Mukwonago students upset over new calorie cap for school lunches
MUKWONAGO- An effort to cut down on obesity, and increase healthy eating in public schools has received unpopular feedback from Mukwonago High School students.
New federal guidelines for school lunches has prompted public school districts to cap the amount of calories to 850 for paid school lunches -- down by about 200-300 calories from last year. The new requirements make sure schools serve more whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fewer sugary or salty items
Students at Mukwonago High School, like Joey Bougneit, told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure" that new calorie cap doesn't provide him, and other students, enough food to eat at lunch.
"For Super Nachos Day, we were given tortilla chips and ground meat, and the most chips anyone got was seven; normal amount was four," described Bougneit.
Super Nachos Day, and other portion size cuts -- like sub sandwiches much smaller than previous years, left several students at Mukwonago High School very dissatisfied with the new lunches.
On Monday, the Journal Sentinel reports that 70 percent of the 830 students at Mukwonago high who normally buy lunch boycotted the cafeteria food.
Pam Harris, the district food service supervisor and a registered dietitian, is aware of the students' disapproval of the new guidelines.
"Kids are noticing portion sizes are smaller, and they aren't happy about that," said Harris to "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure."
"Is (the 200-300 calories) enough to cause such a significant physical response?" wondered Harris.
But to Dr. Marion Nestle -- a professor at NYU in the department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health -- 850 calories served at lunch under the current guidelines provides plenty of nutrition.
"I don't see kids going hungry (based on that cap)," said Nestle to "Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure." "Even for an athlete...850 calories should be enough to get a kid through the rest of the school day."
In the meantime, Harris said she is working with students and parents upset over the current calorie cap to send letters to the USDA in hopes that school districts, including Mukwonago's, will be allowed to gradually introduce the calorie and nutrition changes over the next few years.
It is not clear if the USDA will make changes to their current guidelines for paid school lunches.