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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Public School Lunch Fiasco

To be fair, this is not directed towards the schools themselves, but rather the mandates that are handed down to them.

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution was more of a "revelation". Sure, I loved the show and it pointed to weak areas in the school lunch program...but as the show progressed you noticed it was more about food choices, availability, genes, culture, and economics outside of the school system than the actual school food itself!

In public school most children, if not all, are NOT overweight and/or unhealthy because of their food choices at school. Even before the government started changing the requirements of school lunch (and breakfast) when have you EVER known a person that became overweight, obese, or unhealthy solely because of their school lunch or breakfast? We were eating long before we started kindergarten so lets not be so bold as to say the school system is responsible for our food choices and health...But maybe they should be held responsible for trying to force their "solution" to the problem on us! In essence they are now guilty of diminishing our freedom, right?

[start satire] Let's recap what we have learned the last few years from reading the daily headlines. I think we will find that maybe, just maybe problems with our schools lunches may indeed be created by the school system itself!
  • Bad lunches, not enough calories, and absurdities created by the overhaul. Google: "School Lunches Michelle Obama" 
  • PE (physical education) now consists of mostly non-physical activity because of "unfairness", injury, bullying, competition(that encourages a "negative" aggression?)...et cetera. Or, we have given electives to opt out of PE.
  • Parents complaints of school having so much homework the kids never get to play outside before it gets dark! [although depending on your research and statistics you use, this is considered a myth. Not that it doesn't happen, but that the percentage is less than 13%]
So help me figure this out, we take away almost all the physical from "physical education". Then we burden our kids with so much homework there's no time to play outside. But now we are concerned with their health enough to reconstruct school lunches with lackluster choices and poor calorie content? Of course! They no longer need high calorie content because they have very little physical activity during and after school! (Unless of course you are involved in school sports!) But wait! There's more! Maybe BECAUSE they took away so much physical activity in PE and gave them so much homework THAT'S when those prior high calorie school lunches started giving our children health problems, weight gain, and sluggish school performance? [end satire]

As in most situations its easy to complain, be the critic, and rant over a perceived injustice without actually being part of the solution or offering to help! SO here are a few suggestions towards a more suitable solution to this problem...

WHAT IF?
  • What if we put the physical back in physical education and make it mandatory (no opting out unless its medical)...thirty minutes to an hour of exercise does not have to be competitive, unfair, or allow for bullying. Remember jumping jacks, squats, running in place, using the medicine ball...? 
  • Decrease the amount of homework to promote more after school physical activity and school sports? [Won't we get more productive results on school work done IN SCHOOL when the body is well fed and invigorated?] 
  • And last, but not least...remove as much processed food from school lunch as we can while maintaining the calorie count of "yesterday". [More Jamie Oliver, less Michelle Obama]

If food doesn't taste good and its not an enjoyable choice for children, its thrown in the trash! Wasted food, wasted money! We still have the freedom to pack their lunch, but if we don't start fighting somewhere they may start regulating that!