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Junk Food For Lunches


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dedee44 May 28, 2008


My grandson lives with us and I was shocked when I started looking at the school menu's for our kids! It's terrible...no wonder there are so many overweight children...look what the schools are feeding them!


My grandson's school menu consists of Pizza, Hamburgers, Hot dogs, Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips,  AND this is all basically pre-made stuff...or ordered in!


I know my generation things were different but sometimes that is a better way. Why when I went to school we had hot lunches that were actually cooked from scratch at school. They served us things like roast beef and potatoes and carrots, fried chicken and baked french fries, or turkey and dressing with all the trimmings, baked ham and baked beans, speghetti and garlic bread, ....the same sort of things normal people ate and cooked then. When we ate lunch we were full...we didn't have to run to the pantry or fridge as soon as we got home from school for snack, because we were so famished! Our lunch did us until supper time.


When and why did the school systems decide that good healthy meals were no longer the way to go? 


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Child_Of_Ra May 28, 2008


Schools don't have the values that *some* of us parents and grandparents have. But I don't think many parents have the values that you and I have!

I look at what my daughter's friends' parents serve for dinner and snacks and I'm shocked! Sleepovers are filled with candy and junkfood and no meals - no kidding, some have no meals at all! Where a parent gets the idea that this is healthy or assumes this would be acceptable to me (or any other parent) is beyond me!

Even when I explain that my daughter has hypoglycemia and what it means and how she needs to eat, they still do this. It's irresponsible. When their kids come to our home, I prepare healthy dinners, breakfasts and lunches. Sometimes, I'll get pizza, it depends on the occasion & how many kids I have over. But I don't serve a bunch of junk, or gobs of candy (candy & cookies isn't something I have in my home), and I always have tons of healthy food at my house. My fridge is always loaded with fresh, healthy foods.

When so many parents don't care about this subject, how can the schools be held accountable? We're the ones who have to lay down the law and make the change. Unfortunately, too many moms & dads out there are too busy to cook a decent meal or don't know how to cook at all - which is totally unacceptable and easily changed with a cooking class.

Luckily, the new school my daughter will be attending in fall cooks their own food, from scratch, and has no fried food on the menu. French fries are baked and made from fresh potatoes. They have a professional kitchen. I was very happy to see this when they gave me a tour of the lunch room & kitchen. They were very proud of their kitchen. This is a public school. But this school also has a full time staff nurse too (which I hear is rare these days!)

I think a grassroots campaign to change hot lunches needs to begin, because YOU are right! Our kids are getting more and more unhealthy, and school certainly isn't helping with their processed junk foods.

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Cinderbell May 28, 2008


Districts claim that serving this pre-made, greasy garbage is less expensive. If they get this junk they pass off as food, sent in, they don't have to pay kitchen staff the time to actually make the meals, they only pay them the time it takes to serve and clean up.

My girls only get hot lunch twice a week as here, they too, serve nothing but junk every day, ie, tacos, nachos, pizza, burgers....greasy garbage I would rather not have clogging their arteries at such an early age.

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hopkinsatl May 28, 2008


It's definitely time for a revolution in this particular area, I agree with the consensus that school lunches are horrible and definitely unhealthy for kids.

Here in Georgia, the school system in Fulton County is served by a large, national food distributor, whom I'm sure, has a sizable contract with the county. It concerns me that not too much attention is paid on using local vendors for produce and that the majority of meals are prepared using processed foods with high levels of sugar, salt, and other health hazards.

I don't buy the argument that this saves money, because the long-range costs associated with health problems brought on by poor nutrition, which they unwittingly contribute to here by this practice, outweighs any additional cost by purchasing and serving fresh foods from the outset. It also starts a lot of children with unhealthy eating habits that they may carry for the rest of their lives.

Children are discouraged from using appliances such as a microwave (which most use at home anyway) which limits me from sending hot meals for my child, but this is mostly a problem in elementary and some middle schools.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has children who come home famished! At one time, I actually thought the kids weren't eating at all (sometimes they weren't because the food was nasty according to them)!

