The Dilemma of the School Lunch Program and Its Lack of Happy Customers

The Trump administration has now been at work for 44 days and things are changing quickly. Take for instance Michelle Obama’s school lunch program instituted during her husband’s presidency. Rarely has a policy been more unpopular than this one, especially with the kids directly affected by it.

The word for the program is that is is too expensive and not enough kids are choosing to eat the meals. Now the School Nutrition Association is looking to President Trump for help in changing the controversial menus.

According to the Washington Examiner, “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.”

It is a matter of the “Big Brother Syndrome.” The tight regulations have led to consequences that were unforeseen. Student lunch participation is way down, and there are higher costs and food waste. It is a situation where federal nutrition standards must be modified to bring the kids back. The menu has its challenges and needs work to prepare nutritious meals that appeal to diverse student tastes.

school lunch program.
School lunch program.

Michelle Obama rightly pointed out that there was an excess of salt in student diets. The Department of Agriculture under former President Barack Obama lobbied for lower amounts. That in turn has led to students turning up their noses at what they perceive to be tasteless meals. But the conundrum is that naturally occurring sodium is present in meat, milk and other low-fat dairy foods.

How can any menu for young adults and children be coveted without these items? By doing so, many nutritious foods go by the wayside including soups, entrée salads and low-fat deli sandwiches. Add to that many whole grain products and you have fewer customers.

Schools are damned if they do and the same if they don’t. But the bigger problem is economics. The Obama administration urged schools to buy expensive all-grain products. That forces the schools to spend more on the products kids won’t buy.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, “Redistribution of Common Sense – Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014,” was published in July, 2014. “The Game Changer – America’s Most Stunning Presidential Election in History,” was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.