MILWAUKEE — A group of Milwaukee Public Schools students are boycotting their lunches.
They claim the meals served in the district are not just unhealthy but unpleasant to look at.
Dozens of MPS students with the organization Leaders Igniting Transformation went to Madison to lobby our state Legislature for better school menus last week.
"So that they could implement more money into MPS so that we can fund better lunches for everybody," said Leticia Alavez.
An MPS spokesperson tells TODAY'S TMJ4 the district supports the students' efforts. He adds, "A challenge facing school lunch programs is the amount of funding available through the USDA school lunch program (currently $3.39 per meal to cover the cost of food, preparation, clean-up, equipment and supplies)."
We took the district-wide breakfast and lunch menu for Wednesday to registered dietitian nutritionist Rita Larsen.
"They have a whole grain chocolate chip bread, which is a processed item. It is something that's disappointing," said Larsen. "There's lots of extra fats and salts."
She saw an upside when she spotted string cheese on the breakfast menu. "Which I thought was a nice addition to the protein."
Larsen says the lunch could be far better. "Seasoned local potato wedges. Again, there's salt, there's fat there. A green salad would be much better."
MPS has a lunch menu feedback form you can fill out now. You can see the MPS lunch menu and form here.
Here is the full statement from Milwaukee Public Schools:
"Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) appreciates students who use their voices to express themselves and effect positive change in the world. A current topic of concern is a healthier school lunch program across the country.
"MPS follows guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in planning and preparing school lunches. Current guidelines require that students are offered fruit, vegetables, grains, meat/meat alternate and milk at lunch. In MPS, high school students receive additional options that include an alternative entrée, sandwiches, wraps, and salads.
"Every MPS student is eligible for breakfast and lunch every school day at no cost. The 2019-20 MPS budget does not reduce food or food service provided to students. MPS serves more than 50,000 lunches every school day and served 15.6 million school breakfasts and lunches in 2017-18.
"The MPS Department of Nutrition Services continually seeks ways to improve meals while ensuring that students receive healthy meals that meet federal guidelines. MPS conducts taste tests with students; a large student group took part in taste testing in December 2018 (read more here [mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us]) and other taste tests have taken place this year.
"A challenge facing school lunch programs is the amount of funding available through the USDA school lunch program (currently $3.39 per meal to cover the cost of food, preparation, clean up, equipment, and supplies).
"MPS invites students and the community to share possible solutions and work together to explore new options for school meals."
Milwaukee Public Schools