Michelle Obama School Lunch Suffers From Poor Lighting?

Michelle Obama School Lunch Suffers From Poor Lighting?

Would you eat this school lunch?

A picture of a lunch served at James Hurst Elementary School in Portsmouth Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (photo by parent)
A picture of a lunch served at James Hurst Elementary School in Portsmouth Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (photo by parent)
James Hurst Elementary School of Portsmouth, Virginia served this lunch last Tuesday, and it is making the rounds across the media. It looks like a fish fillet with a bun on top. According to the school district’s statement, the original meal sounded a lot better – Spicy Cajun Fish with Brown Rice. It seems to be missing something… like the brown rice.

The school is just a bit defensive about how the lunch picture looks.

10 On Your Side contacted Portsmouth Public Schools about the controversy. They released the following statement from Food Service Coordinator Jim Gehlhoff:

We appreciate this parent’s concern about the presentation of this school lunch. Poor lighting and food presentation make this lunch unappealing. Other lunch options on the day this photo was taken included a chef’s salad and turkey sub sandwiches. The meal in this photo and other meals served by Portsmouth Public Schools meet nutritional and USDA requirements. The presentation of the meal pictured concerns us and we plan to address presentation of food items in a training session with all cafeteria managers. Our goal is to provide healthy food options that students will want to eat. We will take actions to ensure that presentation is addressed.

This meal isn’t suffering from “poor lighting and food presentation.” It’s suffering from a lack of food, first of all, and from a lack of common sense. What elementary school student is willingly going to choose this meal? I have no idea how the school has children select their meals, but I am guessing it can’t be too different from how my daughter’s elementary school operates – each day, the kids come in and choose which meal they are going to have, sight unseen, based on what the calendar (printed a month before) said. Turkey sub sandwiches are probably the everyday default meal, if you don’t want the entree of the day – and if they ran out of sandwiches before your class went to lunch, guess what? You’re getting the fish.

Of course, this is happening at the same time as Congress is looking to loosen the rules on what kids can be served in school lunches, while learning at the same time what parents from the beginning of time have known – you can give a kid a meal, but that doesn’t mean it won’t end up in the trash.

School Nutrition Association (SNA) President Julia Bauscher, one of the witnesses at the hearing, pressed for greater flexibility for school districts to meet the standards. She pointed to the requirement of one-half cup of fruits or vegetables be served with every meal. While there is little objection to including fruits and vegetables in meals, Bauscher said the requirement – rather than the option – is leading to waste when students opt to throw the food away.

She said SNA is requesting 35 cents more in federal funding for each lunch and breakfast that is served in the school lunch program, up from the additional six cents the government provided when the new standards were put in place.

“That will help school food authorities afford the foods that we must serve, but unfortunately that won’t make students consume it,” Bauscher told lawmakers at the hearing. “And that’s what we’re also focused on…finding ways to ensure students will eat the healthy foods that we’re making available to them and not throw it in the trash.”

Bauscher said SNA supported the 2010 bill at the time of its passage and it still supports it, but the 55,000-member group of school nutrition professionals wants Congress to soften the bill’s target levels for more whole grains and less sodium in school meals.

Of course, more money is always the answer. And Michelle Obama says that kids will learn to eat it eventually, if you keep stuffing it down their throats – despite the numbers that have been reported to no longer be buying lunch at school.

And let’s not forget that Michelle Obama’s daughters don’t have these limits at their private school. According to the Sidwell Friends menu calendar available online, the Obama girls will be offered Alphabet Soup, Classic Coleslaw, Lemon Pepper Tuna Salad, Shredded Chicken Tacos, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Bake, Sweet Corn & Peppers, Spanish Rice, and Strawberries this coming Monday. I wonder what would happen if the Sidwell Friends students had to swap lunch menus and kitchen staff with the Portsmouth School District for a week? But of course, that would never happen. After all, the rules only apply to those not able to pay their own way.

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  • Merle says:

    It’ll take a whole lot of “lighting” to make that look good!


  • Proof says:

    Looks like something I might step on (or in) in my garden.
    Whoever let this talentless hack anywhere near our children’s food?

    One plus is, the children are too weak from hunger to notice the crappy quality of the education they are receiving from the government.

  • michael says:

    What law allows her to do this ? What is congress doing about it ? Now what cowards and spineless people allow this to take place in their schools ?

    • john says:

      well actually most of the decisions concerning school lunches are made at the local level. Local schools will get an extra six cents a meal if they follow the Federal nutrional guidelines. Perhaps instead of asking Congress to do something you might consider getting more involved at a local level
      Please note also that schools offer a choice of meals. also please note that the other choices that day were a chefs salad and a turkey club
      in additiona fruit and milk go with each for some reason they were not included in the meal that mother chose.

  • Penny says:

    This is unconscionable!! Children need to be fed decent food to be able to learn what they need to learn. The Obamas seem to want to destroy this country at every level.

  • john says:

    Well the Sidwell school definitely does throw money into their meals. The average cost of the food in a public kids school meal is about 1 dollar. Yeah maybe boosting it up to 2 dollars might help. Ya Think?
    Schools do get an extra 6 cents a meal if they follow Michelle Obama’s nutritional recommendations.

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