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#ThanksMichelleObama: Students criticize school lunches

By Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
updated 4:12 PM EST, Sat November 22, 2014
United States First Lady Michelle Obama has made reducing childhood obesity a focal point of her time in the White House.
United States First Lady Michelle Obama has made reducing childhood obesity a focal point of her time in the White House.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sarcastic tweets blame Michelle Obama for unappetizing school meals
  • Students share images of meals tagged #ThanksMichelleObama
  • Critics say students should direct complaints at local districts
  • "It might seem ungrateful if I got this lunch for free. But I don't," students says

(CNN) -- Students unhappy with school meals are taking it out on the first lady by sharing images on social media of lunches sarcastically tagged #ThanksMichelleObama.

Some of the images depict formless, mushy blobs on a lunch tray. Others show patties on whole-grain buns accompanied by an apple where one could imagine a pile of tater tots residing in earlier times.

The complaints focus on taste, texture and portion sizes under new nutrition regulations promoted by the first lady. The standards were implemented as part of Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative to reduce childhood obesity. They took effect in 2012 with the goal of including more whole grains, vegetables and fruits in school meals while reducing fat and sodium. But students say the changes make the food unpalatable.

"I could understand how it might seem ungrateful if I got this lunch for free. But I don't," 17-year-old Hunter Whitney told CNN. "I feel like many people would be upset too if the lunch they bought looked [like this]."

Backlash followed from others who said students were wrong to blame Michelle Obama for the quality of school meals.

Instead, they suggested that students direct their grievances at local school districts -- or get their lunches from somewhere else.

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Whitney, who attends Richland Center High School in Wisconsin, said students deserve better options, especially those who can't leave school grounds during the day.

"Because my school has a closed campus, it's either bring your own, buy low-quality food you don't like, or go hungry."

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