The unintended consequences of making school lunches taste like cardboard are that kids leave school for lunch and end up eating fast food.

School nutrition professionals from across the country bemoaned the negative impacts of new nutrition standards on school meal programs and the students and districts they serve in two congressional staff briefings hosted by the School Nutrition Association (SNA).

The new standards are actually driving students to eat more junk food and seek out tastier meals elsewhere, the nutritionists told the June 11 briefing:

“With a la carte choices so limited, many students go off campus for fast food, soda and sugary snacks. We have experienced a 10 percent drop in revenue and anticipate a nearly $175,000 loss this school year.” – Siri Perlman, RD, Nutrition Specialist, San Dieguito Union HS District, CA

“Students used to love the spinach and tomato wraps from our Made-Fresh-for-You bar, but they just don’t like the flavor of the new whole grain wraps. With all the changes, my paying students are walking away from the program.” – Debbi Beauvais, District Supervisor of School Nutrition Gates Chili, East Rochester & East Irondequoit Schools, NY.

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