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School lunch is getting healthier

Hunger Task Force supports students being served healthier lunches.

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK) was passed in 2010 and put into effect at the beginning of this school year. The bill promotes more nutritious meal standards in schools and will bring more fruits and vegetables to students. These standards are according to recommendations issued by the Institute of Medicine.

Hunger Task Force supports HHFK because it puts fresh food on the table for kids. It improves the nutritional content of the foods offered, reduces fat and adds whole grains and more fresh fruits and vegetables, without reducing the size of the meal. “Children aren’t getting less food, they’re getting healthier food. And if that isn’t good enough news, consider the improved public health when the incidence of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure is reduced,” stated Sherrie Tussler, Hunger Task Force Executive Director.

In the city of Milwaukee, 1 in 2 children depend on school meals for more than half of their caloric intake each day. It is incumbent upon the school system to ensure these are healthy meals that improve the diets of children.

Some students from Mukwonago High School have had a negative reaction to the new menu. In response Tussler offered, “While we laud student athlete concerns and protests that they need increased calories and larger portions, the same is true of all child athletes. The student protestors in Mukwonago are lucky to have the option of bringing in their own lunch. We want to remind the community that low-income children and families do not have that option.”

The National School Lunch Program is intended to supplement daily nutrition and provides no guarantee that no child will go hungry. Ideally the school lunch will not be the sole caloric intake of the day.

While Congress debates repealing HHFK in order to ensure that no child goes hungry, our elected representatives should also consider the logic of diminishing enrollment in FoodShare (food stamps) for these same children. Hunger Task Force supports the notion that no child should go hungry.

The best way to assure this is to pass the Farm Bill and allow the food stamp program to operate and continue to service the nation.

For more information, visit the Take Action page at hungertaskforce.org.