One of the biggest differences AISD students will notice as they get back to school are the choices they will have in the cafeteria this year. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is officially going into effect this fall, and that means there will be new requirements from the children going through the lunch line.

White bread and white rice are out, and brown rice and whole grain bread is in, according to a KTXS report. Regular pasta will be replaced with whole grain spaghetti. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act will also require children going through the lunch line will be required to put at least one fruit or vegetable on their lunch plate, too. No changes are mentioned regarding beverages.

There are obvious benefits to making these changes to school lunch menus, but are the kids going to go for it? I’m concerned that if kids, especially middle school and older don’t like the food at school, they’ll find junk to eat from somewhere else, making their eating habits even worse than they were before all the cafeteria changes. Joann Knox, AISD Nutrition Director, agrees it may be difficult.

“We’re going to have a big challenge ahead of us to get those secondary students to understand it’s different. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, it just means that it’s different and that we’re trying to follow these new guidelines”.

I remember being in school and eating only what I wanted on my plate (the pizza, burger, tacos), then throwing away what I didn’t want (the green beans and apple). I don’t see any reports on how the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is going to persuade children to eat food that doesn’t taste good to them. It’s been a challenge for parents at home since the beginning of time, and I don’t know if the public school system will have any better luck.

Ultimately, I hope the program works, and children are eating better. I also hope these good eating habits carry over to home. But I don’t think it will be as easy as just putting different food in front of the kids and telling them to eat.

What do you think? Do you believe kids will accept the changes in their lunches, or do you think they will need additional persuading to eat the healthier selections this school year?