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USDA: Feed your kids like we do!

Posted by nikoleta (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 2, 12 at 18:12

Kids don't like the diet the US government put them on. The kids are tossing twice as much public school cafeteria food in the garbage as they did last year. Government's response? Parents should use school lunches as a "model" for planning meals at home!

FTA: "Responding to concerns that students are throwing away the healthy food on their cafeteria trays, the U.S. Department of Agriculture acknowledged that adapting to the changes "may be challenging at first, as students are introduced to new flavors and foods in the cafeteria.""

FTA: "We know it is important that students get the calories and nutrition they need to stay alert and energized through the day, and schools are doing a number of things to make sure this happens," wrote Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA's deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services."

And they thought they could meet those needs by setting a limit of 850 calories for every high school student! Aided by putting food on the menu that kids won't eat.

Meanwhile, if you're on food stamps you can buy all the cookies and chips you want.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: USDA: Feed your kids like we do!

"Meanwhile, if you're on food stamps you can buy all the cookies and chips you want."

I've always wondered about that. Some variation of the WIC program makes so much more sense, where the recipient is restricted to certain (nutritious) food items.


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Oh jeez, not more of this!


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Okay, I do not know if you all remember cafeteria food. But I sure do. My mom was the 50s Leave it to Beaver mom. She cooked healthy meals I did not know what store brought loaf of bread was because she made her bread yeast rise kneed and all.

My cafeteria food was throw in the garbage eat just enough to kill hunger food. So to blame parents of not cooking healthy good food is crazy. It sits on those hot trays tasteless over cooked stuff. The string beans were mushy all the nutrition cooked out. Not at all like my blanched string beans my mom cooked. Cafeteria food is nasty did they ever consider that reason?


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nik must be on a diet. she seems obsessed with food lately.


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nik must be on a diet. she seems obsessed with food lately

Jersey, no just obsessed and ........


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850 calories with veggies and fruits promoted, should be a satisfying meal. If the kids are used to fast/junk food, they may discard it, but when they realize that is what there is, they may start tasting it. Better to have good food that takes getting used to than space fillers with no nutritional value.
My kids didn't always love everything I put in front of them (nor do my cats), but they learn to accept it and they are better off for it.
My parents always said "there are people starving in other countries that would love to have this". They were right and not being a picky eater has helped me on many occasions.


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I was in DD's school office the other day. A little boy had his lunch tray in there. The office worker kept asking him to eat his lunch. He pushed it around but didn't eat. Finally he said "I like my mom's food, this isn't my mom's food".

It was a PBJ crustless pita-like white bread thing.

They also serve milk in bags now. Anyone ever seen that?

My DD10 fixed her lunch for tomorrow. It's two slices of bread, mayo, thinly sliced bangers left over from dinner, grapes, and sharp cheddar cheese. No veg, but you can't win every one.


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This is comical. When I said a long time ago they should not allow people to buy all that trash with food stamps, I was run out of the discussion. Those same people think Michelle Obama telling schools what to feed children is just fine. Tonight on the radio I heard what is being served in the private school where the Obama girls go to school. If that is what Michelle proposed for the public schools I know why they are putting it in the trash. It is food I eat, but 99% of the public does not eat tofu and other "exotic" foods. The average person does not have a taste for that kind of healthy food. You need to acquire a taste for real food after a lifetime of eating too much sugar, fat and salt. Does anyone have any idea what exactly is on the list of "new foods" for the public schools?

If they don't know how to make the healthy food tasty the kids are not going to eat it and I can only imagine what is being served up to them. Good food takes time to prepare and I seriously doubt that kind of time is being invested in a public school cafeteria.


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The food in the cafeteria used to be cooked by lunch ladies. Now it's prepared by lunch ladies. It doesn't take that much longer. And tofu isn't the only healthy thing out there.


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I checked my school district school menu and looks like the same stuff they served when I was in school but they have added fruit.

