Students rebel against healthier school lunch choices

Los Angeles Unified students brought Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to school instead of choosing a quinoa salad.

LOS ANGELES—Los Angeles Unified, the country’s second-largest school system, is home to more than 650,000 students, and 42 percent of them are overweight or obese. In 2011, the district decided healthier school lunches were the best way to help them not be.

At that point, Los Angeles was already on the julienning edge when it came to fighting childhood obesity through food: It outlawed sodas in schools in 2004, banned selling junk food on campus, and swapped the bulk of its canned and frozen produce for fresh.

But the new menus were the most austere measure yet, cutting kid-friendly favorites like chocolate milk, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, and nachos. Instead, little Jayden and Mia would dine on vegetarian curries, tostada salad, and fresh pears.

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The students, who are part of the school’s Students in Action Club, created posters to advertise the new meal and helped serve it to students during lunch.

The school’s kitchen manager, Janet Schmidt, said that around 37 more students than normal got in line to try the meal. The school plans to have students from the club help serve lunch once every month.

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