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How pervasively wrong our idea of 'healthy eating' is.

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Sunday, September 03, 2017

I'm doing a lot towards raising a child and one of those things was accompanying her to orientation day at the new school. A lunch was provided -- the school said it was an example of the meals provided to the kids.

Lunch was a hot dog on a soft white bun -- not all beef; baked beans in a very sweet sauce; a bag of chips; cookies; and bottled water. You could have ketchup on your hot dog and if you're old enough to remember the Reagan administration, you know that was the year ketchup was determined to be a vegetable as far as school lunches go.

As I sat squeezed at one of the tables, I noticed a young boy at the next table enjoying a small box of Pop Rocks candy. One of the teachers stopped and insisted he get 'something healthy' to eat.

I didn't say anything, but I'm pretty sure the amount of sugar in that box of Pop Rocks was quite a bit less than the sugar being provided as a nutritious lunch.
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  • JOY381
    I see the weekly school menus on the morning news sometimes. I cringe when i see what is served as "a healthy lunch" then we wonder why our children are overweight.
    1242 days ago
    Well said!!
    1328 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    Lordy, you are so right about that. Unfortunately a lot of institutional menus are sorely lacking. That lunch was a pretty horrible meal, all sugar, white flour and God knows how many preservatives. If possible you'd be better off providing your own meals or if that's not possible then at least making up for it as best you can with the other meals in your day. You know why green things are non existent on a menu? It's because they are highly perishable, read real food. It takes real food to nourish a body.
    1334 days ago
    so very sad about your experience in the school read somewhere that they were saying Mrs Obama had no right to interfere in the children's food
    1336 days ago
    This makes me incredibly sad.
    1337 days ago
    That is considered healthy? I would rather the child have pop rocks! That was probably just to get the child to eat something other than the pop rocks. I also remember the ketchup being considered a veg. Happened right after I started school and ketchup everywhere and on everything. Now I don't care for it. Ortatk, you could advocate that happen again. You may be retired, but still have connections (once a school person, always a school person).

    I could never get to school in time for breakfast. The parents begged that the times be put up 10 minutes sooner so we could, but because that one parent (my mother) didn't like it, it didn't happen.
    1339 days ago
    I taught elementary school for 33 years and in that time many food plans come and went. The best programs was funded by a grant written by out Cafeteria Manager. In this plan the older kids acted like servers for the younger kids. They brought the food, family style, to the table and helped the younger kids. Food waste was reduced as each child could determine the amount they wanted. There were also seconds for kids who may have not had breakfast or were just hungry that day. Dessert came when all the dishes were cleared from the table. Milk came with the meal The cafeteria was a kinder, quieter place. But, with many good plans that really worked for the kids this one lost its funding. The wonderful manager moved into working in a nursing home, I always thought the old folks must love her too.

    I do not know the answer to this. But, I do know that school lunch is an important part of the day for the children who may not be getting enough at home. AND in this country as great as it is, there are far to many hungry kids in schools.
    1339 days ago
    Let's hear it for real food!
    1339 days ago
    I make and take lunch every day.
    1339 days ago
    So glad we took our lunches most of the time!
    1340 days ago
    We are lucky to have choices. The kids in our district get 3 choices for entree...a veg, a fruit and low fat milk. The entrees aren't so bad either.
    1340 days ago
  • no profile photo CHRISTOPHER63
    The USDA can't be advocates for Farmers and agri business.( Which I totally support by the way!) It needs to be advocates for healthy nutrition to be responsible for school meal programs
    1340 days ago
    How sad is that? I would be packing my child's lunch
    1340 days ago
    1340 days ago
  • MARGIEB221
    emoticon emoticon
    1340 days ago
    It is a real shame that this is how it is. If I had kids in school, I would want them to take their lunch so that I could ensure healthy and nutritious food.
    1340 days ago
  • no profile photo BONDMANUS2002
    1340 days ago
    It is so sad when parents who provide HEALTHY well balanced lunches end up having them GARBAGED for school fast food frenzies!!! & we wonder when children are so zonked out with the sugar & fat & SALT they receive...the morbid obesity rate of children today is ALARMING!
    1340 days ago
    1340 days ago
    When I was young,I got to work in the school cafeteria.I remember one meal specifically. This was because a fly took a nosedive in my mashed potatoes and gravy with chicken or turkey. They were wonderful about giving me a new serving, but then I could;t eat it LOL. LOL. Actually they had a real four or six course meal. Yes, there was jello and cake, but it had salad, fruit, milk, and the food groups. It was hearty. Most of the kids polished it off.

