by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
In yet another example of a failure of well-intentioned policy, Michelle Obama’s new school lunch guidelines are creating all sorts of unintended consequences. Unintended, but not unforeseeable. I mean, is anyone really all that surprised that kids don’t love healthier lunches so are purchasing fewer of them and throwing more away? That shouldn’t exactly be a shocker to anyone who’s ever tried to feed a child.
I don’t doubt that those promoting new regulations about calories and sodium are doing so because they care about kids. I agree with them that eating healthier is good for children. And adults, for that matter. But parents already have the option to either buy school lunches or pack lunches for their kids. Many schools allow children to make choices about the food they eat. Trying to eliminate all options that a bureaucrat (or a first lady) deems unhealthy is an utterly unworkable solution. Parents and individual schools are much better placed to make decisions about the food that their kids eat.
When we try to use big government programs or sweeping regulations to micro-manage very personal parts of people’s lives – like the food children eat – we end up with results we never wanted. How ironic that one mom talks about the long lines at McDonald’s after school as parents try to feed their hungry kids who didn’t eat the “healthy” school lunch. I’m sure that’s not what Michelle ever had in mind.