School Lunch

Kids in one rural Kentucky town are hungry and they’re not going to take it any more.

Michelle Obama has been a proponent for the new USDA meal regulations implemented by the Department of Agriculture under the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010″, but she seems to be the only one happy about the food options. Parents and students in Harlan County, Kentucky have  complained to the school board feeling as though they’re starving by the end of the day because the food tastes nasty and the portions are small.

“They say it tastes like vomit,” said Harlan County Public Schools board member Myra Mosley at a contentious board meeting last week, reports The Harlan Daily Enterprise.

Vomit? Really? 

Parents have also complained about the use of brown wheat bread, the skim or one percent fat milk and the flavored milk is now nonfat.

The Harlan Daily Enterprise reports:

Jack Miniard, director of school and community nutrition, said new USDA regulations under the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act largely govern food choices and portion sizes. The meat or protein requirement is limited to one serving per meal. The only way for students to receive an additional serving is to purchase it themselves.

The same issue exists with carbohydrates or starches, such as potatoes (often French fries) that are limited to one serving of three-fourths of a cup, Miniard noted. Many students also reject the brown wheat bread the cafeterias are serving now.

“It’s strange and different for them, so they don’t like it,” he said.

While fruits and vegetables are offered freely and students can take their fill of those, meats and carbohydrates will continue to be served in limited portions only, so students complain of not getting enough food. Parents shouted to the board, “Kids can’t learn when they’re hungry!”

Miniard said some preference issues, like the bread’s appearance, can be addressed in supply choices the district makes as it works with vendors. He noted the board has accepted the bid for food supplies through December and those items will show up in the system within the next few weeks.

At the end of the calendar year, the board could make different choices, but must justify under the regulations why it might not accept the lowest bid, he added.

Although the schools that choose to participate in the program receive a subsidy of almost six figures, because the food is becoming so unpopular, many school districts are contemplating dropping out of the federal program.

I still doubt the food tastes like vomit. In the words of Ike Turner, “Eat the cake Ana Mae”, or just bring your own lunch.


  • KMN


    I can’t with this. We’re one of the fattest nations in the country (hell i KNOW I can stand to lose several). But I try to eat right. And I feed my child right. Last night she asked me for a SECOND helping of broccoli. How old is she? FIVE. She’s been eating BRUSSEL SPROUTS for three years and LOVES THEM. Anything green that you put in front of her she’s on it…

    Again…this is a case of parents allowing an outsider to raise their kids (in this case McDonald’s to feed them or whatever fast food mess they are getting) and letting that outsider rule their house. I mean I understand that fruits and veggies are high BUT they can be bought…at least get frozen. SOMETHING…farmer’s market. Catch a sale. Coupon your other stuff that you buy to offset the cost of the veggies/fruits. We’re killing our kids. Childhood diabetes, obesitiy, hypertension, all of this mess is at an all time high and we’re complaining that REAL FOOD looks like vomit.

    Fast foods and overly processed foods should be a treat like they were when I was a kid. When my parents said McD’s i was like YES because we weren’t eating that stuff everyday and I had to STUDY the menu because I didn’t know what as on it. Now kids can tell you the number of each meal on the breakfast AND lunch menu before they can rattle off their multiplcation tables or state capitals.

    They need to stop it…but this is coming from an area where 8 month olds are bottle fed Mt. Dew…or is that WV? Appalachian area…it’s all the same.

    I shouldn’t generalize like that but folks make me sick when someone is TRYING to make their child’s life better and they are making it worse by not giving a damn.



  • L

    “It’s strange and different for them, so they don’t like it, ”

    It’s sad that healthy food is considered “strange & different” for kids. These little mountain towns make my home state look bad. These are the same idiots that keep Senator McConnell in office. and you know he is known for his petty antics against the president.

  • L

    “They need to stop it…but this is coming from an area where 8 month olds are bottle fed Mt. Dew…or is that WV? Appalachian area…it’s all the same.”

    yes this is that area. so you can’t take the opinion seriously. Those poor kids’ taste buds and teeth have rotted from a Mountain Dew diet.

