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LA Schools Reject Michelle’s School Lunches

From an unfazed Los Angeles Times:

L.A. schools’ healthful lunch menu panned by students

For many students, Los Angeles Unified’s introduction of healthful lunches — part of a campaign against obesity, diabetes and other problems — has been a flop. The district says the menu will be revised.

By Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2011

It’s lunchtime at Van Nuys High School and students stream into the cafeteria to check out the day’s fare: black bean burgers, tostada salad, fresh pears and other items on a new healthful menu introduced this year by the Los Angeles Unified School District.

But Iraides Renteria and Mayra Gutierrez don’t even bother to line up. Iraides said the school food previously made her throw up, and Mayra calls it "nasty, rotty stuff." So what do they eat? The juniors pull three bags of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and soda from their backpacks.

"This is our daily lunch," Iraides says. "We’re eating more junk food now than last year."

For many students, L.A. Unified’s trailblazing introduction of healthful school lunches has been a flop. Earlier this year, the district got rid of chocolate and strawberry milk, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, nachos and other food high in fat, sugar and sodium. Instead, district chefs concocted such healthful alternatives as vegetarian curries and tamales, quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles.

There’s just one problem: Many of the meals are being rejected en masse. Participation in the school lunch program has dropped by thousands of students. Principals report massive waste, with unopened milk cartons and uneaten entrees being thrown away. Students are ditching lunch, and some say they’re suffering from headaches, stomach pains and even anemia. At many campuses, an underground market for chips, candy, fast-food burgers and other taboo fare is thriving.

Naturally, there is only one thing to do. They must ban packed lunches and strip search students before they enter the cafeteria to make sure they are not carrying any contraband substances, like Cheetos.

Acknowledging the complaints, L.A. Unified’s food services director, Dennis Barrett, announced this month that the menu would be revised. Hamburgers will be offered daily. Some of the more exotic dishes are out, including the beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets, and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads

The district is even bringing back pizza — albeit with a whole wheat crust, low-fat cheese and low-sodium sauce, according to food services deputy director David Binkle…

The new menu, introduced this fall, was hailed as a revolutionary step by the nation’s second-largest school district to combat the growing epidemic of youth obesity, diabetes and other health problems. It was the latest healthful food initiative by the district, which banned sodas on campus in 2004, nixed the sale of junk food during the school day and called for more produce and less salt and fat to be served.

This year, L.A. Unified, which serves 650,000 meals daily, has received awards for improving its school lunches, including one last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and another from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Michelle Obama’s group, the Healthier US Schools Challenge, also gave these schools awards.

But isn’t it odd how the government rewards incompetence. In fact, it would seem to be the rule rather than the exception.

The new menus are in line with the federal government’s updated dietary guidelines, which recommend, for instance, that fruits and vegetables make up half the plate. L.A. Unified has virtually eliminated canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, boosting spending on fresh produce from $2 million in 2006 to $20 million in 2010

School lunch menus are just the beginning. Just wait and see what they do to healthcare.

But … the debut was a "disaster." Participation plunged by more than 13%…

"It’s nasty, nasty," said Andre, a member of InnerCity Struggle, an East L.A. nonprofit working to improve school lunch access and quality. "No matter how healthy it is, if it’s not appetizing, people won’t eat it." …

On campus, even adults — including a Junior ROTC officer and an art teacher — have been found selling black market candy, chips and instant noodles to hungry students, she said.

"I compare it to Prohibition," Vanderbok said.

Van Nuys history teacher Doug Kayne turned the discontent into a class assignment, asking his 11th-grade U.S. history students to write five letters about the food to the mayor, the media and First Lady Michelle Obama

Let’s hope they thank her for foisting all of this on them in the first place. (And that she does not report them to Attack Watch.)

Speaking of Michelle Obama, her involvement in this fiasco was being praised as recently as three months ago, in the school administration magazine, District Administration:

LAUSD Launches Wellness Campaign—Are You "In"?

LAUSD’s "I’m In" campaign promotes healthy lifestyles and invites districts locally and nationwide to join in the effort.

By Marion Herbert
Thu, 09/01/2011

Los Angeles Unified School District kicked off its campaign to promote healthy lifestyles this summer.

