Students disgruntled with their school lunch options have taken to social media to tweet pictures of their unappetizing-looking food under the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama.
Hunter Whitney, a student at Wisconsin’s Richmond Center High School, said this dish is called “Spanish rice” and that students aren’t supplied with salt.
The lunches, many Thanksgiving-themed, have to comply with the food regulations implemented by the USDA and championed by the first lady, who has taken on the challenge of fighting childhood obesity.
But high schoolers, like senior Jess Sency, have been using the power of the internet to show off exactly what those regulations look like.
Sency wrote that this dish is supposed to be baked beans.
At Austin High School in Minnesota, Maya Wuertz’s lunch was a small serving of apple sauce and a sad chicken burger.
It should be noted there may be healthier options or alternatives available that the students have chosen not to take.
In July, Obama said she would “fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have.”
The USDA guidelines implemented over the last few years include limits on calories, fat, sugar, and sodium for all food and drinks sold during the school day for 100,000 schools across the country.
This isn’t the first time the hashtag has made the rounds — kids were also sharing questionable snapshots of their school meals back in April.
New school food rules set by Congress also require more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in school cafeterias.
But schools have struggled to get kids to eat the foods, and some have lost money as a result.
“If the kids don’t eat the food, then all I have is healthy trash cans,”
Peggy Lawrence, director of nutrition at the Rockdale County Public Schools in Georgia, told
the Huffington Post.
The USDA defended their guidelines in a statement to BuzzFeed News, claiming the students’ photos “do not fully reflect the full range of choices students are provided.” Nov. 21, 2014, at 7:13 p.m.
A spokesperson wrote:
Independent research shows that a majority of American kids like healthier school lunches, the number of students that like their meals is growing, and that updated meal standards are working to help improve students’ health. Students are always provided full servings of both fruits and vegetables as well as protein options, so clearly many of the photos posted do not fully reflect the full range of choices students are provided. Congress passed updated healthy school lunch standards, based on recommendations from pediatricians, with overwhelming bipartisan support to help reduce our country’s childhood obesity epidemic and ensure kids are able to get nutritious food at school.