  • Lisss

    While the new policy isn’t wrong, I think a period of transition should have been adopted. I, as an adult, tried to change my eating habits on a whim and almost passed out and was grouchy all the time. So i can only imagine for a child. The governement knew that these were children who most likely were not used to eating in a healthy manner. Talking about it in class and slowly introducing the new change would have helped immensely.

  • KMN


    Thank you for clarifying that…I hate to lump folks in one box…but this AMAZES me…I mean you got kids who don’t have meals PERIOD…and you (the school) are fussing about the kids not liking it…

    My parents (and me now) would be like eat it or go hungry…


  • Sharon Lowd

    When you grow up eating everything fried, filled with sugar or salty as hell, what else would you say? Veggies, fresh fruit, and whole wheat bread taste like vomit? Poor babies can’t even give a coherent complaint. Keep giving them good food and they’ll get used to it. That crap about kids not learning when they’re hungry – how much can they learn when they’re sluggish and foggy from sugar, grease, cokes, cookies, candy, and catsup. God please save us from ourselves.

  • geenababe

    Something similar is going on in NYC where they are cutting out their healthy lunch program because the kids are not eating it and they are losing water. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

  • Charlene Stevens

    The school lunch program should include nutrition education for the parents. It is a shame that these children have never eaten whole wheat bread at home.

  • MimiLuvs

    I betcha more than half of the parents who are opposed to this lunch program are against it because this happens to be First Lady Obama’s platfrom.
    I remember the backlash when she announced her goals about re-structuring the country’s school lunch programs. And I remember thinking ‘What a bunch of nincompoops!’
    This woman has come up with a novel idea. An idea that any rational person can see no faults with… And she has managed to obtain opposers of this plan!
    I can imagine what they would say if her campaign focused on diminishing the country’s illiteracy rate. Or to diminish the rate of HIV-AIDS cases that are in this country. Or to help children overcome self-esteem issues. Or fix our nation’s problems when it comes to mental health, sexual abuse, etc.
    What are those idiots going to say about that?
    I have written this once already, here on Clutch, and I’ll ‘say’ it again: Every time a far-right mouth-piece opens his/her mouth in order to complain about a minor detail that is a part of the Obama’s strategy, they expose just how much of an idiot they are.

  • KMN

    This post? Everything.


  • mEE

    are you freaking kidding? let me tell you something, if they are hungry they WILL eat. instead of supporting this program these parents, who are probably obese themselves, are feeding into the whims and desires of CHILDREN. you are supposed to provide kids with knowledge of healthy eating. the reason they don’t like it is because they’ve grown up on a diet of high fat, high sodium foods, so of course vegetables take like crap to them. but guess what, they’ll get over it.

    last school year in NYC they totally revamped the school breakfast and lunch program (honestly it was already leaps and bounds above what it was when I was a kid, but the changes were even more amazing). our school got a salad bar. the kids were eating organic yogurt and Kashi cereal for breakfast. they were having jasmine rice and grilled chicken with asparagus spears for lunch. it was amazing. and as a teacher I saw such a change in the energy level of my kids. they weren’t so lethargic after lunch. additionally, they all expanded their palates. kids that wouldn’t even eat a carrot in the beginning of the year were taking plates full of salad by December. we also had a program that came in and did workshops with the kids on healthy eating and had them prepare their own meals.

    all the kids needed were adults pushing them and validating that this was something good and healthy for them. I don’t know how many times I said, “just try it” this past year. these parents are disgusting and are setting their kids up for a life of disease and misery. they should be ashamed.

  • Starla

    And apple taste very different from fries or a sandwich drenched in gravy. They just mad because they can’t fall asleep in algebra class

  • Msveggieandfruit

    These are folks that are used to eating everything brown, laden with cheese and who swill sodas to wash it all down. Its called DETOXING! When you dont eat right and then start putting good things in your body, it goes through shock. Patience is a virtue and they can get used to it. It really a mental thing. I applaud Mrs Obama for even caring enough about us to implement something like this. Lazy-minded slothful nation we have become!

  • rena215

    I think it’s more of an issue of the food tasting bland, no seasoning, all stuff from a can, etc. Healthy school lunches are great, but they need to put SOME effort into making the food appealing.

