Sunday, January 29, 2012

Most Important Book for Parents

School lunches are often overlooked by parents.  Perhaps some parents really don't care, but for many others, school lunch is something never seen.

Our kids are not yet of an age where school lunch is an option, but it is a worry.  And it should be for anyone with OR without kids.  Kids fed well have better test scores and school attendance -- a major plus for society in the long-term.

A year ago I received an empty school hamburger patty box for moving some household stuff.  I was grateful for the box, but was mortified that the ingredients said 80-some-percent beef.  What!?  Why isn't a hamburger patty 100% beef and what was the mysterious unstated filler?  McDonald's patties are 100% beef.  Not quality beef, but 100%.

The USDA determines what is acceptable for our kids to eat for lunch and private companies help fulfill those requirements through awkward pairings like pizza sauce being classified as a vegetable or a flavored ice-pop being classified as a fruit.

In a word. the food our kids get at school is pure junk or "rubbish" as Jamie Oliver says.

I read (in one night) a book titled "Fed Up with Lunch".  It is written from a Chicago school teacher who, for one year, ate school cafeteria food and blogged about it each day.  I think for many, the food selection will shock them.  I certainly think it will spur some people to action to try and find solutions for the woefully inadequate nutrition our kids receive.

If you really dig into how school lunches and the infamous food pyramid are developed, you will find a money-trail that leads from Congress back to the manufacturers/growers of certain types of food.  I find this disturbing.  Our health -- our kids health -- traded for profits and campaign contributions.

Solutions are not easy and regulations make many options unsuitable.  But, solutions start by being aware and I encourage everyone to read this book followed by Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma and help find solutions to better feed our kids.

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