School lunch: Some can’t afford to be picky

Josh Verges guest post

We didn’t get into this issue in our Sunday story on school lunch, but the more detailed data we got from Minnesota is telling, if unsurprising.

While total lunches served to Minnesota kids went down 3.7 overall, that largely was because of the more affluent students looking elsewhere for their meals.

Minnesota schools served 6.4 percent fewer meals to kids paying full price.

Lunches served to those who get reduced-price meals went down 5.5 percent.

But those served to kids who qualify for free meals went up .85 percent from 2011-12 to 2012-13.

It’s a reminder that lots of kids can’t afford to be picky.

It also brings into focus concerns about how filling the new meals are with strict per-meal calorie limits. If a kid who qualifies for a free lunch isn’t satisfied with his meal, can his family afford to pack a supplementary snack?