Gates, N.Y. - A viral video made by student athletes in Kansas criticizes the amount of food they get at school under the new federal school lunch policy.
In the video, the students parody the song “We Are Young”. Instead, they sing “We Are Hungry.” The video had amassed about 540,000 views by Thursday.
Debbi Beauvais, is the Gates-Chili supervisor for school nutrition services and is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She says under The Health, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, public schools had to change their portion sizes. Schools are also offering fewer proteins and carbohydrates and more fruits and vegetables.
She says that technically, schools aren’t serving less food, just fewer calories.
According to the new federal guidelines, a high school student can eat 750 to 850 calories for a standard lunch they buy at school. Some students, like the high school athletes in Kansas, say that’s not enough to sustain them.
Beauvais says she sees why the students may say that.
“The guidelines are meant for the average child in the age range,” Beauvais says. “The guidelines aren’t really addressing the needs of someone petite, who would think it's way too much food, and they don't address the needs of a 6’4" athlete."
Avon parent Noreen Whelehan says the school lunches are not fulfilling enough for her daughter who is not an athlete.
“My daughter has asked me if I could give her an extra dollar when she buys lunch because it's just not filling enough,” Whelehan says. “I can understand decreasing the carbs, but don't cut back the proteins, and if you're going to increase the veggies make it veggies the kids are going to eat.”
Beauvais says the challenge is getting students to load their trays with more veggies and fruits to offset the smaller bread and meat portions.
“For many children, they have seen some of these vegetables for the first time. It takes about ten tries to get a child to decide whether they like a new food.”
Beauvais says she hasn’t heard any complaints from parents in her district. She recommends that parents make sure their children have breakfast to start the day and to pack students a light snack to get them through the day.