The economy and cost of food I do not think they are being honest about how that the food is great. silversword has a point it is prepared. The heated up frozen meal stuff is nasty.


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After opting out of menu items, throwing out menu items, or not finishing much of the meal, many students would be lucky to consume 400 to 500 calories.

When our daughters eat some of the school meals, they throw out much of their meals since they contain things they don't eat, or only consume limited quantities of - dairy, gluten, beef, pork, mystery meat, mystery fish, greasy foods, rubbery/tasteless vegetables etc.

Some schools only allow students to opt out of X amount of menu items, so much of what they're forced to take is thrown out.


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Look at it this way, Jerzee... it's a switch from illegal aliens...


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I just looked at the October school menu for our district, they list the actual lunch items, then the calories, trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, carbs.

They're currently serving 620 to 720 calories, with three meals slightly over 900.

Thats the official lunch. They also have a salad bar 3 days a week, and in the high school, you can get an Arbes Roast Beef sandwich or a slice of Pizza Hut Pizza, along with a coke from the vending machines, so conveniently located by the door. Actually, I was pleased to see that the machines now sell fruit juice and water.

Here is a link that might be useful: what they eat around here


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"850 calories with veggies and fruits promoted, should be a satisfying meal."

That's exactly what the government said! Just because it DOESN'T WORK, creates waste while creating hunger, and costs MORE doesn't mean government is wrong. The defect is in American kids and their parents.

But help is on the way. The government wants you stupid parents to look at school lunches as a "model" of what's for dinner. That's right. Give kids MORE of what they don't want.

No word on when chips and sodas come off the food stamp menu. And no, there's not a thing wrong with this picture. Your government is doing a bang up job of running your life and don't you forget it!


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That's exactly what the government said! Just because it DOESN'T WORK, creates waste while creating hunger, and costs MORE doesn't mean government is wrong. The defect is in American kids and their parents.

Take some personal responsibility and fix your own dang lunch. Sheesh. You're right, the defect IS in the kids and their parents if they don't take responsibility to handle their own lunch.


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  • Posted by kwoods Cold z7 Long Is (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 3, 12 at 10:51

So..... Nik wants Romney"the government" to let the little ones eat what? Cake?


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David your menu looks like our area. I do not see where this is so different than regular junk food. Hot Dogs. come on people. I do not think any kids eat potato chips and soda every day 3 times a day.

There is another reason they are throwing it in the garbage. The menu includes junk food.

Am I living in a dream world and all poor kids eat is chips?


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Here is a link to my school's menu. Frankly it sounds pretty good.

When my kids were in school they would look at the menu and decide if they wanted to "buy or bring".

Here is a link that might be useful: menu


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So GGM says the kids wont eat the food because it is not what they are accustomed to-and naturally if they are never offered healthy food they arent going to even be acquainted with it let alone accustomed to it, Nik is sure they are all going to starve to death because not only are calories being limited, the kids are throwing part of it away and I say those kids arent hungry if they arent eating the food. Offer a tray of it to some street kid in Bangladesh somewhere and see what an appetite enhanser actual hunger is.
In my family we were never required to eat anything we didn't like but were not allowed to fill up on mashed potatoes or other filler foods-as a result we all ate pretty much anything put in front of us. We all had our particular dislikes-I for one can't abide cream style corn to this day but that was ok, I loved squash.


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"Take some personal responsibility and fix your own dang lunch. Sheesh. You're right, the defect IS in the kids and their parents if they don't take responsibility to handle their own lunch."

No, Chase, the problem has nothing to do with defective American parents or defective American children. But thanks for sharing your negative opinion of Americans from up there in Canada.

Our kids are getting more meals than ever at school, and some schools don't even allow students to bring food from home. Packing lunches won't fix bad menus. Many families prefer the convenience of buying lunch at school, and there's no reason to give that up. In America, eating lunch in the school cafeteria goes back for generations and that's not going to change.

But the menus have to. Government screwed up. It didn't do its homework. It created menus somebody thought looked "healthy." As if that were the only consideration.

