August 19, 2007

Food For Thought: School Junketerias

There is nothing like a cloudy and rainy Sunday evening for random web surfing.

With school about to begin across the United States, I thought it would be interesting to see what some schools are offering students for lunch.

A Google search brought up quite a few menus (some current, some from the last month of the 2006-2007 school year). I randomly chose four and cringed.

The results:

This is what students in Virginia's Bedford County schools are in the month of May and June.
Don't see much in the way of dark, leafy green vegetables, legumes, or whole grains. Instead, pizza and french fries are provided every day, while fried fish, chicken nuggets, and hot dogs make almost daily appearances.

Students in District 118 in Illinois were offered the following meals in May and June.
Students are offered white or chocolate milk (I am assuming whole) or flavored juice. Although whole grains appear once in a while, why are children being fed pizza, oven fries, AND a cookie in the same meal?

Over in Decantur, Indiana, the May 2007 school lunch menu at Belmont High School looked like this.
French fries are available every single day, as are baked goods like brownies. Sadly, fruits and vegetables are dressed up with excess sodium (broccoli with cheese sauce) or sugar (apple slices with caramel). Why not pair up apple slices with peanut butter and broccoli with garlic and olive oil?

Finally, Township High School in Arlington Heights, IL is offering these foods to its students this month and next.
Whole grains are completely absent, and one day students have one of three choices for their entree: cheese sticks, chicken nuggets, or pizza (and I'm willing to bet that's "cheez", not "cheese" pizza).

Although students are given the choice of 2 fruit/veggie sides, there are enough not-so-nutritious options (whipped potatoes, jello) to prevent them from getting adequate amounts of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Parents -- I hope you have plenty of brown bags at home.

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