New Jersey High School Students Hold 'Lunch Strike' Over Smaller, Healthier Portions

High school students around the country are bellyaching that not enough food is being served during lunch following the institution of new limits on portion size.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 sets new federal guidelines concerning the maximum number of calories per meal, and the total amount of protein per serving.

At Parsippany Hills High School, grumbling students are putting their protest where their mouth is, organizing a "lunch strike" over the healthier meals. "This year you're eating lunch and you're like ‘Did I even eat?'," student Brandon Faris told CBS 2. "You're not even full."

The president of the Pomptonian Food Service, which supplies the school with its meals, says every school district they work with has expressed similar complaints. "It's a very dramatic shift and it's being noticed everywhere," Mark Vidovich told Patch.

The fast-growing movement gained a national anthem last week when a group of teachers and students from Wallace County High School in Kansas put together a parody video called "We Are Hungry," which mocks the new rules.

The video has been viewed on YouTube over half a million times since it was uploaded on September 17th.

"We didn't do this for political purposes," said English teacher Linda O'Connor, who wrote the lyrics. "We did this for educational purposes. We didn't expect it to hit a nerve like we have. We wanted to teach kids, if there is something they want to speak out against, go ahead and do that. That's part of being here in the great land of the United States of America."

But some suggest there is a definite political undertone to the uproar against the new standards, particularly given First Lady Michelle Obama's direct involvement in their passage.

Margo Wootan, who oversees nutrition police for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, points to a study that showed high schools were serving students an average of 857 calories each day before the new guidelines went into effect.

The new 850-calorie cap placed on lunches, therefore, isn't far removed from what students were already eating.

And the 12-ounce weekly limit on meat or meat alternatives actually brings the amount in-line with what kids should be eating. "It's an outdated idea that kids aren't getting enough protein — most kids are eating twice the recommended amount," Wootan says.

And if students truly wanted more food instead of just more junk, they are invited to help themselves to as many fruits and vegetables as their chubby little fingers can carry.

[H/T: Newser, screengrab via CBS 2]