Schools are struggling to adhere to new government rules on healthy lunches, and school officials are asking Washington to step back. "The regulations are so prescriptive, so it's difficult to manage not only the nutrition side of your businesses but the business side of your business," a school nutrition director says. Among the concerns are a requirement that grain products like pasta be whole-grain rich by next school year—a rule kids don't find particularly appetizing, officials say.
The School Nutrition Association is asking Congress and the USDA to lower the whole-grain requirement so that it only applies to 50% of offerings, the AP reports. The association would also like to suspend new sodium limits and ditch the requirement that all meals come with a fruit or vegetable. "If the kids don't eat the food, then all I have is healthy trash cans," says another nutrition director. Teenagers, the Wire reports, have found a target for their food frustration: "I blame Michelle Obama," says one, while another says "it's gotta be a combination of Michelle and the servers at the school." Obama did back the law that implemented the changes. But according to a nutrition advocate, Obama is a "cheerleader" for the program, while the USDA actually makes the rules. (Read more USDA stories.)