(NBC) - The debate over healthier school food is heating up on Capitol Hill, where a House sub-committee will consider easing government rules critics say result in costlier, less tasty menus.
Supporters of the more strict food guidelines, including First Lady Michelle Obama, say allowing an opt-out for schools will hurt children in the long run.
For the past two years, the food on students' lunch trays has been getting increasingly healthier.
The cause, championed by Michelle Obama, emphasizes the importance of fruits and vegetables. However, this fall, schools will have to go further by reducing sodium levels and by only offering whole grains. The School Nutrition Association says the guidelines go too far.
Now a House sub-committee is considering giving struggling schools a one-year waiver from the requirements.
In response to complaints about higher food costs, reduced participation in the school lunch program, and more unwanted food ending up in the trash, it's a big mistake according to nutrition advocates.
Supporters of the healthier standards say cutting schools a break will hurt students in the long run.
The USDA has already shown some flexibility. In 2012, they changed limits on proteins and grains after students complained they were hungry.