First Lady Michelle Obama’s famed lunch program, the so-called “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act” met with protest from parents and students from the time it was implemented, and came under criticism from school districts and The School Nutrition Association.

Now, in a defiant move, Bozeman Public School District in Montana, has removed the city’s high school from the Obama lunch program altogether in an effort to stem lost revenue and provide healthy meals for its students.

The school had adhered to the lunch rules for the past two years, but had become concerned by the waste and expense when the high-schoolers began going off-campus to fast food restaurants for lunch.

Bob Burrows, food service director for the Bozeman Public School District, reported that the district earned nearly $55,000 since the beginning of the school year in September from the sale of extra sandwiches and cookies to over one student customers a day.

These figures will be balanced against a loss in annual federal subsidies of $117,000.

The Bozeman High School menu now features popular and nutritious items like chili nachos made with low-fat cheese and multi-grain tortilla chips made by old-fashioned “lunch-ladies” using locally grown ingredients.

Freedom from the enforced requirements of Michelle Obama’s program, the Bozeman school has been able to increase the caloric intake for the students, which had been

Mrs. Obama pushed for the law because, as she said, “all children should have the basic nutrition they need.”

Under the Obama rules, even student athletes were restricted to meals of 850 calories or less, whereas now the district focuses on providing sufficient nutrition rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to feeding the student body.

The new rules drew parental protests due to mandated cost increases and ingredient rationing. Families who do pay for school lunches balked at paying more for menus that are ill-suited to individual needs and depend on subsidy increases neither states nor the federal government can afford.

In order to study the impact of the new rules, University of Vermont researchers photographed leftovers on student lunch trays and found that the amount of wasted food had increased by 56 percent over pre-HHFKA levels.

The School Nutrition Association has advocated returning the food program back to the control of the states, arguing that they are in the best position to determine which families in their districts qualify for free food programs and how to meet nutritional standards.



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