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The Incredible Shrinking Federal School Lunch

The federal school lunch program has seen some rough times in the last few years. First Lady Michelle Obama launched an attack on salt, sugar, and fat in lunches but that wound up leading to small, tasteless meals that kids wouldn’t eat and simply added to food waste.

Now the Biden inflation and supply chain problems are slamming school cafeterias and limiting their offerings. Some schools are only offering one entree choice, down from three or more. Hamburgers are in short supply because of a shortage of buns and ketchup. Even healthy choices like carrot sticks are often scarce.

A new survey of school districts nationwide, conducted by the School Nutrition Association, reveals that 97% of meal programs reported real challenges with higher costs while 98% acknowledged problems getting menu items.

Here’s an idea: because this has long been yet another well-meaning program riddled with fraud and mismanagement, we could probably cut the cost of this program in half, and provide better food for the kids, by contracting out the whole program to Chick-Fil-A or Mcdonald’s.

A few years ago, school officials used to complain the one-size-fits-all federal standards were unfair since they meant a 225-pound football linebacker received the same calorie allotment at lunch as a 110-pound freshman girl (750 to 850 calories). Now many of them would be happy just to get enough food to meet that calorie threshold.

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