USDA forces changes in cafeteria menu

Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law last year by President Barack Obama, the USDA requires that all high school lunches have to be 850 calories or less. The meal must also include one grain item, one vegetable and one fruit.

“It’s good in theory, but kids are still hungry. They don’t take the extra vegetables,” cafeteria manager Alyce Higgenbottom said. “Every year we do surveys, and in the comments most of them have complaints about being hungry.”

The law was passed to encourage healthier eating and to help cut down on obesity from unnecessary calories from school lunches.

“It makes it difficult,” Higgenbotham said.“You have to watch the kids take a grain, fruit and vegetable, even though they may not want it, and they probably end up throwing what they didn’t want out. It’s also hard because you can only make so many red vegetables, green leafy vegetables or beans in a week.”

Students have also noticed how the size of school lunches has changed as a result to cutting down calories.

“It’s awful. It’s so small, and you’re left hungry,” eighth-grader Tyler G. said. “The rolls are half the size they use to be, and now you don’t even get dessert for free anymore.”

By Mikayla Almeida

Editor’s note: Brevard Public Schools policy prohibits the use of middle-schoolers’ last names on district web sites.