School Nutrition
3:52 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

A Fruit Or Vegetable On Every Plate Whether Students Want It Or Not

Under new federal dietary rules, kids in school cafeteria lunch lines will be required to accept a serving of fruit or vegetables. But since there is no corresponding federal power to make them eat it, it’s likely many students will soon be defying their government at lunchtime.

The Evident Preference: The pizza was eaten, the broccoli wasn't.
Credit Gina Jordan / StateImpact Florida

StateImpact education reporter Gina Jordan has been sampling the student opinion of broccoli and peas and stuff:

“I hate them.”

“They’re disgusting.”

These elementary students throughout Tallahassee are not fans of their school’s vegetables.

“I cannot think that they’re actually real.”

“Our vegetables don’t taste real and they look like green spaghetti.”

That sentiment isn’t shared by all of their peers. Today, kids at Ruediger Elementary School are getting broccoli and bananas on their plates.

“It’s good.”

They have other options, too.

“I take the salad and I take the fruit. I eat most of the carrots off the salad.”

“Sometimes if they had broccoli, yeah, I’d eat it, but most of the time, yeah, I would throw it away.”

The guidelines present a challenge to schools to make vegetables sound like something a kid would want to eat, and to the cafeteria staff to think up attractive recipes. 

Click to hear Gina Jordan's story about the new federal school lunch rules.