Just in time for the start of school, the Associated Press reports that schools have been dropping out of the $11 billion National School Lunch Program, which increased “the availability of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in the school menu,” according to the program’s fact sheet. The national lunch program gave school districts reimbursements for each meal that fit its guidelines.
“Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn’t eat,” Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis told the AP. He said his school district saw a 10-12% drop in lunch sales, translating to $30,000 lost under the program last year.
The new guidelines set limits on calories and salt, phase in more whole grains and require that fruit and vegetables be served daily. A typical elementary school meal under the program consisted of whole-wheat cheese pizza, baked sweet potato fries, grape tomatoes with low-fat ranch dip, applesauce and 1 percent milk.
The AP reports that 1% of the nation’s districts had plans to drop out of the federal program, and a further 3% were considering it due to costs and complications with implementation. Continue reading