New guidelines for school lunches rile some

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October 4, 2012, 8:16 pm
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(NECN: Marnie Maclean) - No student at this high school in Biddeford, Maine gets past Pattie unless their tray is complete.

The new federal nutrition guidelines say there has to be a fruit and a vegetable - and there are calorie restrictions too, based on age groups.

"Half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Protein is important, and also guidelines on the whole grain items," said Sandra Lewis, food service supervisor for the Biddeford schools.

Lewis says even though portions of some foods are smaller, the trays still look full and students aren't complaining.

"They usually make it balanced, which is great because kids don't always get that at home," said Desiree Bourque, a Biddeford High School student.

But at other schools across the country, there has been a backlash against the new guidelines.

Students at a school in Kansas created a video to show they don't feel like they are getting enough to eat, while other school districts have noticed that forcing the kids to take fruits and vegetables has lead to more waste.

"It is more waste than last year, honestly it is," said Lewis.

While every federally subsidized lunch out of this cafeteria is balanced and healthy, students at the high school do have the option to buy a la carte.

"I got a ham sandwich with chips and a strudel," said Brian Gelinas, a Biddeford High School student.

The reality is, those a la carte items help pay for the school lunch program. Sandra Lewis says most students balance those a la carte days with trips through the hot lunch line.

"Whatever is on their plate, people are hungry during school and are going to eat it no matter if it's fruit or veggies," said Biddeford High student Nate Crepeau.

Tags: maine, childhood obesity, vegetables, obesity, Biddeford, Marnie MacLean, fruits, Biddeford High School, new federal nutrition guidelines, school lunch programs
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