Uproar Over School Lunches

Students launched a YouTube-fueled rebellion against the new government healthy meal guidelines.
3:00 | 09/27/12

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Transcript for Uproar Over School Lunches
Tonight the food fight sweeping school cafeterias nationwide. It's only been a month since new federal guidelines mandating healthy school lunches went into effect but many students already finding them hard to swallow. Cafeteria fare. Now calorie-restricted some people claim their lunch doesn't fill them up. Turning to youtube to make their voices heard. Here's ab's jim avila. Reporter: It's a noble effort but an abc news investigation shows the usda's new school lunch guidelines are not going down so well with many kids cross the country. America's public school students protesting the new federal war on child obesity with guidelines promoting smaller portions, fewer calories, less meat or cheese, more fruits and vegetables all aimed to curb obesity. Some protests hit the internet in dramatic fashion. Like this lunchtime revolt. ♪ My friends are at the corner store ♪ Reporter: Students at this kansas high school creating a viral video promoting the viral videos in their cafeteria. ♪ We are hungry ♪ Reporter: The new rules limit elementary schoolers to 650 calories, 700 for middle schoolers and 850 for high schoolers. It's a different mix how you get to the calorie. Based on the science, a more nutritious mix. Reporter: Based on the science. Is increase in plate waste. The only known study under the new guidelines contains a startling statistic. Kids are throwing away twice as much food as last year. Just plop the vegetables and food there, don't do anything else. Waste goes up 97%. Reporter: We visited a school in suburban chicago this month. Where middle schoolers analyzed their waste and shocked to find 46 bocks of unopened pears. They're all unopened. Reporter: Week before, all 111 vegetable containers served were thrown away. Schools tell us they're seeing a 50% increase in luncheon trash. It's too healthy. I try my hardest but it's not working. Reporter: Kids are bringing their own and only take vegetables and fruit when she makes them. A lot goes in the trash. Reporter: The school is so secret it's hidden back here in a supply room behind a locked door and underneath one of the boxes. That ingredient? Salt. The new school lunch rooms place limits on salt, ketchup and sugar. Nobody is going get nutrition out testify if you don't eat it. The trash can does nothing for you nutritionally. Reporter: Usda says it's working in some schools. We're seeing elementary school students more receptive than this, which is understandable, high school students went through schools with a different sort of formula. Reporter: Cornell study says there's ways to cut down on the plate waste. By moving healthy choices to the front and making up names for vegetables like power baerns or x-ray vision carrots. Plate waste drops dramatically. That makes all the difference. They love salad. Reporter: Moves that could help the modern day lunch lady cut down on plate waste and american kids cut down on obesity. I'm jim avila, bristol, virginia.

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