Ever since early 2010, America has embraced a fit culture. Growing up, many students can recollect the Play60 posters plastered from wall to door. Athletes beamed down, asking all “Got Milk?” and, most infamously, students have learned to resent the school lunch programs that ripped cheeseburgers from hungry student hands. In reality, this program has done much more to help student nutrition than at first glance
In 2020, Donald Trump pulled the nutrition plan put in place by the Obama Administration. This lowered the requirements for school lunches to reach healthier standards. Nutrient values aside, the effects on students are far more significant.
First of all, it is important to dismiss the fact that these nutritional programs are out to replace every slightly unhealthy meal. In reality, these programs seek to provide an additional option to the lunch roster. This is why we have seen hamburgers and nachos alongside salads and chicken breast sandwiches. They are simply there to provide healthier choices. The reason these options are in danger is because these programs require funding. As schools become more cost effective, they may not continue to put money into these areas.
The previous lunch plan did not look to restrict anyone’s rights to food. It merely worked to integrate better nutrition. Proponents of the repeal may state that students were not satisfied with the taste of certain foods and preferred other options that were notably less healthy. However, we cannot base the entire argument on this fact. By taste, a Whopper is far more favorable than a plain chicken breast, but we do not encourage eating Burger King every single day. We understand how balanced nutrition is essential to our health; we learned this as children. Some things are less tasty but important to a balanced diet. Integrating whole grains and less fat into school lunches is for the greater good of public health, as taught in our own health classes.
Perhaps most significant is the effect on free or reduced lunch students. For some, school lunch is the only meal they receive. Lower income families often rely on fast food to fit their budgets, and the school can be the only source of healthy, balanced nutrition.
The repeal of required healthy lunches does not have to mean the end of decent meals. If the school can find it in the budget to keep healthy options, we can keep the only decent meal for some students clean and balanced. It is not about taking away burgers but more about adhering to the most basic ideas of a balanced diet, ideas that we teach each day in our schools.