My BlogSchools Ditching “Healthy” Options. wait. What?
I’m not sure if you heard the blip on the local news about the decision of many schools to ditch healthier options for the lunch menu, but when I heard it, I was saddened. The reason they gave: it was too costly. They were losing money because kids were simply not eating it. The cafeteria trash cans were filling up with broccoli and grilled chicken. I understand our school’s desire to optimize our tax dollars and ensure our kids are getting their bellies filled while under their care. HOWEVER… here are some of my concerns and general responses…
1.) Obviously this dilemma, as most, have their roots at home. Kids are spitting out the nutritious foods because their gag reflexes are kicking in. And mine would too if my palate was conditioned to crave nothing but fried chicken and moon pies. When more parents actually become concerned about their kids’ physical health to the point of cleaning out the fridge and cabinets and start giving their families what they NEED instead of what they want or demand, it will be much easier for schools to offer them something with some nutrition without finding it in the garbage can. At home, our little one gets daily does of veggies and grilled chicken or fish. Her dessert is usually fruit, and she get an occasional snack in the form of a cookie or candy. Very occasional. She almost always takes her lunch, but if she did decide to eat in the cafeteria and they served grilled chicken and asparagus, she wouldn’t have a problem because she’s used to it.
2.) So parent’s refuse to feed with discretion, does this mean schools simply roll over and give up? Is the correct response to simply give in and start giving kids what they want when what they want contributes to failing health? Absolutely not! The correct response is to hold your ground and say, “If you want twinkies and pizza for lunch, it will have to come from home.” I certainly do not want my girl’s teacher to tell me, “Well, she just didn’t want to do math, so I just let her color smiley faces.” No, I want to them to keep dishing out the arithmetic even if she has to endure it kicking and screaming.
3.) The schools claim that excessive cost has forced them to return to serving our kids unhealthy food. First, isn’t their health worth it? It’s worth it for me to both feed my body and my family healthy food even if it means paying more. Second, if you can’t afford it, make cuts elsewhere. I could probably get cheaper gas to put in my car, but the damage it would do to my engine would not be worth it. I’ll go ahead and pay more for more quality so I’m not paying for a new engine down the road. Maybe I’ll hand wash it next time instead of taking it through the automatic wash, and plan fewer trips around town to save some money. But the path of least resistance is not at the pump. Each school will decide how and where they can make cuts, but let the food be reserved for last. Feed our kids quality and they give be quality and give quality. Fuel will be reflected in output.