Not a week goes by when some American community isn’t outraged over the massive federal intervention into what American schoolchildren must now eat in public school cafeterias.
This week’s fury has occurred in Chickasha, Okla., a small town about 40 miles from Oklahoma City.
Specifically, the issue is a meal — such as the food served fits that dictionary definition — served by the school district, reports local Fox affiliate KOKH-TV.
The meal, called a “Munchable,” consists of some sad lunch meat, a slice of cheese, two hunks of cauliflower and two packages of those crackers that restaurants throw in your takeout bag for free.
The taxpayer-funded schools in Chickasha serve up this “Munchable” meal every other week thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that has long been a signature issue for first lady Michelle Obama.
A student, Kaytlin Shelton, snapped a photo of the $3 “Munchable” meal on Monday. Upon seeing it, her family members were furious — not least because Shelton, 17, is pregnant.
“It makes me want to take that and take it to the superintendent and tell him to eat it for lunch,” she told KOKH.
School district officials noted that cafeterias offer a few other food options on the day when the “Munchable” meal is served. Those options include beans, pears and milk.
Superintendent David Cash did admit that the “Munchable” meal is insufficient.
“You’ve got in some cases little kids that there are only two meals are breakfast and lunch at school and they’re getting, you know, a grand total of 1100 calories. That’s not enough,” Cash told the station.
At the same time, Cash blamed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a complex body of meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture. Under the regulations, participating schools take federal money but must stringently limit the amount of sugar, fat and sodium in every morsel of food sold at schools. Also, in what presumably falls outside the hunger-free aspect of the act, there are calorie caps.
Students can only have one serving of meat or other protein. However, rich kids can buy a second portion each day on their own dime. On “Munchable” day in Chickasha, that presumably means a second chunk of pinkish lunch meat.
On the plus side, students can eat as many fruits and vegetables as they want.
A state education official, assistant superintendent for child nutrition Joanie Hildenbrand, said there is widespread frustration with the calorie caps.
“These regulations were put into effect two years ago and were still struggling with them,” she told the Fox affiliate.
Cash, the local superintendent, said kids are going hungry at school.
“I know they are,” he told KOKH. “There is no doubt about that. My own kid comes home and the first thing he does is raid the refrigerator.”
The superintendent indicated that school officials will now reconsider the biweekly “Munchable” meal in local school cafeterias.
An eruption of aggravation about American schoolchildren can eat in school cafeterias is never far away in the Obama era, however, and the healthy school lunches touted by Michelle Obama have not been popular. (RELATED: Kentucky Students To First Lady Michelle Obama: Your Food ‘Tastes Like Vomit’)
Some school districts — particularly wealthier ones — have opted out of the healthy-lunch regime and the federal dollars that come with it.
In other news, Obama admitted last week that she wears Spanx. “We all wear them,” the first lady swore during a speech to students and fashion moguls at a White House fashion education event. (RELATED: Michelle Obama Admits She Wears Spanx And Thinks Everybody Else Does, Too)