Changes coming to school lunches - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Changes coming to school lunches

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RICHLAND, WA - Changes are coming to school lunches. The USDA has announced they're rolling back some of the Obama-era school lunch nutrition guidelines. So what does that mean, and how do kids feel about it?

Reporter Mackenzie Allen found that the difference between nonfat and 1 percent chocolate milk might seem like a win for picky students, but the kids she spoke to actually told her it really doesn't matter to them. In fact, many don't see any reason to change the regulations.

Chowing down on corn dogs, tater tots, and of course a serving of both fruits and veggies...high school students Mackenzie spoke with say they're actually pretty happy with their meal choices.

"I came from a private school and so we had different lunches than this," said freshman Megan Ng. "I think I was expecting a lot worse, but it's not as bad as I thought. There's some things that I don't like as much as others, but it's a lot better than I expected."

"They go through a lot of effort to put them together for us," said junior Emma Nuhlestein.

The new changes loosen regulations for whole wheat and sodium, and allow schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk instead of just nonfat. But Nuhlestein thinks that's a mistake.

"I think things are good as is. They have a good mix."

Which is likely music to the ears of districts that plan to stick with the previous regulations and healthier options.

"We believe it's in the best nutritional interests of our students to continue to offer 100 percent whole grain-rich products and fat free flavored milk," said Emily Vander Pol with nutrition services.

But not everyone is on board. In fact, many of our viewers reached out on social media to say they thought making meals a little less healthy was well worth it if it meant kids were going to actually eat the food.

Of course, exactly what makes it onto a plate differs from school to school, and experts say here in the northwest the easy access to fresh produce gives our school lunches a boost versus other parts of the country.

"That's one thing that's always great in this region, even though we're maybe getting our produce from Spokane produce, they're getting it straight from the fields around our region," Vander Pol said.

Though not surprisingly, school lunches do still have a tough time competing with options kids can buy off-campus.

"I mean, as soon as I can drive I'm definitely going to drive to restaurants outside of the campus," said freshman Ashley Stracener.