Part 2: My Conversation w/Michelle Obama + School Lunch Mandate Update

Back in October, many of you may remember that I had a 1-minute conversation with First Lady Michelle Obama the following day after the Presidential Debate held here on Long Island.  Valley Stream Dad and I had tickets to a fundraiser she hosted at Crest Hollow I believe.  I decided to hold off with writing Part 2 of our conversation because we were in the midst of campaign season and didn't want this blog to be seen as political.  Never mind that my husband is a politician making me a politician's wife.  Sigh....Now that the election is over, I can share with you my conversation (paraphrased, of course) with Michelle Obama.

As Mrs. Obama came closer to where I was standing in the receiving line, a topic of conversation hit me.  I needed this opportunity to be meaningful to both FLOTUS and I.  She finally approached me.   She extended her hand to me which was warming after the Secret Service slammed my phone down onto the barrier just moments before and said, "No phones."  No complaints from me.  Boy, did THAT make me nervous!  Even after that episode, I still felt welcomed in her presence and that she was genuinely interested in meeting me and hearing what I had to say.

I placed my hand into hers and as we shook hands I immediately began speaking.  I didn't know how much time I had and wanted to capture her attention.

"Mrs. Obama, before coming to hear you speak, I attended my school's PTA meeting where many parents were not in favor of the new school lunch mandate.  There were a lot of complaints and concerns about the program."  (She's still holding my hand!)  She said that change doesn't happen over night and that it will take time.  She said a bit more but I was trying to hold it together while talking and I forgot what she said!  I said, "I personally don't see the problem with the new menu.  I think if parents aren't happy with what is on the menu, there are options to send your child to school with a packed lunch.  She agreed.  She said that we need people like you (me) to be a voice for our children.

Of course, this is paraphrased and she did more talking than this, but our conversation was well over 6 weeks ago and I should have written it down the moment she moved on to the next person.

I think many of you who are not in favor of the new school lunch mandate will be happy to hear that there is more flexibility in the program than when it first began at the start of the school year.

Black beans

My child wasn't able to purchase lunch while in Kindergarten last year.  They ate in their classrooms and had to bring in a packed lunch so I can't compare last year's portions to this year's portions or menu.  However, I have been told that there were fewer chicken nuggets and that the pizza was made with white flour and not wheat as it is today.

Fresh pears
After many complaints, the updated mandate now allows for more fruits, vegetables, and more grains to help fill our children's tummies.  But what child is going to eat more vegetables?  I also saw a headline that read the flexibility includes more meat but I think that is if the child wants to purchase additional servings.  I would suggest you read the updates and Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 2010 yourself.

I didn't know Doritos were considered healthy...
Personally, I saw what our kids were eating and while my child likes the cafeteria food, I would still recommend that you pack their lunch.  I haven't tasted the food but my child seems to like it.  However, she is a good eater unlike many children.  I only allow her to buy lunch once a week and it's usually on whole wheat pizza or chicken nugget day.  I also let her buy on days where I'm being lazy and I know she will eat at least 4 out of 5 of the items on the menu.  If you do not like what is on the menu, there is usually an option for a deli sandwich, PB&J or salad.

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act 2010

What are your thoughts on the school lunch mandate?
Does your child pack lunch or buy?

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