Had govt tested its skimpy menus on living, breathing children, it would have quickly realized that those menus were nowhere near ready for prime time. Aside from being more expensive, they resulted in twice as much wasted food as last year, and kids are going hungry.

For rushing to impose its untested ideas on every public school in America, the government looks every bit as foolish and incompetent as its own actions prove it to be.

Even fast food chains test new menu items to see how they sell. Professionals in the food industry find out if people want what they're selling BEFORE they change the menu! Duh!!!


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Did chase post in this thread?


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GA, SK, it's all norte-america.....


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Ahhh... I see it now.

Esh must be one of those clandestine Canadian liberals currently flooding gardenweb that Nik has found "interesting" .

She's getting really good at spotting us.


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HG you must admit it's a nice twist to have an American so totally preoccupied with what a Canadian might think that they imagine what I might say had I chose to say anything at all.


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The part I'm finding interesting is how that comment was projected as an anti-American comment... even if it had been you to make that comment, I didn't see how it could be considered anti-American or a negative opinion of Americans.

But it wasn't even a lefty foreigner talking, it was an American, and nowhere in the sentence did it single out "American children" or "American parents".

So was the accusation of anti-Americanism a wild shot in the dark or an attempt to fuel some patriotic indignation in a other posters? It kinda backfires when the intended target didn't even post in the thread.


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I will say again that if kids are wasting food they are NOT going hungry. If they wont eat the food they arent hungry. If they were hungry they would eat their food. If I were actually hungry I would eat cream style corn. I have seen hunger in other countries and kids who dont like carrot sticks arent hungry.


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Nikoleta, I assume you've reviewed the USDA website that outlines the school meal program requirements. Could you post the link to that site please?


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Patricia, I agree. The thing I've noticed with DD though is that she will (starve) until she gets something she likes, and then she'll binge.

I think a lot of kids are similar, if there is *enough* food in their lives.

The problem I see in our school is demographics. They are trying to serve kids who primarily eat beans and tortillas and carne things like lasagna and pizza.

If they fed our kids a couple of corn tortillas, some rice and beans, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, etc... our kids would EAT!!! Including my blonde, blue eyed Jewish kid. Because that's what our family eats too.

We don't eat the white bread "American" diet, everyone here eats what Rosita down the road makes. We are stuck on the "kids menu" theory of feeding our children. Ever notice that EVERY kid menu has pizza/pasta/burger/chicken fingers??

THAT'S NOT KID FOOD, THAT'S MARKETING!!!


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School lunches are horrific and I am happy to start seeing some changes but I think we need much more. So many schools no longer have kitchens so they are limited to what they can implement. I applaud the addition of fresh fruit! The fact that the kids are throwing it away is not a failure of the government but a corporate take over of our food supply and shows how toxic we and it has become.

Turkey tacos at my kids school...ready for this? A blob of "meat" and sauce plopped on a compartmentalized Styrofoam tray (yes sryrofoam! green club is working on this) with a bag of frito chips, salsa and cheese. Not even lettuce and tomato...and no throwing on a "random" slice of whole wheat bread as my son says does not make it healthy.

Reform is possible and this is a start but the truth is school lunch only reflects our society and blaming it on the government or one political party is just nonsense and fails to address our real problems.


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Maggie, the school lunches at my daughters school aren't *that* bad. They have a salad bar, they can pick two options from it at every meal.

It's much better than it was when I was a kid. They eat on reusable trays, the packaging is WAY down from what it was (milk in a thin plastic bag anyone?).

But I agree, "The fact that the kids are throwing it away is not a failure of the government but a corporate take over of our food supply and shows how toxic we and it has become."

Keep the pink slime out of our food supply.


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esh, I wish my kid's school menu looked more like yours. Here, every Monday is a cheeseburger with fries, every Friday is pizza, and the days in between generally include nachos, tacos, chicken nuggets, etc. None of it is whole grain. My youngest child is allowed to purchase lunch one day a week, his choice. My other son in the system purchases more often but that is because of other issues that he has but I try to load him up on kale at home.