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MagnetMom May 28, 2008


Schools are faced with two problems: feeding a large amount of children in a relatively short period of time AND feeding those children something they will eat. If it's a public school, it's even more challenging when you see they must feed those children for around $2 per child. I'm attaching an article with more stats: http://www.laist.com/2007/12/26/lausd_learns_th.php

People who are shocked at what schools serve, should stand over the trash cans and see what is thrown away. That's probably worse.

In my case, I choose to send a lunch to school every day--it's fairly balanced when it leaves here. My daughter, eager to play, will rush through an item or two and bring the rest home and be famished. At least her school lets/makes her return it home so I know what she's eating (or not). Without it, I'd wonder if the child had a tapeworm, when in reality she's just got a case of wiggle worms. :)

School boards are eager to hear parents' opinions on this issue as are the cafeteria people. But healthy food thrown away isn't going to help anyone.

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MSMomm May 28, 2008


I just heard this morning on NPR that one in every three children are considered fat. Here's a link, if you're interested:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90880182
Although obesity in children and teens has plateaued, there are too many kids and teens who are still obese. My son buys his lunch everyday at school, and he only eats what he wants, like the chicken nuggets or the pizza. They also serve some healthy foods, like bags of carrots, but he doesn't want that. Of course, he comes home famished.
The schools can put a little more effort into meal planning. There are some middle schools and high schools that offer salad bars. That would be a start.

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hopkinsatl May 28, 2008


I can see your point, MagnetMom, children do waste a lot of the food but that's because it's simply not appetizing or appealing. Conversely, not every child is going to eat what the others eat -- what my children might find delicious, some may not -- children do have quirky palates.

But I think the general consensus is that most schools could do a better job of providing healthier offerings to the children and I don't the cost would be any greater than what they're currently spending.

By utilizing volume purchasing and seasonal meal planning, most schools could accomplish some changes to their menus to benefit the students' health, as pointed out by MSMomm.

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Child_Of_Ra May 30, 2008


Lunches are getting shorter in time over the years. What happened to getting an hour? That gives time for the kids to eat and play a little - at least in the elementary levels where playing outside doesn't mean trouble.
I even had an hour in High School, but we had an open campus where we could leave and go to a nearby restaurant to eat lunch (which was great, because even though we had an extensive choice of food from burgers and fries, all sorts of pastas, pizzas & a huge salad bar, and a giant dessert bar - it all was disgusting.)... But it also gave us the opportunity to ditch the next class if we wanted to.

I think that providing healthy - BUT TASTY - food is the key. Obviously, 98% of kids are not going to eat whole wheat berries and protein shakes with soy lecithin and a shot of wheat grass. :-) That's not what any of us mean when we say healthy. But these grease pits that are serving food that tastes like cardboard soaked in rancid oil is not a viable option either.

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MagnetMom May 30, 2008


My daughter brown bags it, but my son who's graduating has an even more pressing issue at his school. Since they get out for the day at 1:12, they're eating "brunch" at 11. He can't face the stuff they sell, and honestly he'd prefer to hang out in classroom away from the chaos.

We're fortunate that we both work from home, because we can make both kids a good breakfast with a little protein and carbs (egg and cheese bagels), and then my son will wait until 2 when he gets home to eat "real" food. In four years I don't think he's eaten on campus 10 times. According to him the lines are too long, and lunch is just too early there.

At least this way, it's more work on me, but I can see what he's eating.

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Child_Of_Ra May 30, 2008


Are they not teased in a big way for bringing their lunch? In the schools I've been to that had a cafeteria, the kids who brought their own lunches were made outcasts specifically for bringing their own food and their lunches were usually taken away and emptied in the trash by the bullies. Luckily, as disgusting as the food was in these schools, I was either allowed to eat in the lunch line, or given a food allowance to leave to eat (in high school).

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MagnetMom May 30, 2008


Hey Ra,

Not sure if you're asking me or not, but in elementary school, I don't think it's a big deal. Especially with my daughter being in 1st grade, more kids bring than buy. I think most parents are in the same boat--we have no idea what they serve, so at least we can pack something that they'll eat.

I remember when I was in school (a million years ago), it wasn't until 4th or 5th grade that kids started to prefer buying. But I was at a school that actually made meals. Today in my daughter's district everything is a satellite kitchen: made somewhere else, and trucked up to the schools. The thought makes me ill.



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