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School Lunches Undergo New Regulations

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Students at Bingham High School are experiencing changes in their lunches this year due to a new act that was passed in 2010. The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act has made new regulations regarding school lunches for schools across the country, requiring students to eat more fruits and vegetables, and for schools to provide healthier lunch choices.

Instead of focusing on calories, the lunch system is now focusing on the components of the lunches. The government is now requiring cafeterias to provide five food groups for every meal: milk (low fat or fat free), grains, fruit, vegetables, and protein. Students are now required to take three components from these five groups for their lunches, and one of them has to be a fruit or vegetable

“A sandwich would be considered two components, so if you took that and a fruit, that’s all you would have to take,” explained Ms. Robyn Gordon, the Nutrition Manager at Bingham High School.

Students still have the option of choosing not to take a fruit or vegetable, but that will cause them to be charged A la Carte prices for their food, which could make the lunch cost more or less than the usual two dollars.

However, Jordan School District is one of the few that hasn’t changed their lunch prices. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the changes cost about 3.2 billion dollars to implement, and the difference in the cost of making these meals is two dollars and fifty cents more than last year. The government plans to reimburse schools and additional 6 cents per meal, but many school districts have still been forced to increase the prices of their lunches.

Lunch ladies have also noticed changes in their jobs caused by the new requirements. Only a certain amount of grain is allowed for the sandwiches, meaning the bread portions are smaller, making deli sandwiches much harder to make. They were also challenged to add new salads and try to enforce the government’s new regulations.

“I’m not really enforcing the new rules because you guys are big kids. I would hope you’re eating your fruits and vegetables, but we decided that you’re old enough to decide for yourselves. I don’t plan on having a food police.” Ms. Gordon said.

There have been no phone calls to the school from parents regarding the new lunch changes, but there have been comments from students. However, because the changes are from the government, there is nothing that can be done.

“If there is a problem or something they don’t like, they’ll just have to write to their congressman and invite him to eat lunch here,” Ms. Gordon said.

However, the lunch ladies would still like the students of Bingham to know that they are always open to feedback and suggestions on how to make lunch better for them.

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School Lunches Undergo New Regulations