Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Are LAUSD's Healthy School Lunches At Risk Of Being Cut?

Photo by mosespreciado on Flickr
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Federal officials are saying that some schools are dropping out of the $11 billion National School Lunch Program, which offered reimbursement to schools for meals served and gives them access to lower-priced food, so long as it complied with their healthy meal agenda. The new menus were supposed to increase the availability of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and low-fat milk, and set limits on the levels of calories and saturated fat in foods.

Many schools are staying on board because the funding offered by the program outweighs the waste of food that the kids simply aren't eating. LAUSD seems pretty committed to the idea, especially with the launch of their Meatless Monday options.

Says the AP:

The School Nutrition Association found that 1 percent of 521 district nutrition directors surveyed over the summer planned to drop out of the program in the 2013-14 school year and about 3 percent were considering the move. Not every district can afford to quit. The National School Lunch Program provides cash reimbursements for each meal served: about $2.50 to $3 for free and reduced-priced meals and about 30 cents for full-price meals. That takes the option of quitting off the table for schools with large numbers of poor youngsters.

As we've seen here at LAUSD schools, the new health-focused foods aren't always popular with the kids. Jamie OIiver tried to revamp the menus and s
Support for LAist comes from
truggled big time. Many students bring in junk food contraband from home or sneak it in from local convenience stores. LAUSD's student stores, which sell Goldfish and sugary cereals,are thriving after the menu changes. And pizza is still considered a vegetable.

The National School Lunch Program has only been around for a year though. Is that enough time to allow for the shift kids' palates need to make a change? They are used to having a taste for flavored milkand other calorie- and sugar-laden foods. And is changing one meal a day enough to eradicate problems like childhood obesity?

It's certainly a good start, but there are two other meals a day that should be addressed. That's going to take a huge shift in our food system as a whole, providing our country's citizens with access to good, clean food at every meal, not just at school.