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School Lunches Are Crap!

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Dr. Wendy Walsh: This morning at school, I watched my 7-year-old dig into an unrecognizable white blob called breakfast. It was sort of a pancake, sort of a scone -- and mostly mush. I was curious, so I tasted it myself. As it plopped on my tongue, my mouth was immediately swamped by a paste laced with fake-cinnamon flavor and a ton of sugar. And I still don't know what I ate!

school cafeteria
Sorry to tarnish the name of Thomas Crapper (the famous English plumber who once improved the loo), but I have to say: School lunches deserve to be flushed directly in the crapper, to bypass the middle man. I happen to be a mom who sits at public school with my breakfast eaters, and I have even sampled the cafeteria lunch. Whenever I eat the stuff, all I taste is sugar, salt and fat. What will happen if a generation of kids eats this stuff? 

Actually, the bad effects are already evidencing themselves: Kids are getting fatter than ever. According to a 2009 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study, more than 12 percent of high school students are considered obese, and 78 percent eat fruits and vegetables less than five times per day. 

What's worse, the government's bid to improve school food (the so-called "Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act," which will require schools to meet new nutrition guidelines and expand the number of low-income children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals) is about to expire on September 30th unless mothers band together to get things done. 

Atlanta mom of three Heather Schoenrock, cofounder of Jack's Harvest organic baby food, is one of the loudest voices in the campaign to get the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act passed. Heather, who is a chef, started her company to bring healthy foods to kids. Until school lunches get better, she encourages parents to pack nutritious, homemade lunches and to model healthy eating habits at home. Parents can also e-mail their state representative in support of the Act by clicking here. (If the server's busy, keep trying!)

As for me, I'm going to make some tuna salad with low-fat mayo and spread it on some whole-grain bread for tomorrow's lunchbox. I'm getting the schools out of my kids' tummies!

next: Postpartum Depression: Now for Men, Too!
12 comments so far | Post a comment now
zahmom September 22, 2010, 4:47 AM

The best solution is to pack your children lunches. Also, feed them breakfast at home.

Jennifer September 22, 2010, 5:30 AM

Yeah…I love (NOT) how here in lovely Ohio they continue to feed the kids garbage then claim to have their best interests in mind when they pass a law requiring their BMI to be put on their report card? How about taking the hot dogs and mozzarella sticks off the menu and increasing gym classes to everyday??? Morons.

Jennifer September 22, 2010, 8:11 AM

Also- my daughter tried the school lunch ONCE. It was pizza (how bad can pizza be? Don’t answer that). She never asked to buy lunch at school again AND as if that weren’t enough, she won’t even drink the school milk. She’ll drink milk at home, she’ll even drink skim milk at her grandparents’ house, but don’t try to give her the school milk. Sometimes I wonder if they keep things at the right temperature…my friend’s daughter gets diarrhea and/or vomiting any time she’s tried the school lunch so she won’t buy it anymore either.

amber September 22, 2010, 12:10 PM

its just like the show Jamie Olivers Food Revolution…. school lunches are almost literally crap, take a look at the ingredients of the mostly frozen foods they serve! its DISGUSTING.

Lisa R. September 22, 2010, 1:17 PM

Jennifer, I could not agree w/you more! I hadn’t thought of the oxymoron it is to serve our children the low-nutrition, high-fat crap they do every day, then test them for their BMI & send home a letter telling us if our kids are too fat! Printing it on report cards seems like overkill! Also, I thought school breakfasts were for kids whose parents couldn’t feed them at home or both parents work & they don’t have time in the mornings. If this mother (the author) is going WITH her kids to breakfast at school, why doesn’t she just feed them at home?? That way, she can CONTROL what goes into their bodies. My daughter has never eaten breakfast at school, and I pack her lunch every day because she thinks the school lunch is terrible. I am not a perfect mother by any means, but I am not sending my kid to school with a fistful of money so I don’t have to feed her, then complaining because the school isn’t making sure to feed her a balanced meal. There’s a middle ground there.

XXXX September 22, 2010, 3:45 PM

FEED your own kids!

HeeHee September 22, 2010, 3:56 PM


Jennifer September 22, 2010, 9:02 PM

The kicker is that our school lunches are “designed” by a licensed dietician. I can’t remember her name, but I’m guessing she didn’t graduate at the top of her class.

Mary September 23, 2010, 4:59 AM

Food service companies sell different grades of food “packages” to companies/institutions. The same companies that provide food to schools can also provide food to jails and prisons, depending on area. Have you ever seen how heavy some prisoners are when released? Not the ones who work out all the time while incarcerated, I mean the others. Prisoners are fed on a few dollars a day, the same as students.

IP camera September 30, 2010, 1:44 PM

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