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School Lunch Program

I can honestly say that I have never eaten a school lunch. No, wait…I did, one time, on the first day of 8th grade. I ate a hot dog, weird mashed potatoes, and a Del Monte fruit cup. It didn’t go well. And I can really truly say that I didn’t do it again. Which is one of the main reason I was fasicnated with a blog written by a teacher, who, everyday eats the school lunch and writes about it (http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/). I really could not do that; even take away the fact that I’m a vegetarian – I really could not eat school lunch.

Something else that equally fascinated me was jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution reality show that aired summer of last year. Now that I watched with committed devotion. Previously I had followed Jaime’s journey in England to change the way children ate there (and it wasn’t pretty), so I was very interested to see how the country’s unhealthiest city was going to take his input. Luckily it worked out. Although, I don’t know what was more terrifying, MRM or the kids who eagerly ate it. *shudder*

IT was these two programs combined with my frustration/fascination with what children are eating in school, until the age of 18, to write about it.

Like the current buzz and interest in educational reform, there is more dialogue happening that deals with school lunch. I actually don’t know where it started, truthfully I’m not that concerned. I am concerned about where the dialogue is going. Fed Up With Lunch blog was featured on the Today Show, First Lady Michelle Obama is crusading for home gardens and fresh fruits and vegetables; Michael Pollan, although not directly connected to the food movement in education is a popular advocate of eating better. Even health insurance companies are getting involved. And for good reason…no for an extremely important reason – the health of our children.

The fact that everyone has called lunchtime cafeteria food ‘mystery meat’ is a telling sign. The food that our children are consuming in school can hardly be called food. The amount of preservatives and artificial ingredients is enough to make any adult shriek. But, that isn’t enough. Statistics show that this generation of young children will be the first to not live longer than their parents. I’m frightened by that, and I don’t have any kids. When children eat one-two meals a day at school, we need to be demanding healthier options. And yes, the salad bar has been around for a while — yet why would you eat that when french fries and pizza are available every day as well? Why would you care about your health and weight as a kid or teenager? Education on why eating important is actually more important than providing the healthy options at school.

I know that for all school districts cost is the most important factor. I can’t believe that a Superintendent wants to serve colored milk and count it as healthy dairy, or use ketchup as a vegetable…. And I can’t believe that when you read this article and review some of the resources, that you won’t be moved to talk to your school about what your kids are eating.

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Resources

Lunch News Story from the Today Show
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40698190/ns/today-today_health/?GT1=43001

* Rethinking Schools Articles

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/restrict.asp?path=archive/20_04/feed204.shtml

http://www.rethinkingschools.org/restrict.asp?path=archive/20_04/futu204.shtml

*Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/10/AR2009081003126_2.html?g=0

http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/

Jaime Oliver’s Food Revolution
http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution

Secret Teacher blog – Fed Up With School Lunch
http://fedupwithschoollunch.blogspot.com/

Jaime Oliver on Oprah
http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Jamie-Olivers-Mission-to-Change-Americas-Eating-Habits-Video
http://www.oprah.com/packages/food-revolution.html

Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/14/nyc-kids-dish-on-their-lu_n_762856.html

First Lady Michelle Obama’s Campaign for a Healthy Lifestyle
http://www.letsmove.gov/

School Lunches
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/13/school-lunches-to-get-hea_n_808448.html

Taking Time to Eat
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/slowing-down-school-lunch/

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