Wednesday, October 21, 2009

School Lunch Overhaul

I am hoping school lunches that are not nutritious do get an overhaul. It would be great to be able to send my kids to school without packing a lunch everyday. However, I do worry that if the food is healthy, but doesn't taste good they won't eat all day. Do you pack your kid's lunch? Is the hot lunch at your child's school healthy?

FROM NBC: More on kids and health: The prestigious Institute of Medicine recommended a big overhaul in this country's school lunch programs: way less salt, fat and calories; way more fruits and vegetables. And it doesn't stop there.
lunch time in America's schools: with pizza, meatballs and chicken nuggets a regular on many menus, the Institute of Medicine today said it's time for a dietary make-over. (Mary Kay Fox/Institute of Medicine School Lunch Cmte) "Cutting down on sodium, moderating calories, while at the same time, encouraging the foods we're not eating enough of."

While the nation's schools serve lunch to 30-million kids, and breakfast to 10-million, the cafeteria standards haven't been updated in 14-years. The new recommendations call for school lunches to offer
-2-and-a-half to 5 fruit servings each week. -up to 2-and-a-half servings of vegetables each week. -9-13 servings of of grain with at least half in whole grains. -skim milk. And in addition to minimum calorie suggestions, for the first time - age specific calorie ceilings too:

(Tom Costello/NBC News/Bethesda, MD) "But implementing all those ideas will likely mean school lunch programs will get more expensive. Since MORE whole grain wheats, more fruits and more vegetables will also mean more money."

The researchers want the USDA, which administers school lunch programs to help pick up the tab. School lunches started as a way to provide good meals for under-nourished children. But today, 17% of school kids are obese. In the Los Angeles unified school district, where the central kitchen prepares 650-thousand meals a day, they cut salt, sodas and switched to more fruits, veggies & whole grains 3 years ago.

(David Binkle/Los Angeles School District Deputy Food Svs Director)
"We've really worked to ensure that the adoption of those elements are something that students like. Because if they don't like the food, it doesn't matter how healthy it is." If the USDA accepts the new recommendations, they could take 10 years to which time, most of today's school kids will have left school.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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