To the Editor:
As I read the article about the changes in the school lunch program, I am concerned about the nutritional makeup of the meals. I applaud the additional emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. What I don't applaud is the amount of protein our children will be receiving. No protein or meat is allowed at breakfast and only 1 ounce of protein for elementary students. And the range for high school is 10-12 ounces, which is about 2 ounces of protein per day at lunch for high school students.
We all know a hungry stomach affects a child's learning capabilities. I can't even imagine how high school athletes will get through the day with only 2 ounces of meat at lunch. Protein feeds the brain and body.
I understand the schools have no choice in making any changes to the school lunch program if the school wants to participate in the free and reduced lunch program. I am not a dietician, but I would like to see more choices for our students and also more oversight options for the local school boards on school lunches. A one-size-fits-all approach just doesn't work.
So what are the options: Families can purchase their students two meals if they can afford it but unfortunately there are many families that cannot. In many cases, this may be the child's main meal of the day. We must be sensitive to this as it is of no fault of the student. Another option is to have students bring their own lunches so they do have enough to eat. But again, this option doesn't work for everyone. To be honest, I think you may have a number of students with food stashes in their lockers.
I hope I am wrong on this matter but the meat guidelines are just too low. I don't have children in the school system any more but I have a grandchild who is starting school this fall and I am concerned for her.
Changes can occur but there needs to be a grassroots effort to let our federal legislators know this is not acceptable.