Here's what happened when Minneapolis schools ditched processed foods

kid eating school lunch
© Sharomka/Shutterstock

Breaking news: kids like real food.

The Trump Administration is making school lunches less healthy. The federal government claims kids don't like healthy food, but Minnesota isn't buying it.

Seven years ago, Minneapolis Public Schools switched to whole foods, rather than the processed stuff. They went from chicken nuggets and tater tots to real chicken and potatoes. Since switching, they've sold over a million more meals than they used to.

The change started when the son of Bertrand Weber, the current district's culinary and wellness services director, was diagnosed with diabetes.

“That’s when I started looking into school lunch and holy crap, we needed to do something,” Weber said

“I started thinking why can’t we just go back to real food, it’s not rocket science,” Weber said. He added that whole foods are less expensive in bulk.

This is all especially relevant since the Trump Administration recently relaxed the rules on school lunches, bringing in more sugar and fewer whole grains. Sonny Perdue, who heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said kids don't eat healthier meals.

"It doesn't do any good to serve nutritious meals if they wind up in the trash can," Perdue explained in a statement claiming the new rule "expands options" and "eases challenges."

But as many have pointed out, perhaps kids avoidance of school lunches isn't about kids not liking healthy food. It's about children understandably being turned off by the processed trash that passes for food in schools.

"To be honest, I don't blame kids for lacking enthusiasm about school lunches," pointed out Treehugger Katherine Martinko in a recent article. "They're bland and boring. Boosting the salt and refined carb levels may encourage more kids to graze on junk, but it's not going to fix the problem; improving the freshness and flavor would, though."

Here's what happened when Minneapolis schools ditched processed foods
Breaking news: kids like real food.

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