Some School Districts Opt Out Of National School Lunch Program - FOX 35 News Orlando

Some School Districts Opt Out Of National School Lunch Program

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The costs of healthy eating are too much for several school districts that want out of the federal school lunch program.

FOX's Rick Leventhal reports that smaller portions and more fruits and vegetables are not going over well with school children, and some schools are saying they can't afford to serve food that students will not buy or eat.

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 instituted regulations that aim at reducing childhood obesity. Under this, cafeterias must serve larger portions of fruits and vegetables and use more whole grains and less salt. This means trimming entrees to roughly half a slice of pizza, or a sandwich with a single slice of deli meat.

In some districts, as many as half the students stopped buying these meals. In doing so, they created tens of thousands of dollars in deficits.

Districts like Voorheesville, New York opted out of the federal program. They created their own menus without the federal subsidies, but still are trying to stay healthy while offering more of what kids want.

However, areas with high poverty levels depend on federal subsidies to pay for the meals and cannot afford to opt out.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released a statement which reads in part:

"USDA encourages the few eligible school districts that have chosen not to participate in the National School Lunch Program to take steps to ensure all children will still have access to healthy, affordable meals during the school day."

The vast majority of school districts are still taking part in the National School Lunch Program.

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