On a positive note, they are getting snacks of fresh fruit in the classroom. My boys do not eat everything offered every day but it is nice to see the opportunity being given to the children to try fresh pineapple, kiwi, plums, etc., even if the price is that some of it is being thrown away.


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maggie - I agree with everything you said.

School lunches are terrible and have always been terrible. The fact that someone cares and is trying to improve that is a good thing. But, of course, that someone is a liberal, so we can't have that, now can we?

My son always preferred to purchase his lunch. I guess he thought it was cool. I don't know. I did like that they were serving a piece of fruit with the meal. Unfortunately for my son, he's allergic to a lot of the fruits they serve (mostly pears and apples). So, he brings it home each day. At least it didn't go to waste!

He did decide this week he wants to start bringing lunch instead of buying. I'm thrilled. Saves money and he'll eat better at lunch during the week.


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Silversword-under my mothers system which I have to say had very little to do with healthy eating but more to do with no squabbling, you were not allowed to binge on something you liked-you got your share and no more-with 7 kids now mind you. You did not get snacks after to make up for what you didnt eat-you should have eaten your dinner was the terse response-no begging kids to eat, no try just a little. My mother believed kids would not starve themselves-it made us equal opportunity eaters except I remember food on airplanes on a long trip around half the world. We thought we would die. You could not have beaten us and made us eat TV dinners after that.

I think the food in most cafeterias has to do with cheapness, ease of cooking(or not) ease of serving-that sort of thing. I dont think it is a conspiracy. Kids through away the fresh stuff because they are used to lots of fat and salt.


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patricia, I was raised the same way, you eat what is served or you go hungry. I was just commenting on kids today. The majority of today's parents are not cooking healthy and tasty meals. Kids are living on junk food that is loaded with salt, fat and sugar so their taste buds are basically numb and the only thing they can taste are the unhealthy junk foods.

I think this wanting to feed the kids healthy was not thought out too well (another government idea in the toilet). I'd like to see the panel of nutritionists, parents and students who were on the committee to decide what the new healthy lunches should be. Oh wait, there was no panel was there? Anyone know if Michelle Obama, America's new mom, consulted with any professionals before having this new healthy food served to the kids.


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Oh wait, there was no panel was there? Anyone know if Michelle Obama, America's new mom, consulted with any professionals before having this new healthy food served to the kids.

So you are bashing the program yet don't know anything about it?


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GGM-Michelle Obama doesnt tell school cafeterias what to feed students. That comes from the USDA because they have over sight in school meals. The standards comes from legislation of two years ago so this is not new. It was a law passed by congress that changed school food standards. I dont know why everyone seems to think it is Michelle Obamas fault.

Who gets to chose what children eat-children or adults? You cant set the standard for the entire school lunch program based on the needs of spoiled darlings and a few student atheletes.


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I think this wanting to feed the kids healthy was not thought out too well (another government idea in the toilet). I'd like to see the panel of nutritionists, parents and students who were on the committee to decide what the new healthy lunches should be. Oh wait, there was no panel was there?

Anyone know if Michelle Obama, America's new mom, consulted with any professionals before having this new healthy food served to the kids.

You spent all this energy criticizing Michelle Obama without a clue as to the history of the program or even who is responsible for it. Do you even know why you don't like it? I doubt it if you don't even know how the guidelines were set.

Clearly it is more about demonizing Michelle Obama, than criticism of the program itself.

REAL facts are out there if you would just look for them.

Here ya go. More hand-feeding for you. From way back in January...


First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation. The new meal requirements will raise standards for the first time in more than fifteen years and improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million kids that participate in school meal programs every school day.
...

