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OUR VIEW: Stand up for our kids and support healthy school lunches

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opinion Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

We've heard the complaints about the new school lunches.

The kids don't like the healthier food.

The kids don't get enough to eat.

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Too much of the food is wasted.

Most recently, we learned from Mitchell school officials that more than 10 cents might have to be added to the $2.40 lunch charge for elementary students, and the $2.60 charge for high school students.

This is a classic case of being careful what you wish for. People in this country have been demanding a solution to childhood obesity for years. Now that something is being done about it, nobody seems to like it.

We have a request for students, parents and school officials: Don't overreact to the complaints.

Ultimately, we all want kids to eat healthier. We've encountered a bit of a rocky road trying to make that happen in schools, but so what? Who ever said anything worth doing would be easy?

From our perspective, all the challenges posed by healthier school lunches are worth the end result. Kids will not grow up to be healthy adults unless we show them how to do it. We can't keep stuffing mass-produced, government commodity junk down their throats and then expect that they'll wake up one day in adulthood and suddenly start eating fruits and vegetables. The right habits have to be formed at a young age.

The problems with healthier school lunches will probably continue for a while. It's going to take some time for the kids to adjust. It'll take time for the government and the school lunch workers to iron out the kinks with portions and menu choices. It'll take a bigger investment by parents and taxpayers to pay for the healthier food.

In the end, it'll be worth it. A country full of healthier people will place fewer costly demands on the health care system, and fewer public resources will be needed to care for low-income and elderly people struggling with diabetes, heart disease and other side effects of obesity.

Mostly, though, it's worth it because our kids deserve the best we can give them. A few bucks a day isn't too much to ask in exchange for healthier children.

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