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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Students are not obese because they are eating school lunch



There's about 5.6 million things I didn't know before I started working in a school cafeteria.  For example, did you know that school nutrition employees use the words Meat/Meat Alternate frequently?

Did you know Mac & Cheese is a meat alternate?

Did you know that a chicken patty sandwich, one of the most coveted of all cafeteria meals, qualifies as a meat and three grains?  Each part of the bun is considered one grain and the breading on the chicken another.

New USDA regulations require us to limit grains to 8-10 servings a week.  I just used up three on that chicken patty sandwich.

You are going to see a lot more beans this year and a lot more leafy greens.  What you won't see is cheese on the broccoli, or rice krispy treats, or low fat smores.

The likelihood that we will have crackers for soup = slim.

My hope is that kids will still buy.  That kids will try the asparagus and maybe a small few of them will like it.  I am hoping that by offering the kids a heaping cup of fresh strawberries and blueberries top with a fat free dollop of whipped topping they will forget that we no longer have pudding.

If you want to know the truth, I'm still trying to get my brain around all the changes. 

Many of them are for the positive.

That being said, I must conclude with a small soap box moment. 

STUDENTS ARE NOT OBESE BECAUSE THEY ARE EATING SCHOOL LUNCH.

Students are obese because they are continuously drinking soda.  How much sugar is in your kids Mt. Dew?  Answer: 21 teaspoons

Students are obese because they think potato chips and fruit snacks are veggies and fruit.  Many of them can't tell the difference between a pea and a green bean.  They think pears are rotten apples.  They think blueberries are baby grapes.  They are obese because they are unaware that bananas come in peels.

We, as a whole, are addicted to our computers, our phones, our laptops, our ipads, our ipods. 

We eat more and more and move less and less.

While I realize that eating healthy is difficult, it is not impossible.  We are raising the first generation of children not predicted to outlive the generation before.

AND IT HAS LITTLE TO NOTHING TO DO WITH SCHOOL LUNCH.


5 random thoughts:

Monkey Man said...

no one does a soap box like you do my friend....and to all you said I say Amen :)

Anonymous said...

I'll be honest...The stuff I see on the school lunch menu for my kids, most times, disturbs me a bit. Lots of sodium, preservatives, stuff passed off as a vegetable that is terribly far-removed from a garden... I hear that our middle school even has a slushie machine, and pizza, cookies, and high-sugar drinks available every day! That being said, here's what I do...pack my kids a lunch, daily. After all, I do have that option, right? I know that there are some who may not have that option (Kids who really need that free or reduced-cost lunch, as it may be their only meal for the day), but I'd say that most people probably do. Typically, I pack a sandwich on whole wheat bread, skim milk, maybe a cheese stick or yogurt, something crunchy, and a piece of fresh fruit or some veggies. Occasionally but not daily, I'll add in a treat...once a week, perhaps. They do buy about twice a month..Pizza day is a favorite, of course, and though I know that the pizza served is frozen, and full of preservatives, sodium, etc., and that my kids will not likely eat anything else on their tray that day, it's just one or two days out of the month. True, packing takes time, and after working all day and shuttling kids to activities, I often think "Craapp!! I STILL have to make lunches!!," and I admit that I LOVE a pizza day on a Monday or right after a holiday, but all-tolled, it probably only takes 15 or 20 minutes. I am not trying to come off as one of those "My kids eat only whole grains, organic everything, and beg for seconds of brussel sprouts" kind of parents. My kids like burgers and fries as much as any other kid, and they turn their noses up at most green veggies. I guess my point is that I agree...School lunches are not making kids obese. We, as parents, have choices. We can (most of us, anyway) choose to actually pack our kids a lunch. We can actually decide what foods are kept in our house and what is not. We do not keep soda in our house. If we go out and our kids want to have soda a couple of times a month, however, we allow that (Just started to allow it recently, anyway, with our 9 year old, figuring that if we kept soda off limits totally after he kept asking to try it, as an adult he'd end up hoarding the stuff and drinking it all day, every day.) So again, I agree. School lunches are not the cause of obesity in children. I wish that all school lunches looked like those served up by Jamie Oliver on Food Revolution, and that kids would eventually learn to accept and actually like those types of lunches, but I don't see that happening any time soon. I'd feel a lot better about having my kids buy if that were the case. But would that solve the obesity problem? Probably not, because as you point out, kids would likely still be getting soda, fast food, and sitting around on the couch at home.

Miss Kendra said...

From one child nutrition worker to another: Amen.

Pat said...

It's nice to see that schools are changing the eating habits of kids, but it still starts at home.

Kristie Maynard said...

I totally get it Kisa! My kids did buy a lot of school lunches, most days as a matter of fact and they made some good and some not as good choices. I totally agree that it isn't the school lunches that are doing it. You know that old saying about you can lead a horse to water? So true and if they don't get the teaching and the right foods at home and don't get off the couch and start moving they will continue to be obese. And believe me, I know that it's a lot easier to lose the wt. when you get older.

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kisatrtle
I'm a 41 year old (gasp) freelance writer, school cafeteria manager, wife and mother. I have three children and one anxious and overweight beagle. I use my blog to make others laugh, to share some cool crafts, to document my lunchlady adventures and to lament about the challenges faced by us all on the journey called life. Thanks for visiting. Please leave some crack...um...I meant some comments.
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