them dearly.

“Several school districts are dropping out of the government-subsidized lunch program after just one year because they say students are rejecting the healthier fare.”

Teresa Thayer Snyder, Superintendent of Voorheesville Central School District in upstate New York, says it became clear it wasn’t cost effective for her district to continue participating in the program. The district says it lost $30,000 dollars in three months.

“The children didn't have options. They had to take what was there, and it's not what they wanted to eat. So frequently they stopped buying lunch from us,” explains Snyder.

Federal health officials say the vast majority of schools are meeting the new guidelines that set limits on calories, salt and fat.

Limits which some kids in the country consider too harsh, many of them opting to bring food from home.

Officials released a statement saying, "We also encourage the very few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the program to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day."

Fewer than one percent of schools indicated that they are dropping out of the program and they say their lunches are healthy.

Snyder says, “We feel we have attracted back many students who had stopped buying lunches and we have many students excited about eating at school.”

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