Nicholas Ballasy

WASHINGTON – Former first lady Michelle Obama said adults should “stop asking kids how they feel about their food” and mothers should not let school districts serve their children “crap” food for lunch.

“How about we not let kids completely guide everything? How about we start there? How about we stop asking kids how they feel about their food because kids, my kids included, if they could eat pizza and French fries every day with ice cream on top and a soda, they would think they were happy – until they got sick. So that to me is one of the most ridiculous things we talk about in this movement is ‘the kids aren’t happy.’ Well, you know what? Kids don’t like math either. So what are we going to do? Stop teaching math?” Obama said during a discussion at the annual Partnership for a Healthier America Summit on Friday.

“Are we going to cut history out because there are kids who are bored with history? Look, we are the adults in the room. They look to us, so let’s just stop with that. I’m good if kids are mad at me, OK? My kids are mad at me at home all the time. I’m like, I’m not your friend. I’m your mother so you don’t have to like me,” she added.

The Department of Agriculture recently loosened its enforcement of the nutrition standards championed by the former first lady. Some public school officials applauded the move, reporting that many students had been throwing out the healthier options such as whole-grain biscuits that school districts were serving to meet the requirements.

“It is a little hard to provide food that the kids will like and still hit all the (nutrition standards) they’re asking you to,” Patrice Parr, food services director for Simi Valley Unified School District, said, according to the local newspaper. “We do taste tests. We involve the students to find out what they like. We talk to them, and we also ask the ladies that serve the food, especially if it’s a new menu item.”

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “If kids aren’t eating the food, and it’s ending up in the trash, they aren’t getting any nutrition, thus undermining the intent of the program.”

Groups such as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation voiced opposition to relaxing the nutrition standards.

“Time and time again, we have seen that schools can offer meals and snacks that are appealing to students while meeting nutrition standards – when they receive the appropriate training, tools and resources to meet the standards,” the group said in a statement.