A food fight is emerging in school cafeterias.
The School Nutrition Association says with the economy sinking, there's a 16-percent increase in students who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches. But it comes as others kids are saving money by brown-bagging it instead of buying lunch.
That means schools are paying more for food, but taking in less money. Some districts are being forced to revert to cheaper, less-healthful menu choices. These are small changes - canned fruit instead of fresh; white bread instead of whole grain - but they take our kids in the wrong direction.
School lunch programs have made great strides the past couple of years, offering more healthful options and cutting out the processed products.
The budget crunch is a real problem, but so are childhood obesity and diabetes. In the long run, a healthy lunch line can be good for a state's bottom line.