Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Tweet of the Week: School Lunches

School lunches are undoubtedly the topic of much discussion. You may have heard Michelle Obama has started a campaign to change school lunches. Jamie Oliver is hosting a TV show called "Food Revolution" in order to illustrate the difficulties in the school lunch programs, as well as see if he can help a largely obese community. As I am very involved in nutrition and eating healthy this is really exciting for me to see such big efforts being made.

Jamie Oliver has an online petition that anyone can sign in order to show the President how much America cares. A recent tweet by queen food blogger Jaden Hair caught my eye. Click on her link and go sign the petition!

@SteamyKitchen "Have 30 secs? Pls sign @jamieoliver's petition-I stand strong for better nutrition & healthy kids http://ow.ly/1sFhn (plsRT)"


Anonymous said...

Haha, way to go Garrett, Texas is already kicking butt with over 7,000 supporters.

Jaclyn said...

Most public school lunches aim for 1000 kcals, especially in low-income communities. The basic rationale is that this may be the only meal that some of these kids will get. Which, of course, presents an obvious problem when you consider the kids that are eating two meals at home as well.

What's worse is that the general focus is on making junk foods appear healthy. Wheat chicken nuggets, burgers with wheat buns and wheat battered corn dogs. To make the problem worse, most schools are operating off either state or government systems to obtain their food. There are limited options and archaic thought processes prevail in food choices.

Kids need fat to grow, so schools order 1% milk, forgetting that the chicken nuggets and Uncrustables Grilled Cheeses (note: neither grilled or cheese and, for the record, the entire pocket could be counted as crust) have plenty.

And the more nutrient rich foods don't skimp on the calories.

160 kcals for 4 oz. of strawberry yogurt is beyond ridiculous, but it helps the goal of an energy dense meal.

Most schools just lack the budgets to get better foods. Canned strawberries are the gold standard for fruit options. And, while there is some effort in adding salad bars (composed of iceberg lettuce and full fat creamy dressing), even these choices aren't the most sound.

I support the idea of what Jamie Oliver is doing, however, the reality is that a major overhaul that is almost incomprehensible (schools are the main proprietors of hoops to jump through) would have to take place. Good food costs money and takes time to prepare (which costs more money).

Is it messed up that a six year old can't identify a potato or tomato? Yes. (I mean, I'll give you the eggplant, but you routinely are fed the fried version of the former and dip it into a mutant version of the latter.) But, personally, I'm more worried about the six year old that can't identify the letter "K."

How else can we expect them to become discriminating consumers and read the nutritional facts of all the crap their voluntarily ingesting?

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