GOOD

Chicago School Bans Brown Bag Lunches, But Is It for the Kids?

Students at Little Village Academy can't eat anything except the food served in the cafeteria.


Millions of American kids take sack lunches to school every day, either because they don't like the school food or because their parents aren't psyched about the nutritional quality—think tater tots and greasy chicken pattiesoffered on campus. Now in an interesting twist on the lunch debate, a growing number of schools say that their efforts to make mealtime healthier are undermined by parents who pack junk food in their children's lunches.

Six years ago, Little Village Academy, a 100 percent Hispanic pre-K through eighth grade public school on Chicago's West Side, put a stop to junk food coming from home when they banned their 780 students from bringing any lunch, period. Students can't eat anything except the lunch the school provides.

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The Senate just passed the Child Nutrition Act. This could be a turning point in the battle for healthy school meals, but will the industry back away quietly?

On Thursday, August 5th, the Senate unanimously passed the Child Nutrition Act, the federal legislation that stipulates the policy and funding for school meals. New policies include additional meal training and strengthened nutrition and fitness standards. To fund all of this, the bill allocates $4.5 billion, including an additional 6 cents per meal—the first non-inflationary revenue increase since 1973.

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