Peanut butter, garlic bread back on school plates

Modifications to federal rules regarding healthy school lunches mean some students' favorite items have returned.

Story highlights

  • Students complained federal school lunch rules removed their favorites
  • The Obama administration has reversed some of the new lunch rules
  • "Children cried" over the loss of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, one director says

In a battle over healthier school lunches that pitted the Obama administration against school children, chalk up a point for the kids.

Students have been complaining that some of their favorite foods were taken off the plate because of the Obama administration's efforts to make school lunches healthier.

High school students in Kansas made a video called "We Are Hungry," complete with feigned fainting that's been viewed more than a million times on YouTube.

Last week, the administration reversed some of the new school lunch rules, and the kids are happy again, says Dave Porter, superintendent of Wallace County, Kansas, schools.

"Even though we're a small town in rural western Kansas, Washington did hear us," he said. "Our concerns were listened to."

Elizabeth Cohen

Under the original rules, which went into effect at the beginning of the school year, schools couldn't serve spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread because it includes too many grains. A grilled chicken sandwich with a side order of celery sticks and a bit of peanut butter for dipping was also forbidden because it made for too many servings of protein.

Now, garlic bread and peanut butter are back on the plate.

Pictures inspire a school lunch boycott
Pictures inspire a school lunch boycott


    Pictures inspire a school lunch boycott


Pictures inspire a school lunch boycott 01:35
Students sing complaint to Mrs. Obama
Students sing complaint to Mrs. Obama


    Students sing complaint to Mrs. Obama


Students sing complaint to Mrs. Obama 01:38

"These changes are wonderful. They give us back flexibility," said Sandra Ford, president of the national School Nutrition Association.

Do you agree with the changes?

Some of the original changes just didn't make sense, Ford said. For example, she had to stop serving her own students peanut butter and jelly sandwiches some days because the bread put her over the federal government's grain limit.

"Children cried," said Ford, director of food and nutrition services at Manatee County, Florida, schools. "For some of them peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are all they would eat."

Video: 'No fat kids at school?'

Schools still have to follow calorie limits and fruit and vegetable requirements that were part of the healthier school lunch changes.

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the school lunch program, said it anticipated some modifications would need to be made in the school lunch rules.

"USDA has asked for, and states and schools have provided us with, valuable feedback," Secretary Thomas Vilsack wrote in a letter last week to Sen. John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, who had expressed concern about the changes.

      Empowered Patient

    • Are you an empowered patient?

      Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen helps put you in the driver's seat when it comes to health care with her column, Empowered Patient.
    • obamacare sign up Cohen Newday _00001909.jpg

      Hope for a smoother ride

      For nearly two weeks, I was a failure -- a complete and utter failure. I couldn't sign up for Obamacare on
    • HMO? PPO? How to pick a plan

      Lots of people look at an open enrollment e-mail and essentially take a wild guess at what plan works best for them. Don't be one of them.
    • meat case

      Food poisoning 101

      Despite food safety measures, the threat of foodborne illness remains in meat and produce -- and some types of illness are on the rise.
    • Karry Trout participates in a Relay for LIfe event in Shelton, Washington, with her daughters Lucy, 7, and Ella, 13.

      Navigating the health care system

      More hospitals are hiring patient navigators to help patients through a confusing system of paperwork, specialists and lab results.
    • Doctor proceeding a mammography on a patient in an examination room

      Breast cancer FAQs

      When Angelina Jolie revealed she'd had a double mastectomy, her bravery empowered other women to tell their breast cancer stories.
    • 10 shocking medical mistakes

      When you're a patient, you trust you're in good hands, but even the best doctor or nurse can make a mistake on you or someone you love.
    • A technician opens a vessel containing women's frozen egg cells on April 6, 2011 in Amserdam. From today onwards it will be possible for women to have their ova, or egg cells, frozen in the Netherlands.

      Changing fertility treatments

      Egg freezing technology has improved so much that egg banks have started websites where patients can order and ship frozen eggs.