School lunch programs have been under a fierce attack since the wellness wave hit the nation with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, says Dennis Barrett, director of food services at Los Angeles Unified School District

Now, after receiving $562,000 from a $32.1 million Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant awarded to Los Angeles County from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year, the district is able to launch its comprehensive "I’m In" campaign, which will promote healthy lifestyles and invite the community and districts locally and nationwide to join in the effort. The campaign is said to be the largest nutritional food campaign put on by a district

David Binkle, LAUSD’s deputy director of food services, describes "I’m In" as a "character-building campaign" by promoting healthy lifestyles and engaging families and communities. According to Binkle, the district is hoping to capture the attention of districts nationwide.

Well, they have done that — with their massive failure.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, December 19th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “LA Schools Reject Michelle’s School Lunches”

  1. Petronius

    Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let everybody have the chance to live the kind of life they want.

    It’s called freedom.

    From the “mind yer own bidness” school of conservatism :

    Why do Liberals have to dictate our food, beverages, light bulbs, toilets, cars, gasoline, health care, thoughts, lifestyles, resentments, etc.? Can’t they leave anything alone? Anything?

  2. Astravogel

    I’m familiar with voting with your feet,
    but voting with your tummy is new!
    So….
    Well done, kids, perhaps you can teach
    your elders a thing or two. They want to
    eat crap, go ahead, but leave us out of it.

  3. It’s genious! If you want to stop obesity, feed the kids food they won’t eat. It may not be healthy, but it serves the same purpose. Maybe we can get all kids off the government teat by cramming tofu down their little gullets. This is how you deal with poverty. Eat this crap, or go get a job so you can afford to eat what you want.

    How many of those entrees that were thrown away were free? Increased the spending on fruit from 2 million to 20 million in 4 years? So we’re spending 10 times the amount, while 13% fewer kids are participating at all, and those that are, are throwing away most of their food Government efficiency on parade.

    Too bad we can’t make green fuel out of leftover tofurkey and bean sprout al orange.

  4. beautyofreason

    Ah yes, healthy lunches at school. I remember those.

    “The fat free cheese won’t melt properly” said the cook, gesturing at a vat of lasagna with what looked like rubbery white paste on the top. “So I have to mix it with the low fat slices. ” Suffice to say a lot of students brought their own lunch.

  5. JohnMG

    Why ‘nt y’all jus’ shut up an’ eat yer peas!

  6. proreason

    Thunderbutt warned us that it wouldn’t be easy in the messiah’s regime.

  7. Mithrandir

    New campaign to promote healthy lifestyles—“Are you OUT?”

    In keeping with tradition in requiring schools to promote healthy eating habits, which will reduce the strain on our health systems, avoid preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease, Michele Obama is promoting her new healthy campaign: “Pullin’-out of Homosexuality.”

    The goal is to reduce risky behaviors that result in an unnecessary strain on our health care system, promote healthy habits, and avoid preventable diseases such as: hepatitis, AIDS/HIV, giardiasis, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, rectal cancer, colostomies, “flesh-eating” MRSA bacteria, and many many more…..

    ….such as: pneumonia, E. histolytica, HPV, genital herpes, Kaposi’s sarcoma, Gay bowel syndrome leading to proctitis and lymphogranuloma venereum, amebiasis, rectal prolapse, and Shigellosis.

    In order to not look like a bunch of pandering, vote-getting hypocrites, and to be taken seriously about the public health, all bath houses, and open-air sex festivals, like the Folsom Street Fair, will be shut down immediately.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It is a myth that diet can bring on diabetes. The simple answer is that diabetes is either genetic or a result of damage to the pancreas which prevents the production of insulin. In my own case, my own auto-immune system killed off the platelet cells that produce insulin which do not grow back. Happened in my mid-30’s and tried to kill me. I was completely ignorant of what the symptoms meant.

      But for many years now, I’ve been sick of people telling me all about “my” disease and telling me how I can “cure” it. (Yes, really…”cure” it).

      However, mitigating factors do include post-diagnosis diet, exercise, weight, and general self-care. Out of control diabetes is a bad road that must not be taken.

