Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, with Chef Tom Colicchio, Food Policy Action and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, today brought real school lunches to Congress that meet the updated nutrition standards and called on lawmakers to fight back against attempts to weaken school meal nutrition standards.
“For too many children, the only healthy meal they eat during the day is the meal they’re given at school,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “By preserving nutrition programs and standards at school, we are ensuring that our kids are more focused and alert in the classroom. No child should have to go without a healthy meal.”
“Over seventy percent of the 30 million children eating school lunch everyday qualify for free or reduced priced school meals. These critical school meal programs ensure all children, regardless of income, have at least two healthy, nutritious meals a day, and are given the same chance at success both in school and beyond,” said Chef Tom Colicchio, Co-founder of Food Policy Action. “With more than 95 percent of schools across the country meeting the updated nutrition standards, now is exactly the wrong time to abandon the progress we’re making and revert back to junk food and high calorie meals.”
“Congress saw today how industry and schools are already meeting the standards on budget with tasty food kids enjoy,” said Margo G. Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Reverting to selling junk food in schools would be like replacing Shakespeare with comic books in English class.”
The event, hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the American Heart Association, Food Policy Action, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and other members of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, brought school meals provided by Revolution Foods that many students already enjoy and that meet the updated national child nutrition standards, with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and reasonable amounts of salt. Members of Congress and staff sampled sesame chicken salad, whole grain spaghetti and meatballs, and pizza with a whole grain crust, reduced-fat cheese, and low salt. Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef, joined the event, along with a number of chefs who met with their members of Congress to discuss the importance of healthy school meals.