One proposal former First Lady Michelle Obama wanted to be achieved during her husband’s eight years serving in the White House was better school lunches for children in school.
As NPR reported in 2017, “Promoting healthy eating and combating childhood obesity were also top priorities for Michelle Obama.”
The former first lady helped launch an initiative which she thought would help. The top-down proposal pushed burdensome regulations onto schools.
From a 2014 Washington Post report:
The country’s public school meal program has undergone a good deal of change over the past few years, largely driven by a national push for more nutritious lunch trays. And Michelle Obama, arguably the school nutrition movement’s most public proponent, has become a symbol of the healthier meals. She was an instrumental player in the implementation of new health standards in 2012, which mandate minimum fruit, vegetable and whole grain servings, as well as maximum sodium, sugar and fat contents. And she helped inspire more recent changes that took effect this school year banning schools from serving soda and sugary drinks.
But, students were not eating the food and, as the Washington Examiner reported in 2017, the regulations were a disaster:
Faced with students who won’t buy lunches low in salt and sugar and jacked up with bland-tasting grains, the nation’s 54,000 school cafeteria workers are urging Washington to junk health-focused rules pushed by former first lady Michelle Obama.
The reason is simple: Studies show that public school students aren’t eating what cafeterias are serving, turning many operations into money-losers. While the school districts can opt out, doing so results in federal subsidy cuts for those programs.
The lobby group, School Nutrition Association, said the regulations were needless and were contributing to less kids eating the lunches.
“Overly prescriptive regulations have resulted in unintended consequences, including reduced student lunch participation, higher costs, and food waste. Federal nutrition standards should be modified to help school menu planners manage these challenges and prepare nutritious meals that appeal to diverse student tastes,” the association said, via the Washington Examiner.
“This announcement is the result of years of feedback from students, schools, and food service experts about the challenges they are facing in meeting the final regulations for school meals,” United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement, via the NPR report. “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition — thus undermining the intent of the program.”
It was bad, but the Trump administration saved the day by nixing the whole program last year.
Now in 2018, Trump is revisiting the program.
Trump: School lunch tastes better when the feds aren’t involved https://t.co/ITSfgQYV6W
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 18, 2018
Besides fixing school lunches, Trump is showing the former first lady a thing or two about why less regulation (not more) works so well.
As the Washington Examiner reports, Trump is putting local governments back in charge of what they want their students to eat—rather than allow the federal government to overly burden state and local governments.
“My Administration understands that we have a responsibility to children and taxpayers alike to ensure that school meals are nutritious and enjoyable,” Trump said on Wednesday afternoon. “The best way to do that is to return control back to the people on the ground who make these programs work.”
“That is why we have lowered regulatory hurdles and restored flexibility to schools and communities with respect to the menus in their cafeterias,” he said.
Make School Lunches Great Again.Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.