    I've learned several things. Some cafeterias no longer cook. They get something brought in and they warm it up. Also there is a group called,Meals on Wheels for elderly and disabled. These used to be much nicer meals. Since they no longer have a kitchen, they bring in these pre-fab meals. Basically, much of this is institutionalized cooking

    .I was amazed some of the foods they served in skilled nursing. The gravy is extremely salty for one thing. One dietitian where my mom lived, tried to improve things I inquired about her... one social worker said, " oh we got rid of her ".

    However, I was told, that when Michelle Obama managed to revamp the system in some areas... many of the kids threw it away. There had to be some that liked it...

    Having said, all that... some schools have some healthy snacks in vending machines. Maybe you can do something besides packing the kids lunch.

    One thing I found as a teacher... some parents will bring several choices of snacks for events.
    1340 days ago
    It's all about perspective, isn't it. Sounds like your school needs Jaime Oliver intervention. Sigh.
    1340 days ago
  • LSIG14
    I totally agree - but what's even worse is food choices in our hospital cafeteria. With many restaurants working to come up with healthier fare, it seems to me that schools and hospitals should take the lead!!
    1340 days ago
  • JUNETTA2002
    1340 days ago


    1340 days ago
    Ugh, I get it. The only real way to make sure your kid is consuming healthy is to pack a lunch. I used to go through the lunch calendar with my daughter and we would talk about healthy choices ahead of time. I tried to make sure there were healthy options to make lunch if there was something she didn't like on the menu. Sometimes there are healthy options, but the kids pick the hot dogs instead. Hopefully, they get healthier as the school year goes on?
    1340 days ago
    So sad
    1340 days ago
  • JIMA64
    Makes you wonder who influences the "nutritionist" that come up with this meal plan. Money or corporate? Thanks for the posting.
    1340 days ago
    Very sad. Thanks for sharing.
    1340 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    Your story makes me crazy. Sadly our children aren't learning about healthy eating or getting healthy foods. Just met with someone from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and they are advocating with the USDA to get healthier food in schools.
    1340 days ago
    1340 days ago
    I would be interested to know what state you live in. When my sister taught in Florida, she described similar food choices. In my district in Illinois, we have much healthier options. Fruit, veggies, nothing fried, whole grains, salad bar, etc. I think our meat options are not the best. Not necessarily fatty, but definitely over processed. Each of our schools feeds over 1200 kids a day, so entree has to be fast. Students are required to take something from each food group. Less are served for breakfast. Omelets, oatmeal, etc. are typical.
    1340 days ago
    I work in a public school system and school lunches contain a fruit and a vegetable. There are no cookies or cakes ever. The school has a wellness policy that school lunches have to follow. There are also sodium guidelines and fat guidelines as well. Sugar content is limited too. These lunches are healthier than the one described here.

    1340 days ago
    Michelle Obama tried to make School Lunches healthier, but our current president repealed those mandates. emoticon
    1340 days ago
  • MAWMAW101
    Having worked in the office of a "School Lunch" provider, I can say when it's all about the money, rules and regulations about nutrition really mean nothing!
    Sadly, greed has taken over any thought of healthy food.
    emoticon I'm sure Betsy DeVos will fix everything!!! emoticon
    1340 days ago
    Some people don't understand nutrition!
    1340 days ago
    It's the same kind of crap they feed the elderly in 'care centers'!
    1340 days ago
    that's the way it is
    1340 days ago
  • GRACED777
    Choices for health have to get better for children as well as adults!
    1341 days ago
    1341 days ago
    That's a terrible lunch! Surely they know better than this? Not a single fruit or vegetable (well, other than the optional ketchup).
    1341 days ago
    Sad thing is school breakfast and lunch are the only meals for some kids. From first time place I worked started serving breakfast, I noticed hot choice was not the way to go. The cereal and milk was the best choice excluding when they got eggs...
    1341 days ago
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