Harvard researchers said the updated standards that require schools to serve increased fruits and vegetables did not increase plate waste. Still, the study’s authors said plate waste remains significant, with students throwing away up to 75% of vegetables and 40% of fruits on their trays.
Reader reaction to the online story was fascinating.
Healthy eating needs to start at home, long before a child ever enters school. I agree with the increase of fruits and vegetables available to students. The waste bothers me too. What bothers me most ... many of the children I serve each day had no idea what a lot of the fruits and vegetables even were. Having never been served them before at home, that is something that needs to be addressed at home.:
Another weighed in:
It is encouraging to read that fruit & vegetable consumption is up among our youth. But, will this carry with them into adulthood? Recently, at our office, we had a wide display of our fruit & vegetable line in our kitchen for our employees to enjoy, along with a box of doughnuts.....guess which was inhaled first?
One reader argues to leave the mandate alone:
I would leave the fruit and vegetable mandate and remove the grain mandate. Fruits and vegetables aren’t contributing to the obesity epidemic but processed carbohydrates are. Study after study report how these carbs are stored as fat. It doesn’t matter if it’s whole grain rich, it is still going to elevate the blood sugar level and become fat if physical activity does not use it up quickly. The same can definitely not be said for fruits and vegetables. Natural vitamins, sugars and fiber are used more readily by the body, do not spike blood sugar and leave a full satisfied feeling in your stomach. Remove the grain mandate!!!
A school foodservice official also expressed support for the mandate:
This is terrible. As a school foodservice professional we are asked to make all these changes. Some very positive and some not so great. We finally have our students taking and eating the fruits and vegetables which they enjoy and now they want to take that guideline away. I really think if the students are throwing away the fruits and vegetables it really isn’t that they don’t like them its more that they want to talk with their friends and they just run out of time to eat them. Start worrying about the standards of the lower sodium. Stick with this first tier this coming fall and keep it at that.
I think the School Nutrition Association is giving up on updated nutrition standards too easily. Why not encourage kids to clean their plate, and thus help drive needed increases in fruit and vegetable consumption at schools? It is disheartening to see the SNA to give up on the effort to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.