I just read a report on CNN that congress has passed a bill to make school lunches more healthy. It's about time. The school lunches at our school are atrocious. I imagine they are much the same at most public schools. Every Monday is "processed chicken day". It's served as either patties, nuggets or strips. They are highly processed, breaded, salted and high in fat. We have pizza, hot dogs, french fries and maxi sticks. Maxi sticks are bread sticks stuffed with processed cheese.
One of the things that really bugs me is flavored milks. It's not bad enough to serve fatty milk every day. Now we serve it laden with sugar in the form of chocolate and strawberry milk.
In the high school where I worked last year, they had a snack line. Many kids opted for that line because they could get lunch in a reasonable amount of time. The regular line would cause them to be late for class. The snack line served things like Combos. When my health class analyzed snacks according to the food labels, Combos consistently came up as one of the least healthy snacks you could eat.
I am sure if we fed healthier food to our kids at school, they would be better behaved, have a longer attention span and do better academically. The new guidelines would set upper limits on calories depending upon the age of the child. Older kids would have a 600 calorie upper limit for lunch, younger kids would have a 650 calorie upper limit. Fresh fruits and vegetables would have to be included every day. Wheat bread would replace white bread and milk would have to be skim or 1%
Although the new lunch guidelines aren't perfect, (Tomato paste, french fries and tater tots are considered vegetables) it is a step in the right direction. With a 17% national childhood obesity rate it needs to be a step our nation takes.
To see a before and after the bill lunch comparison click here.