    Most kids do not have a problem with healthy food if it was cooked well and well seasoned.

  • apple

    fine eat grease and calories so you can clog your arteries and be fat and die young .. ugh american food today, you should see the lunch plates around the world, some look like gourmet (healthy) plates but no lets have nasty sloppy joe made of beef rejects..

    and this hoe boardmember couldn’t say “oh the students are taking a liking to it” , she had to say “it taste like vomit” i could run her down with my car

  • Deb

    i feel like the changes should be made gradually.

  • ruggie

    When school lunch was greasy and loaded with fat, kids still complained.

  • Annoyed

    This reminds of the scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall where Alvy quotes two little old ladies discussing lunch:

    LOL#1: The food there is terrible!

    LOL#2: And such small portions, too.

  • Not Supprised

    Most of these kids are use to eating fried food and meat every meal (3 times a day). That is not healthy for girls IMO. Active boys who play sports all day can burn it off.

    That’s why I can’t understand black folks complaining about eating healthy is expensive. They’re spending 30% of their food budget on meat.

  • The Artist

    It should start at home. Parents should be playing an active role in teaching their children healthy habits. The parents should start gradually.

  • justrand0mth0ughtsinmyhead

    Well then those kids and their parents shouldn’t complain or get mad when the kids get Type 2 Diabetes, are obese, have trouble breathing, can’t fit in a chair, have clogged arteries, weak knees and ankles and are the subject of snickers and laughter because their stomach looks like a sack of dirty laundry. And they’d better hope they have some type of health coverage to deal with these issues.

    These parents should be thankful Michelle Obama cares enough about the welfare of your children, cause let me tell you, I sure don’t. YOUR child, YOUR problem.

  • Laura Charles

    When you eat garbage as part of your regular diet, of course real food like fruits, vegetables and healthy grains will taste “strange and different”. I blame the parents. This is ridiculous on so many levels. If the parents are in such an uproar, then they should just provide lunch for their children themselves.

    You just can’t win! You might as well let them eat junk… but then they will grow into adults with all types of health issues.

  • Laura Charles

    While I agree with your entire post, I wouldn’t paint the Obamas out to be the messiahs of health for our country. Obama has appointed more Monsanto officials to the FDA than any president. This program is a great idea, but it won’t put a dent into the damage that will be done from our country consuming Monsanto’s GMO foods and ingesting toxic pesticides. Obama has passed a “Monsanto protection act”. They can’t even be held responsible. Can you imagine their past executives responsible for what we eat?!

  • Tina

    It’s important for children to eat healthier meals but are the adults putting any effort into creating food that tastes good and is visually appealing?

  • noirluv45

    People overlook the fact that even when you eat “healthy,” let’s not forget GMO’s and hormone riddled foods. They are feeding cows corn. How come there are those who eat healthy and still get cancer? Because of the chemicals. There are people who are thin, eat healthy, and drop dead. Ironically, “natural” foods are more expensive than modified foods. Go figure.

    When I was a kid, we ate anything and everything. We were not a fat generation. In fact, I don’t recall to many overweight kids in my schools. Why? Because we didn’t plop our behinds down in front of computers, PlayStations, or the TV – we were outside skating, riding our bikes, running, jumping, and getting exercise.

  • noirluv45

    Thank you, Laura. Before I read your point, I mentioned GMOs.

  • Kam

    It takes around two weeks for your tastebuds to get adjusted to a new flavor palate. Most Americans have a palate that is accustomed to things that are unhealthily salty and sweet. These kids need to give it time.

  • HarlanCountyStudent1997

    You aren’ eating the food here, I am a student and besides what you might say about all harlan county students, I have a 4.0 GPA! I am very intellegent, but that has nothing to do with the food that we eat! What we are eating is terrible, and until you have eaten this food STFU! You have no idea of what it is to eat this food, it taste like vomit! In all honesty it does!! So, until you get on the OBAMA PLAN, you should have no opinon on this subject.

