New healthier lunches stirred up controversy last year in school lunchrooms nationwide. Lawmakers responded, including Representative Kristi Noem. Today, she joined students in Chester for lunch to talk about the new School Nutrition Bill.
As students sit down to a special Thanksgiving lunch at Chester School, Representative Kristi Noem explains her plan to give schools more control over what ends up on these trays.
"Everybody has goals of wanting our kids to eat healthier. I just really want those guidelines instead of regulations. If we can let our local administrators determine how best to feed our kids with the guidelines from the federal government. I think that's the best approach," U.S. Representative Kristi Noem said.
Current federal mandates were designed to lower the childhood obesity rate.
8th grader Ethan Geraets doesn't think that lunch should be the same for everybody.
"They try to make it healthy, and then it doesn't turn out well. But then, when it comes to lunch, they're trying to give everybody the same. I don't think like that because people, we need to eat. I mean we're energetic, we need the energy. We need the calories," 8th grader Ethan Geraets said.
On the other side, senior John Nelson is a fan of the new lunches.
"In this last year I've lost a lot of weight, actually because of the garden bar. I've been having a big salad everyday and a little bit of the entree, and it's been helping improve my lifestyle personally, and I can see in the rest of my classmates too," senior John Nelson said.
Chester area administrators have been vocal against the federal regulations in the past, that's why Noem selected the school for today's visit.
"My biggest concern is the facts that we have kids in South Dakota that are leaving school hungry," Noem said.
Noem doesn't think that Congress will get around to the new bill this year, because lawmakers are dealing with other issues including the farm bill and budget negations. The legislation is endorsed by the National School Boards Association