While many students weren’t keen on more nutritious school lunches when their districts first began complying with new federal meal standards in the 2012-13 school year, they warmed up to the healthier fare, complaining less and eating as much as they did before the rules took effect, according to
The surveys—one of elementary school administrators and one of middle and high school administrators—were funded by a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which supports the standards created through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Of the nationally representative group of 557 elementary school administrators surveyed by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, 56 percent agreed or strongly agreed that students complained about the new meals at first, and 64 percent agreed or strongly agreed that “few students complain now.” Seventy percent said students “generally like the new lunch.”
Fifty-nine percent of respondents said about the same amount of lunch is consumed under the new rules, and 65 percent said just as many students buy lunches now, the study says.
Among middle school respondents, 15 percent said students were throwing away less lunch, 44 percent said the amount was about the same, 25 percent said it was a “little more,” and 20 percent said it was “much more.” At the high school level, a total of 55 percent of respondents said students were throwing away less or about the same amount of their lunches.
A version of this article appeared in the August 06, 2014 edition of Education Week as Student Nutrition