The restrictions we expected to be implemented on our menus this fall are next to impossible to accomplish. I am a registered dietitian with 35 years in the business—I have the tools and experience to be able to calculate these restrictions, but feel like I am just spinning my wheels coming up with good menus that the kids will eat.
Two years ago the nation spent a lot of money on the two-ounce meat/meal alternative and grain restrictions training and certification process to have it rescinded around Christmas time that year. That was a ridiculous restriction feeding 200-pound young men and athletes that amount of food. That was an embarrassment, and I can say on many days I violated the restrictions.
The sodium mandate is very hard to achieve with sodium being such a natural part of many foods and particularly processed foods. Manufacturers have been asked to do next to the impossible.
I have always taken a great deal of pride in the food I serve. I have always directed systems that do a lot of scratch cooking. Many of the commodity items the government has available are sodium laden.
Many school foodservices do not have the advantage of having a registered dietitian to plan these types of meals and many good foodservice directors are frustrated beyond belief.
Our money for new equipment and decent wages is gained through a la carte sales and everything being whole grain and calorie- and sodium-restricted is not kid friendly.
To my knowledge Michelle Obama is not an elected official, and is not a registered dietitian. She has too much power in this matter.
Tini Van-Oehlertz, M.S., R.D.
Food Service Director
Pius X High School