It's not that there's not enough food, says CNN Health's Elizabeth Cohen - it's that the students just plain don't like the fruit, vegetables and leaner meat when they're used to pizza and fries.
Editor's note: The Empowered Patient is a regular feature from CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care.
In a battle over healthier school lunches that pitted the Obama administration against school children, chalk up a point for the kids.
Students have been complaining that some of their favorite foods were taken off the plate because of the Obama administration's efforts to make school lunches healthier.
As a parent, you might look at the government's new nutrition icon and think, "Really?"
The image is a dinner plate divided into sections. Half the plate is full of fruits and vegetables.
That's right - half of what your child eats is supposed to be fruits and vegetables. Not hot dogs, not hamburgers, not chicken nuggets, but broccoli, squash, Brussels sprouts, and other things that come from the ground.
"It's extremely tough to get your child to eat half a plate of fruits and vegetables," says Jessica Seinfeld, author of two books on cooking for kids. "I've talked to thousands and thousands of parents, and most of them can't get their kids to try them."
Statistics show kids aren't getting nearly enough fruits and veggies. Only 22% of children ages 2 to 5 meet government recommendations for vegetable consumption, according to a 2009 study by researchers at Ohio State University.
San Francisco city officials are toying with popular children’s meals. The city’s Board of Supervisors passed a law cracking down on fast food chains that give away free toys with unhealthy meals for children, like the McDonald’s “Happy Meal.” The law would require kid’s meals to meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys. Officials say the law promotes healthy eating habits and combats childhood obesity.
But not everyone agrees. McDonald’s, the National Restaurant Association, and many franchise owners are unhappy with the ordinance. McDonald’s says getting a toy with a kid’s meal is part of the family experience when visiting the restaurant, and they’re just giving the customer what they want.
CNN Newsroom has the STORY