Lawmaker proposes study to examine nutritional value of school meals

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – On the heels of his popular anti-lunch shaming bill, one state lawmaker says there’s more to be done to make sure New Mexico students are eating healthy meals everyday.

Sen. Michael Padilla (D-Albuquerque) wants to take a closer look at just how nutritious school breakfasts and lunches really are. Senate Joint Memorial 16 is a study to do just that.

Sen. Padilla says this is a follow up bill, after the success last year of his anti-lunch shaming bill to ensure all students eat regardless of if they can pay.

He wants to see that New Mexico kids are getting the healthiest food possible when they go to school everyday, to promote life-long good eating habits.

“It requires the Public Education Department to go find other ways to bring dollars to the State of New Mexico to find healthier preparation mechanisms, dietitians possibly staffed in each on of the school districts,” Padilla said. “And basically, just because we’re putting a lunch in front of you doesn’t mean it’s a healthy lunch.”

Padilla says he’s expecting some heavy push back on the memorial from major corporations that provide mass quantities of food for schools at a low cost. However, he says the fight is worth it because New Mexico students need more fresh fruit and vegetables in their diets, and fewer cheap carbs.

There’s no price tag on the study. The memorial instead calls for the Public Education Department to dedicate a team to the issue.

The study would be presented to the Legislative Education Study Committee by October. The legislature would then take the results of the survey and see what legislation would have to be enacted to make lunches healthier.

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