UNDATED (WJON News) -- Now that breakfast and lunch are free for all students in Minnesota's schools they need more time to actually eat it. That's the position of the Minnesota School Nutrition Association.

Right now determining the amount of time for lunch is up to the individual school district. The School Nutrition Association wants the state legislature to require all students have at least 15 minutes of seat time within the lunch period to eat their meal and reduce food waste.

Typically a class or a grade would have so much time to get through a lunch line, but if you are that last student in the line and we're serving 10 to 15 percent more students in our school that last student might only get 5 to 10 minutes to sit down and eat, which is not enough time especially for our elementary kids who are generally slower eaters.

Darcy Stueber is the Public Policy Committee Chair for the Minnesota School Nutrition Association and is also the Director of School Food Service in Mankato.

Another item they want addressed is providing free milk for all students regardless if they eat the lunch offered at school or if they bring a meal from home.

Stueber says they want the state to reimburse schools 50 cents per one serving of milk provided to students who bring a sack lunch. Right now the USDA only reimburses for a full meal, not just milk.

They need to take lean proteins, whole grains, fruits & vegetables, and milk.  They have to take 3 of 5 in order for it to quality as a reimbursable meal and one has to be a fruit or vegetable.

Stueber says students have to take at least three of those items, but they can take all five if they want.

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And, they want the state to infuse one-time funds to wipe out old meal debt. They say if districts have to write the debt off it will come out of the general teaching and learning budget.


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