School starts far too soon. It’s time to buy our school supplies, pick out some school clothes, and dust off the lunch box.
What exactly are you going to feed your kids this year? Or better yet, what will you be feeding yourself?? Sure—you can buy lunch every day but, is it really cost effective? And how healthy are the options?
School Cafeteria Lunches
It is pretty obvious from the public outcry that almost everyone knows how important this meal is. There have now been political movements aimed at eliminating French fries from school menus. Things are actually improving a little, but do you really know what your kids are eating? Have you read the menus or asked? I’ve been sad to learn how poorly our kids are fed.
Last spring my daughter started attending a preschool that offered a hot lunch every day. Though initially this seemed like a terrific bonus, I noticed that this one meal was having a significant impact on her eating habits. I started asking questions and looked into their menu descriptions. Though the menu read juice, she was served bright red fruit punch (from the powdery mix); when it said mixed fruit, it really meant from a can—packed in heavy syrup; the turkey they served (the healthiest sounding of all options) was really just a slice of sandwich meat. So, these seemingly healthy options were packed with artificial flavors, artificial colors, high fructose corn syrup, and sodium nitrates. I try to avoid these foods at home, why would I want them to be fed to her on a regular basis at school? I won’t even mention that they introduced her to Oreos and the long-term impact of that little habit.
Fortunately, my son is older and after eight years of my constant preaching to make good food decisions, he really does try to choose wisely. I really don’t let him buy lunch often, but when I do he reports what he ate proudly after school. “Mom, I chose healthy…I got a slice of pizza but I had corn and apple sauce with it instead of tater tots”. At least he’s trying, but that really isn’t a well-balanced lunch. Sadly, his school has opted to serve tater tots… as a French fry alternative. They can now brag that they are French fry free, but honestly—tater tots aren’t any better! Chips, ice cream, and soft drinks are always available for purchase at the register—why would an elementary student need these options?
Its time to examine you strategy and prepare for the school year so you pass with flying colors when it comes to nutrition.