Tater tots are the veggie offerings of the day. The white milk is mine. I skipped the white bread and margarine offerings.
I may have mentioned before that I hate making bagged lunches. Sandwiches make me feel icky (I think it is a texture thing), but maybe it’s just a lazy thing. I would be happy if I never had to pack another lunch box in my life. Buying school lunches should be the solution for my not-so-important dislike. The giant flaw in this stratagy is very obvious…have you seen the lunches they offer to our kids? It makes me want to gag. I have added a picture of Meg’s lunch last Friday when I went to school to eat with her. I let the girls buy lunches on Fridays (Pizza Day). While I’m doleing out the truth here I admit I let them buy more often than I should. It is so easy to send them off to school and let them buy.
My goal next year is to not them them buy except on their beloved pizza days. Please keep me accountable.
Here are my arguments for improving school lunches (I have offered to help the schools revamp their lunches numerous times to no avail so I don’t feel bad venting today.)
1) Our population’s obesity rates are through the roof. This is leading to young kids getting diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Those are just the physical problems. Think about obese kids self-esteem problems, depression, behavior problems/disorders and lack to social support.
2) Healthy kids learn better because they feel better. Blood sugar highs are not good for young minds trying to learn. I don’t just mean refined sugar or fructose corn syrup. I’m talking blood glucose level elevation due to refined breads (white bread).
The popular counter arguments to my logic are the following:
1) The kids won’t eat healthy foods if they are served as they are not used to eating them at home. They will be hungry, and being hungry doesn’t help with learning.
2) For many children the school meal is the only meal of the day they have. If we do not offer what they are used to, they will not eat at all.
3) Parents will just start packing the unhealthy foods for the kids, and the schools will lose money by not have good lunch “numbers”, and may not have the money to run a lunch program.
4) The kids need to take responsibility for themselves and make better choices.
I have two words to say to these arguments “Tough Love“. If kids are hungry, they will learn to eat. It may take days, weeks or months, but it will happen. This may sound harsh, but it is our own faults. That last one really gets me, if they kids have nothing good to choose from how can they make good choices?
If we as a society didn’t fall pray to unhealthy, processed foods our kids would not be suffering now. I am at fault as much as anyone else. My pantry has processed foods in it, I run through the drive through at times. This is how we are used to living.
Okay, I have more than just two words. Think of the money. That’s the bottom line for everything isn’t it? How much money does it cost us to pay for poor-nutrition related health problems? How much money is thrown away by serving foods the kids don’t eat? Watch the trash can during a school lunch, I have. The canned mix veggies are not touched at all. They might as well poor the can in the trash. The kids don’t eat it! They eat the white bread and butter and the tater tots, and the sugar filled chocolate milks.
I’m not asking for the schools to serve gourmet organic meals. I’m just saying put carrot sticks on the trays instead of mixed vegetables or tater tots. Sliced cucumbers, oranges, bunches of grapes would be wonderful and the kids will eat them. Switch the white bread to whole wheat. Offer soy milk for the kids that are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies. Offer chocolate milk only on Fridays, so the kids are over doing the sugars. Don’t offer extras like cookies and ice cream every day, save those items for special occasions only.
So what can we do? Offer our suggestions, even if it is anonymous on the end of the school year survey. Eat lunch with your child and look around you at what the kids actually eat. Encourage your schools to look into healthier foods.
Here are some links to look into the issue of school lunches more.
- Ideas on how to help your child make healthier choices while away from you.
- How you can help get your child better lunch offerings at school.
How are your kid’s school lunches? Do you always pack for them or let them buy? Have you tried to improve the nutrition offerings?