“Since Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act passed in 2010, the nutritional quality of school lunches has improved dramatically. The act established science-based nutrition standards for all food sold and marketed in schools, increased access to healthy food for children from low-income households and helped communities create local farm-to-school networks.
Lunchroom manager Cathy Walls-Thompson has witnessed the benefits of the act firsthand in the kids she serves at Hawthorne Elementary in Southeast Seattle’s Columbia City. The children have started choosing locally grown fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains instead of French fries or tater tots.
“I encourage kids to just try it, and see what happens,” says Walls-Thompson. “Parents tell me all the time, ‘I’ll be doggone — my kids are eating salad now because of you!’” She adds that she’s lost 165 pounds by following the new guidelines.”