      There is also type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 2 means that insulin production is insufficient to cope with the amount of sugar in the bloodstream but can usually be managed with diet and exercise. The elderly and people who are significantly overweight are the more common sufferers of Type 2. Type 1 means that the (essentially) the pancreas insulin production has shut down. That’s an insulin-dependent diabetic. That means the person has to check their blood sugar several times a day and monitor their carbohydrate and sugar intake and take injections of insulin or use the latest awesome piece of medical technology that would have never happened under O-dumbass-care, the insulin pump. For many diabetics, it is a marvel and a gift. Freedom from insulin syringes and the ability, in some machines, to constantly monitor blood sugar….a definite plus.

      But a bad diet doesn’t cause diabetes. A bad diet can result in obesity which in turn can lead to type 2. However, I submit that for all the crap I ate as a youngster, I was also very physically active and skinny as a rail…as were 99% of all my friends. Couch-potato-ness was not tolerated. The TV went off and as long as it wasn’t raining, we were outside running around, playing games, getting exercise as kids should do. If it was cold out, we dressed warmly and still went outside and remained active.

      Therefore, in my own narrow-minded universe, I submit that “The Great Fat-Ass in the White House” has it wrong and it’s exercise that kids need. Put down the remote, go to the Y, the Boys or Girls Club, Phys Ed class should BE physical, etc, etc.

      Much has been said about the diet that kids have. Though I will state that it’s not the diet that has been on a downward spiral, it’s PARENTING that has always been the problem. For all the crap I ate as a kid, I still had a balanced breakfast, lunch and dinner menu. Snacks were watched by my mom ( less what she didn’t know about when out of her view) and though cookies and candy bars were there, I’d also get cheese and crackers, nuts, fruit, etc. But anything in excessive quantities is never good. Kids today may actually eat LESS junk than kids previous but they sit at the computer playing games or watching TV or texting one another or what-have-you and getting no exercise. I doubt the “jocks” in school look portly. But even in my day, there were the “jocks” and the “geeks” but even the geeks had plenty to do outside but there were far, far fewer “fat kids”.

      Fall meant cutting firewood and stacking it, raking leaves, trimming brush, etc. For the city kids….I don’t know what it means. But I still submit that it’s the exercise factor more than the diet factor…or perhaps a little of both. In any case, it’s not the government’s job to tell me what to feed or not feed my kids.

  8. P. Aaron

    Moochele’s lunches rejected, in favor of food.

  9. canary

    de je vu. My son’s school no longer requires students to fondle and spread germs on fresh fruit appealing decor baskets and place on their trays which end up filling the trash cans.

    No doubt the school has dug through the trash to recycled the fruit into fruit cocktails that are required to be placed on trays. A fresh fruit is optional.

    My son says nearly everyone he knows buys junk from the overpriced vending machines.
    And providing students only sugar-free soda machines should be outlawed.

    As the students complain of headaches, sick to their stomachs, add violently shaking to those allergic to sugar free substitutes.

    Michelle should have kept it simple and outlawed vending pre-fabricated hot meals & chicken nuggets.

  10. Mithrandir

    BACK FROM THE MEMORY HOLE

    What I said about school lunches April 20, 2010: http://sweetness-light.com/arc.....-kids-diet
    They never cared a lick about the kids in the first place! They have been feeding kids this crap for DECADES!

    It’s all about the food service union, and if the trash cans get filled up with uneaten food? –so what. The union janitors can push it out the door to the union garbage collectors.

    1000s of minority kids show up to school half-starved, do social services ever get involved? No. Social services are there to remove white kids from their families for accidentally not paying for a $5 sandwich while shopping: http://www.khon2.com/mostpopul.....XUcZA.cspx

    Laws are there to keep whites, and Republicans 100% in line, everyone else is given a pass. It’s the Jim Crow laws of the late 20th Century.

    *UPDATE!!: HUZZAH! Minority parents NOT INVESTIGATED FOR CHILD ABUSE!–Government covers for them with free school meals for football team: http://rivals.yahoo.com/highsc.....ol-wp10283

    • canary

      Mithrandair, minority children already get free breakfast, lunch, and now thanks to the Bill Obama with Michelle by her side signed free dinner in public elementary schools. Not sure if all public schools have after school day-care. And then there are food stamps. Perhaps DHS should stand in grocery lines and
      fine overweight parents on food stamps with underweight children.

      And don’t get me started on twice this week watching carts loaded with soda pop no doubt for holiday parties paid with tax free food stamps. And that is the nice version as I’m trying to be a nicer person. Went 10 days with out a single cuss word.


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