School Officials: Lunch Rules Driving Kids to Pizza

Strict school lunch regulations, administrators say, are pushing kids to order fast-food and run to 7-Eleven for Big Gulps at the end of the school day.

As Congress considers reauthorizing the Healthy Hunger-free Kids Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30, members of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) took to Capitol Hill on Thursday to urge lawmakers to roll back provisions of first lady Michelle Obama’s prized healthy school lunch requirements.

Under the act, schools are forced to serve 100 percent whole grain bread and pasta, require students to take a half cup of fruit and vegetables with every meal and reduce sodium levels in elementary, middle and high schools to 935 mg, 1,035 mg and 1,080 mg, respectively, by 2017.

As a result, officials say student participation in school lunch programs has declined, with more food is going to waste and, in some districts, students are ordering in.

“We have a new problem where we have to police the front doors,” said Debbie Beauvais, district supervisor of school nutrition services at three school districts in the Rochester, N.Y., area. “Security is turning into a concierge because fast food trucks are pulling up. Kids are texting the local pizzeria and pizzas are showing up at lunch.”