WHITNEY: Kids protesting school lunch should hold adults accountable

Ah, to be young and full of a spirit of social justice, especially in the age of technology.

Some students, fed up with the meager offerings on their lunch tray, are documenting their mealtime disappointment and posting the images on Twitter. Business Insider earlier this month showcased a few excellent example of these kids' bitter tweets. One student shows a tray of what appears to be a hot dog bun spread with tomato sauce and a scant pile of mozzarella cheese, alongside three wrinkled cherry tomatoes and a tiny carton of 2 percent. Another writes alongside a sad sandwich, "Thanks, Michelle Obama. You call this a lunch?" Yet another posted a picture of tiny portions of chicken nuggets, writing, "Thanks, Michelle Obama. I'll be full for days!"

As a form of dissonance, it's a beautiful thing to watch, even if I am a little jealous to have missed such an opportunity solely based on when I happened to have attended middle school. But I have to offer these young rebels a bit of criticism, because I don't imagine this is a problem than can be laid at the first lady's feet.

Michelle Obama's crusade to make school lunches healthier is part of her larger goal to get our country thinking more about our health, starting with what we put on our plates. It's a great cause — food can be medicine or menace, and in a time when 30 to 40 percent of American adults (depending on age) are obese, we'd be wise to reconsider the way we approach food.

If you're against the idea of eating healthier to improve your life and model positive eating habits for your children, I don't suppose we'll gain any common ground whether or not you read any further than this line. But Michelle Obama is on to something with revamping school lunches, as were those who tread this path before her, like Britain's Jamie Oliver.

It's not Michelle Obama these kids need to @ in their tweets. It's the adults who are interpreting her message and running their school cafeterias.

Making school lunches better can be part of creating lifelong healthy eating habits if we do it right. Doing it right, however, isn't about relabeling pizza as a serving of vegetables, or throwing three cherry tomatoes onto the tray and calling them a salad. So these kids are right to outraged at the adults in charge, just not necessarily at Michelle Obama.

Something tells me you're not going to please a crowd of hungry third graders with a heaping serving of kale salad and V8 for lunch. (You can bring that lunch my way though!) But I also tend to believe children are more likely to try something new if you give them the opportunity.

My daughter sat on the kitchen floor eating a bowl of cold black beans last night, unaware of the health benefits but fully enjoying the flavor. All I had to do was give her the option when I opened the fridge instead of instinctively reaching for something more conventionally "kid-approved" by a team of marketers and food engineers. It helps that she's not a picky eater, but I was and I managed to accidentally like a good smattering of healthy foods in between my go-to meals of peanut butter sandwiches and mac-n-cheese.

If students are Instagramming their sad #schoollunch — seriously, check out that hashtag on Twitter or Instagram — the blame lays at the feet of the adults in charge of meal planning at these schools.

Fewer chicken nuggets than normal isn't exactly the point. Give a kid a simple pasta primavera, packed with peas, peppers and carrots, and watch them switch their midday meal hashtag from #sadschoollunch to #foodporn.