Reading Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa gave me the strength to say this: I hate school lunches.
There. I said it. I feel better.
Except that I don’t feel better. Not really.
The most recent menu that my oldest son brought home from his elementary school is somewhat appalling. I’m thankful for two things: 1) That our family is financially secure enough that we can send BigBrother to school with a packed lunch every day, and 2) That peer pressure hasn’t yet stepped in and caused him to want to buy his lunch. (Also, with his texture issues and food aversions he has informed me that he has absolutely no desire to eat any of what he has seen thus far. Not even the school pizza. Whew.)
But being able to avoid the problem doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist. We’re fortunate… and not every family is as fortunate as we are. I know that, and it makes me sad that we — as a society, not just my local and surrounding school districts — don’t seem to care more about the nutrition our kids are getting in our schools. I feel ill-equipped to fight this fight myself as I’m fighting issues on other fronts, but I do appreciate the sentiment and challenges brought forth by those who do have the time to take this issue head on.
Read an excerpt from Lunch Wars at the BlogHer Book Club right now. This is probably my favorite point in general (and makes me feel better about what we’re doing at home as well!).
[Myth] Kids need choices so they can learn to make good choices. Offering children unhealthy foods and drinks at school contradicts what they are taught about good nutrition and sends a mixed message. Why shouldn’t all the choices be good choices? We don’t ask kids if they’d rather have recess or math! Limiting choices, especially in the younger grades, helps kids develop a taste for good food, and good eating habits. When kids choose soda, candy, and junk food instead of eating a meal, they don’t get the nourishment they need to learn properly.
[Disclosure: This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.]