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Friday, October 7, 2011

Do School Lunches Measure Up?

I was excited to see a segment on Good Morning America this week about a teacher who began to blog about the school lunches which she felt were less than desirable.  The majority of the kids at her school receive free or reduced lunches, meaning that lunch at school might be their best meal of the day.  Yet what are schools serving up but fat, salt, highly processed foods and empty calories?  I even give my local schools a less than stellar grade on the lunches they serve though they have improved a tiny bit lately.  Let's look at a sample from this week from two different schools:  Clux Delux Chicken sandwich with RF chips; Mac n cheese and beef sticks; Mystery beans, apple wedges, juice bar and choice of milk; Hot dog, potato wedge, pickles, crisp rice square; Mac n cheese, black eyed peas, cornbread, peaches and gelatin.  I don't know about you but I very curious about beef sticks and mystery beans.  Any food with the word "mystery" in front of it is immediately suspicious and probably to be avoided in my mind.

I'd like to see more fresh fruit and raw veggies offered at schools.  I'd certainly like to know that a "choice of milk" meant 2% or skim, not chocolate or strawberry which usually contain more sugar than a soda.  I'd like to see chicken nuggets outlawed all together and a nice chicken leg or breast on the tray instead.  There are healthier ways to cook potatoes other than frying them too.  I'd like to see food served that kids actually want to eat that won't leave their arteries clogged and their waists bloated.

This week I made lunch for 6 of my son's friends because they were all longing to eat whatever he brought that day.  They were tired and disgusted with the school lunches and wanted something fresh and different.  I made a ham salad sandwich on wheat bread with lettuce, grapes and pretzels.  They were so excited and grateful.  It didn't really take more than 20 minutes to assemble 8 lunches that morning.  Some of it could have been done the night before but it shows a healthy lunch isn't hard to make.  Though I can't do it every day, I plan to make them another lunch soon with a turkey, avocado and red onion sandwich to see their reactions.

Are you concerned about what your children eat at school?  If so, get involved.  Let the school board know you expect better for our kids.  If you'd like to check out that teacher's blog, go to  She also has a book out this week.  We can improve our own health with our actions!

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