Your child’s school lunch would most likely fail if it had
to meet any of the standards taught in health class.
I recently reviewed my son’s school lunch options. At first I laughed out of shock – then I cried.
Actually, I am not sure if we could officially categorize some of the items as food. According to Webster’s Dictionary food is: material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy.
Some of the items on my son’s school lunch list would impair growth, impede normal repair, damage the vital processes of the body and reduce long-term energy levels, eliminating the chance of these items from being categorized as food.
It is hard enough to fight mainstream media and the assault of junk food commercials, but now we have to fight the public school system that uses our tax dollars to teach our children poor lifestyle choices. Our schools are literally teaching our children how to follow the road to a life of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and eventually premature death.
After years of practice and lots of patient interactions, I am able to handle my son’s objection to healthy eating when he says, “But Dad, if it wasn’t good for us they wouldn’t put it on TV.” However, all the experience in the world couldn’t give me enough ammo to respond to the statement, “But Daddy, they feed us that at school.”
The choices of meals at my son’s school was one of the funniest lists of foods I have ever seen. In fact, from my analysis of food choices at local hospitals, prisons and the schools, the school system has the worst food options for health and vitality!
We should be challenged to live up to the healthy standards provided to our children in the public school system, but instead we are forced to fight against the government’s National School Lunch Program to maintain the health of our children.
These non-food items are being promoted by our public school system in the midst of a national epidemic of obesity in children. One of the so-called meals on my son’s school lunch program was a “Flutter Nutter Sandwich.” Excuse me if I am not familiar with the terminology, but I did not know the caloric value or nutrient density of either a Flutter or a Nutter, so had to do some research.
After spending some time researching, I found information about the Flutter Nutter sandwich. Actually I did a Google search and the first response was from the “Urban Dictionary” and it said the following:
Frank: Dude I’ll make some NutterFlutters
The meal offered the day after the marshmallow concoction was Nachos & Cheese. Yes, that was the main course of food for the students that day.
The concern is not only the obesity in children and their increased risk of diabetes and heart disease early in life, but the fact that nutritional imbalances have been linked to numerous disorders in children such as behavioral issues, learning disabilities, asthma, allergies and childhood depression.
Unfortunately, the politics of the school system, the boards, the contracts with food distribution companies, the PTA and others make changing the diet for our children a little more than a “Hey, please don’t give my child marshmallows for lunch.”
I sent a very diplomatic, research-laden letter to my son’s school explaining the ramifications of providing these non-food choices to our children, but I have yet to receive a response and I don’t think I will.
Many local communities are struggling to make changes in regards to the school lunch programs. However, two angry moms, Amy Kalafa and Dr. Susan Rubin, have set out to make a difference.
Cameras followed these woman as they met school boards, parents, food service employees, vendors, legislators and USDA officials around the country. The reality is our society has fully embraced a diet that consists solely of packaged, processed, sweetened and denatured foods and making a dent in that system is going to take some energy.
Check out the traction these two moms are making in regards to school lunches by going to their website at http://www.angrymoms.org/.
For more information on this topic and to learn how to provide more nutritious foods for your family we have provided additional links for your convenience:
The first step is to create better awareness. As parents, it is important to visit your child’s cafeteria and see what the school is feeding them.
After you see the adversity in the school lunch system, contact your legislators to create change. It takes time and energy, but every little improvement plays a significant role in the ultimate goal to change the school lunch program. Here are some examples of states that have won battles in the war against the school lunch program:
- Connecticut recently signed a bill banning the sale of soda in all public schools statewide.
- Arizona banned the sale of junk food during school hours.
- Texas just banned fried foods and sugary foods from all school lunchrooms in the state.
Since writing this article, we have decided to provide healthy, tasty recipes in future additions of our newsletter. Stay tuned!