  • lex

    It totally sucks that these kids are not used to healthy food. But why is that? One thing is that maybe this is a poor area. Maybe the parents work long hours so they cannot prepare healthy meals and fast food is an easier option for them. Also maybe there are not enough places in the neighborhood that sell healthy food options in their price range. I think people should direct their anger at that instead of kids not wanting to eat the lunches. Target the sources of the problem.

    But even though hese kids are not used to the food, they should not change it back to unhealthy stuff, but should really talk to the kids about what this stuff is doing for your body and health. Hey even talk to the parents so that they can encourage their kids! Or maybe the Obama campaign should have targeted how to get healthier foods into house holds of poorer citizens, because if they kids are not eating at school, they are just going to go home and eat the unhealthy things they have there.

  • GlowBelle

    A classic case of bad and lazy parenting. Of course kids think the healthy food tastes bad, they probably have never eaten this stuff at home because they weren’t trained to eat it. My mom used to teach in charter schools and she had a class full of unwed teen moms. They had a daycare at the school for the mothers, and my Mom saw one of her students feeding her 1 year old soda water and Flaming Hot Cheetos. You can’t be feeding a baby solid foods high in sugar and salt. Of course this is a child raising a child, but this happens with a lot of parents of all ages, they just are too lazy to train their kids simple and healthier eating habits. My mom also had a student whose mother was a vegetarian, and the student never ate because he didn’t know WHAT to eat. His mother while thinking she was being healthy wasn’t teaching a damn thing to her child about how do go about being a vegetarian. Once again, bad and lazy parenting.

    We have so much access now to cooking websites/blogs and TV channels for you to pick up how to fix simple and healthy meals for your kids that there really is no excuse. Also not all health food is bad, sometimes being healthy is not pouring salt and sugar all over your food or even cutting back on soda or putting that third cookie back in the jar. We are a fat and gluttonous nation, it’s time we started taking responsibility for our health and stopped acting like this is soooo hard to do because this kind of attitude and stupidity is screwing up children who don’t know any better.

  • Sandy248

    In Kentucky they’re probably used to eating road kill and don’t know what healthy food is.

  • Oy vey

    How can you expect kids’ tastebuds to change if they go home and eat pop tarts and KFC for dinner? Its the parents fault.

  • Rue.

    Thanks. I don’t buy into the idea that veges inherently taste bad or weird. It’s about what you were exposed to as a child.

  • diasporauk


    Truth from the mouths of babes.


  • ayomidejpw

    Just take a lunch… I rarely ate food from school. Pack a sandwich, sonething to drink and a snack. If I needed something else then I would buy that. Usually that was another snack.

  • paintgurl40

    i don’t know if someone commented on this or not, but maybe it’s just not cooked well. there was a story months ago that rachel ray was working to get healthier meals in the ny schools and a kid made a documentary about how the food was awful and the portions were tiny. i watched the trailer to the movie, and the food was terrible. the “salad” was just a handful of chopped lettuce, and the pizza looked like it was ran over by a garbage truck a few times. maybe they should teach the school cooks how to actually cook.

  • Chelle

    I rarely ate school lunch either. I usually bought cookie or popcorn (junk lol) when I was on my lunch. Healthy eating can be an adjustment but these kids need to start eating better.

  • Chelle

    “Pizza looked like it was ran over by a garbage truck a few times.” Girl I laughed lol

  • Chelle

    Those kids better eat that damn food and hush.

  • Missi

    I live a few minutes away from Kentucky…they really need to learn how to eat healthy and get dental care…its’ really bad. I can believe they are complaining because from all the grease laden dishes and fried everything, healthy food would taste abnormal to them. Just sad. Way to go Mrs. Obama. Thank you for caring!!

Latest Stories

Cheers! 30 Not-As-Obvious Occasions That Call For Champagne


Maker of Infamous ‘Sizzurp’ Takes it Off the Market


How To Rock: Black Women In Orange Lipstick


Newsflash: Most People Aren’t Down With the ‘Swirl’

More in education, school lunch
Meet Texas Christian University’s Newest 11 Year Old Freshman Carson Huey-You

We Could All Use Some Good News This Week: 17-Year-Old Graduates From College