I am a creature of habit. This is especially true in regards to my food. I have eaten the exact same breakfast for over a decade. I do the same thing with lunches. I ate a sliced apple with peanut butter for lunch every week day for 8 years while working in the public school system. I found it to hassle free and the easiest lunch to pack and eat. Teachers are lucky if they get 5-10 minutes to
cram food in their mouth eat during the school day, so this was ideal for me.
As soon as I quit that rat race (just to pick up another one) my apple/pb lunch disappeared. I seriously have not had an apple in more than two years–until this past week. I have no idea why I bought them during my last grocery trip, but I am glad I did!
I knew I didn’t want to eat them plain, so I decided to get creative and used Philip’s whining as motivation. Whine #1: “we never have any chips in this house. Football is on, where are the chips?” and whine #2: “I need some jelly. You made biscuits, where is the jelly?”. Umm, husband, we never have chips or jelly in the house.
Yeh, these two items take a long time to cook, but it’s basically hands-off time. The verdict….well, Philip gave the apple chips a snobby look and didn’t try them! I can’t say I’m that surprised and they were not meant to replace real chips. However, if you are a fan of dehydrated fruit then try these! I thought they tasted just like the expensive ones sold in stores. The apple butter was great and approved by Philip! It disappeared fast and I’m going to attempt canning some soon. That either just made me sound really domesticated or extremely lame.
My talking/writing about school lunches made me think of this article I saw last week. A school has banned parents from sending lunches with their kids, thus forcing the kids to eat
crap, mystery, processed cafeteria food. (A doctor excuse will lift this ban for specific kids). Here’s the letter:
Are you kidding me?! It’s no secret that I am a food snob. Hence, Philip’s
incessant whining about our pantry. (umm, hello, he has a vehicle and can drive himself to the grocery store at any time. ) Anyway, I’ve never eaten at the cafeteria anywhere I’ve worked (hello, apples and pb). A lot of my students prefer(ed) to bring their lunch as well. I can’t imagine being told (as a teacher or student) that I had to eat the school’s lunch. That’s ridiculous! Oh, there is nothing special about that school’s lunch. It’s your typical mystery chicken nuggets, tater tots, syrup fruit, pizza square, and chocolate rock cookie.
Side note: I realize that not all schools serve lunches like this, but a majority do. A huge majority do.
So why are some schools forcing students to eat their lunch? MONEY. Duh. It was explained that schools lose money when students don’t eat the school’s lunch. This money comes from the USDA, yet the lunches aren’t even meeting USDA guidelines! WHAT? This study showed that only 6% of US school lunch programs meet the USDA requirements. 94% of US schools’ lunches exceeded the designated fat calorie allowance of 30% and had twice the allotted sugar and sodium content!! WHAT?! Um, no wonder childhood obesity is skyrocketing and attention spans are dwindling. The kids are being fed “food” that’s doused in saturated fat and sugar. Fact: Human brains and bodies can’t function properly on chemicals/man-made/processed food.
While the above stats may not reflect your child’s nutritional situation, it is the sad, sad truth for A LOT of kids. I have taught LOTS of kids that ONLY attended school for the food. They were served breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack at school. Some were even given weekend food. The problem…they were getting crap nutrients. So, so pitiful.
Here’s another thing. (Nope, not done yet). This study shows the USDA provides schools with 180 commodity foods (grains such as rice and pasta, meats and cheeses, fruits and vegetable). That sounds great, right? Real food. Here’s where it gets stupid!! More than half of those commodity foods are sent to processors before they are sent to schools. Processing these foods adds fat, sugar and sodium. So cheese goes on pizza, poultry becomes chicken nuggets, and fruit shows up in a dessert item.
UGH! Just leave the real food alone! Oh, but they can’t just leave it alone! Schools don’t have the freezer/fridge capacity to house fresh food. Therefore, fresh food has to be processed/chemically altered it so it can sit in a cardboard box on a room-temp shelf for an eternity if needed.
Ok, here’s the take away: Food is fuel. How can we expect our kids to perform at max level when they are fueled at the minimum level. ANDDD how can teachers be evaluated and paid based on these kids’ performances when they can’t do anything about the dang fueling!?!
You’re welcome. I can go on forever, as can Jamie Oliver. I am a HUGE fan of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution project. He is so passionate about the ridiculous state of US school lunches that he made a video series of his attempt to change the system. If you have never seen clips of the series check it out on You Tube. I forced my nutrition class watch the entire series a few years ago. That material truly impacted them because they still mention it to me.
Speaking of eating crap food…..Af and Lac still enjoy their daily white bread! They get fed other stuff, too, no worries about them not getting all their nutrients. They are so much fun and have the cutest personalities. Um, they are definitely spoiled. 🙂
And to make up for my past Izzy-less post….here is a video of her and Warrior’s nighty bedtime routine. IDK why she does it, but this goes on for several minutes every night.
Ok, contribute….school lunches and student nutrition….thoughts?