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Illinois Congressman Proposes Unique Idea to Deal with School Lunches Kids Refuse to Eat

Congressman Randy Davis says changes to the school lunch program are leading to too much food being thrown away, and he has a novel idea to fix it.
Call it a case of unintended consequences from the best of intentions.  The national school lunch program is supposed to help make sure kids get a good meal during the day.  But recent changes meant to help kids eat better, healthier meals mean some kids are going hungry instead, and an Illinois Congressman has a unique idea to try to fix the problem.

When it comes to school cafeteria food, we all had a favorite, like pizza.  And a least favorite.  Cauliflower often tops most disliked foods.

The problem is that Illinois schools say this year the list of "least favorites" is way up.  That's because new school lunch guidelines require certain foods be served, like dark green veggies and whole grains.

Supporters say it's important since kids might not get healthy food at home, but the problem is that a lot of kids don't like the healthy stuff.

8th grade student Hollie Johnson says about her school, "Our chicken nuggets used to be our favorite thing, and then this year they're all wheat and like really nasty and doesn't even taste good."  That means sometimes she says she leaves the lunchroom without feeling full.  "Sometimes they don't give us what we want to so we eat PBJ and then we go the whole day with just that."

But schools statewide say their hands are tied.  "I try to get the most nutritious plate meal out there for the children for them to learn and then I'm not able to do that by following these guidelines," says Amy Christian with the downstate Pana School District.

That's why Congressman Rodney Davis is stepping in.  He wants the White House to have to follow the same menu when it serves meals.  That way, federal regulators will realize changes need to be made so kids like Hollie Johnson can get a healthy meal that will go in their mouths instead of the trash can.

Many schools have dropped out of the lunch program because of the changes.  They say they're losing money every day since fewer students buy the food.
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