Ask a kid to change from a diet of burgers and fries to beans, peas and carrots? Its a challenge.
School meals are making a similar switch, prompting an Associated Press story recently that suggested schools were dropping out of the National School Lunch Program because kids were rejecting healthy foods.
How many schools have dropped out?
Try 1 percent. Maybe.
The School Nutrition Association, which conducted the survey, felt compelled by the wide attention to the AP story to issue a statement clarifying the survey results.
The vast majority of respondents (92.7 percent) reported that they do not plan, nor are considering, dropping any schools from (the National School Lunch Program), clearly indicating that there is no national trend of schools dropping out of NSLP, the association said.
Only 1 percent of respondents reported that they plan on having a school drop NSLP and only 3.3 percent reported that they are considering having a school drop NSLP, the association added.
The bigger story is the success many schools have had in implementing the new guidelines.
The rub appears to be the need for kids in some schools to get familiar enough with whole grains, fruits and vegetables to enjoy and buy them. Theres reason to be optimistic.
Among the news reports in which kids were asked about their new meals was one by television station WWL-TV in New Orleans, which took on some tough customers middle school boys.
One time I looked at it and Im like, I dont like it. But then I tasted it and it was good, one fifth-grader said.
Another group of sixth-graders claimed to like mangoes, pineapple, peaches and strawberries better than you should sit down for this pizza.
Encourage your kids to participate in their school meals program. The more kids that do, the more will follow.
Become a school meals booster:
• Talk it up. Be positive about school food, and your attitude will catch on.
• Embrace the convenience. School meals are a good deal and can save you hassle in the morning.
• Get involved. If theres an opportunity to serve on a school meals advisory board, consider it. At a minimum, share your feedback and offer constructive suggestions for improvement.
Get behind school meals. Itll do us all good.
Suzanne Havala Hobbs is a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor of health policy and management at UNC-Chapel Hill. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her on Twitter, @suzannehobbs.