Healthy school lunch program “bombs” in LA

What's behind the failure of LA's attempt at offering healthier school lunch options?

Healthy school lunch program “bombs” in LA

Here's a fascinating report in Food Safety News: The nation's second-biggest public school system, Los Angeles, is taking a midyear "do-over" of its school lunch program.

LA Unified has been a leader in moving to the more nutritional fare like that being mandated by the National School Lunch Program under First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign against obesity.
But the Los Angeles Times Sunday reported menu items such as beef jambalaya, vegetable curry, pad Thai, lentil and brown rice cutlets and quinoa and black-eyed pea salads turned out to be hugely unpopular with students.
Dennis Barrett, LA's food services director, is doing a mid-year revision of the school lunch menu. Hamburgers and whole wheat, low-fat cheese pizza will be back on the daily menu after students indicated they would not eat vegetable curries, tamales and the like that were being substituted.
The article goes on to say school lunch enlistments dropped by 13%.
Question is, what's the underlying problem? Contrast these results with a program we previously mentioned in Skokie, Illinois - where a switch to healthier food was requested and then enthusiastically received by the student body. (Ironically, that program was profiled in the LA Times.)
Reading through the first article, it looks like the students in LA are reacting partly to bad cooking and expired ingredients. And the menu choices in LA sound more exotic, whereas much of the Skokie menu was more familiar food simply made with better, fresher, more healthful ingredients.


Leave a Comment

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

skip to top