Saturday, May 21, 2011

News of the Day - Schools - Arghhh

And now for something completely crazy!  If I had 2 million dollars to reform school lunch, how would I spend it?  I would hire extra staff to prepare fresh fruit, cook actual potatoes (not fries, hashbrowns or tater tots), and prepare food that is fresh and wholesome.  Here is how San Antonio Schools are spending the money!

 (Thanks to Weighty Matters for the news brief!)

A couple of years back, Jamie Oliver worked to reform the school dinner program in England.  There were news stories of parents standing outside the school-yard fence to hand their kids fish and chips.  Since then, people love to blame parents for the trouble with what kids eat at school.  I think that is a bunch of bologna.

I can tell you from my own experience of parenting children who have been parented by others that kids eat what you serve them.  At home, the kids are thrilled for a "snack" that is an orange, an apple, watermelon, carrots, or some baked good that is made from whole grains and little or no added sugar.  Yet when they were visiting weekly with their bio-mom, they were also thrilled with the french fries, soda and pastries she brought to the visits.  I am under no illusion;  if you put a pop-tart and an apple in front of my kids, they'd probably choose the pop-tart.  But if you give them a choice between an apple or melon, they do not say, "No, I want a pop-tart!"

School is a huge part of a child's life.  Why can't schools model healthy eating?  In fact, I daresay that if we do not redeem our school food programs, we will not defeat the obesity epidemic in this country.  I agree that children need choices.  But that choice can be between an apple and an orange, it does not have to be a choice of pastries. 

Yes, it will cost more, in the short term.  We have to be able to look at the long term.  What will be the cost of all the obesity related health issues and diseases our country is facing and that continue to expand exponentially year after year?  Get real, San Antonio!