There used to be a time when you would go through the lunch line and if you were really hungry you could pick up an extra sandwich or get an extra scoop of chicken a la king.

Well, those days are over. Now if you get that extra scoop of chicken a la king or extra sandwich, it would put you over the new federally mandated calorie maximums.

It’s 650 calories for kindergarten through fifth grade; 700 calories for grades 6-8; and 850 calories for grades 9-12. If you eat more, you could get fat is the message the government is sending.

Overall, watching what our students eat is a good idea. It’s smart to limit sodium content and sugar as well as increase the availability of fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the school menu. Plus, eliminating nachos as an entrée would be a good step.

After all, the United States Department of Agriculture’s 53-page Q&A about the new lunch program says one in three children is overweight or obese. That is nearly half a million kids in Wisconsin alone.

But the department goes on to explain in the Q&A that “The new meal patterns are designed to meet the needs of MOST school children.”

It also says, “The calorie minimum and maximum levels are based on data pertaining to children’s healthy weight, physical activity level, and opportunities for meals and snacks outside of the school meals programs.”

Certainly the new federal requirements do meet the needs of MOST schoolchildren as the USDA says.

But what about those students who have football or basketball practice right after school and burn close to 1,000 calories during one practice alone?

At the same time, what about the students who are on free or reduced lunch and may not have access to very much food at home?

We know those are likely not the situations for most students, but some students may need extra calories. Some exceptions should be made to give them more food.

Of course, kids can bring snacks for after school or pack their own lunch, but that may not be an option for all kids. For instance, last year more than half of all Racine Unified students received free or reduced-price lunches.

In addition, if you take a 300-pound teen and tell him he can only have 850 calories for lunch, he is going to make up those calories somewhere else and most likely it’s not going to be with anything healthy.

We’re not saying kids should get an extra cookie or ice cream, but one or two extra pieces of turkey or ham or an extra piece of bread is not going to break their zippers, especially for those student-athletes who may need more than most students.

(9) comments

Kay Nine

"But what about those students who have football or basketball practice right after school and burn close to 1,000 calories during one practice alone? At the same time, what about the students who are on free or reduced lunch and may not have access to very much food at home?" --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To put it bluntly, if you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em. The schools are not and have never been parents to your child. It's a shame that the gov't. has to step in to make sure kids don't continue to become fat off junk food and triple portions. Now people are going to complain about the lunches? Make your kid a more suitable lunch then..... since you know better than the schools and gov't. Pack up a sugary peanut butter and jelly sandwich... followed by a pack of twinkies, some greasy chips and a 160 calorie soda. They aren't being forced to eat the carefully prepared, calorie appropriate meals. And the kids that are "still hungry" after eating the school meal? Maybe they haven't been taught self control yet and are used to eating until they can't stuff it in any more? Maybe they are giving away their food to other kids, then lying to the parents because they don't think they can eat healthy foods?

If you don't think your kids are fat, take then to the doctor and get them checked out. Chances are, the vast majority will be labeled obese.... some morbidly obese. Many parents don't want to admit to themselves that the kids are fat. And they are probably not willing to talk to their kids about weight management due to their own weight issues. It is not something they will "grow out of"..... they are fat. They will continue to eat the way they are taught by you for their entire lives. Let the new guidelines teach kids how to eat properly.... if you can't do it.

If your kids aren't overweight, that doesn't excuse them from learning how to eat properly. They could easily start packing on the pounds in the future with all the changes the body goes through. Not to mention all the health problems that will come from years of eating from vending machines and microwave meals.

Give Me a Break

If the kids are still hungry after eating, did they really get a benefit?


My first grader is starving after eating school lunch. 2oz of protein is not enough. He loves fruit and veggies but these kids need more caleries to make it through the school day


I stood in line at the Sturtevant post office the other day, to buy stamps. The young,inner city Racine woman at the counter was busy complaining because it cost too much to sent the two backpacks full of donated supplies, to family members in Florida. These backpacks and their contents were paid for by Racine area/unified tax payers and business donors. In addition, those same tax payers get to pay for school meals. Many of those meals are wasted, I have seen and handled the wasted meals. Time to hold the parents of these children responsible Make the rearing of these children the responsibility of the PARENTS, not the tax payers. That "it takes a village to raise a child" mentality does not work in Africa, IT does not work here. be responsible for your own


OMG - the JT Editorial Board has really lost it's mind. Imagine the rules, complexity, complaints, lawsuits and costs that would be incurred.

The hard and fast rule - If the JT is for it, I am against it, still applies here.

It's time to get rid of public education and RUSD - it's time for Racine to enter the 21st. Century of Computer at home school. Let parents decide and run their own educational programs and take the Corporate Profit out of RUSD "education". Just imagine the mess the current Board of (mis) Education would make of this lunch program! HEY - get rid of RUSD and their excessive and heavy property taxation programs and hard working parents would have enough $$$ left over to feed, clothe and shelter their children.

Khan Academy:

University of the People:

Coursera :

Education without a profit motive and they won't hold a community hostage to unreasonable demands that throw working families and seniors out of their homes.


Take all you can eat, but eat all you take, is a good rule.


who is paying?


ALL school lunches - for everybody's children - are heavily subsidized by the federal government through the National School Lunch Program. So, we're all paying for all children's lunches. There's a sliding scale, depending upon family income, so some poor families pay less or in some cases, nothing, but everybody's children, rich or poor, are beneficiaries of significant subsidies for school lunches and food distributed through USDA price-support systems.


... even children paying the full price get $6-$7 worth of food for $2.60, so let's not pretend that federal subsidies don't benefit everyone.

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