USDA built the new rule around recommendations from a panel of experts convened by the Institute of Medicine - a gold standard for evidence-based health analysis. The standards were also updated with key changes from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans - the Federal government's benchmark for nutrit-on - and aimed to foster the kind of healthy changes at school that many parents are already trying to encourage at home, such as making sure that kids are offered both fruits and vegetables each day, more whole grains, and portion sizes and calorie counts designed to maintain a healthy weight.

USDA received an unprecedented 132,000 public comments on its proposed standards (available on the web at www.regulations.gov) - and made modifications to the proposed rule where appropriate. USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon said: "We know that robust public input is essential to developing successful standards and the final standards took a number of suggestions from stakeholders, school food service professions and parents to make important operational changes while maintaining nutritional integrity."

Once again your assumptions are all wrong.

If you don't like the program at least know why instead of basing your opinion on your dislike of certain people, feelings and fallacies. It's called credibility. Shut off Fox and educate yourself with facts.


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"....from a panel of experts...."

OMG OM GO OMG OGM!!!!! Death Panels have moved into Food Panels!!!!

This is even worse than all those Czars that the righties were in such a huff about.


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Government requirements mean compliance and oversight. Anyone want to take a guess at how much this is going to cost the taxpayers?

Districts most certainly could have initiated and implemented healthier school lunch programs from within, the carrot being larger federal subsidies.


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"...the carrot being larger federal subsidies."

What an appropriate word choice. I agree, there is usually more oversight (flexibility AND control) at the local level. For example, a poster earlier suggested that more healthy lunch offerings such as rice and beans would be very palatable to a lot of the kids in some districts.

"If they fed our kids a couple of corn tortillas, some rice and beans, shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, etc... our kids would EAT!!! Including my blonde, blue eyed Jewish kid. Because that's what our family eats too."


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Lavender-we already have oversight-since I think Truman or about that time. The concept here is a national standard of nutrition-not some piecemeal system of every school district for itself. You government through the USDA has been setting standards for school meals for a very long time. In the past the notions of what healthy people should eat seemed to have more to do with how much surplus milk and cheese they were collecting than anything else and a heavy reliance on starchs. Research has shown that perhaps that is not the most healthy diet we could come up with for kids so the standards have been changed. Every school district in America does not need to do the research-that would be pretty expensive. I am still not concerned with kids going hungry. If they are hungry they will eat their carrot sticks.


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Thank you Elvis.

patriciae, I think we are saying much of the same thing.

From what I understand a study was conducted that determined school districts were not in compliance with USDA recommendations (schools receive federal funding in addition to surplus food goods in exchange for said compliance). A task force was formed, led by Michelle Obama, new standards set and ultimately, those districts that don't comply will be penalized.

Part of this task force's agenda is to oversee compliance, a potentially expensive proposition. Would revamping standards on a local level by offering increased subsidies been more cost effective...probably.


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A task force was formed, led by Michelle Obama

The only thing being led by Michelle Obama is the national public awareness campaign against Childhood Obesity, not any taskforce.

She is the figurehead,and she adopted this intitiative so if there is a news conference or an event she will be there as their spokesperson. It doesn't take a genius to know that if she speaks she will get the press there.

The Taskforce on Childhood Obesity is led by the Chairman, the Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy, and is an inter-agency initiative. It also consists of many sub-committees and groups from across the government including the Dept's of Agriculture, Interior,Education, Health and Human Services, the OMB, and others. None of those are being led by Michelle Obama either.


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Fun to watch the difference between those posting on this thread who actually have kids in school dealing with the lunches on a day-to-day basis, and how many pontificating posters don't have a freakin' clue but just want to rant away on something they know nothing about, but try and stretch it to tie in with the First Lady.


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I know it's Michelle Obama's initiative. In my world if I start something then I take responsibility for its' success or failure. Oh wait, I forgot liberals don't take responsibility they just find others to blame for the failure. Silly me, I forgot myself there for a second.

Just like all government programs, this program entailed thousands of hours, hundreds of people and still it failed. Literally going in the garbage. More of my tax dollars at work. Seems all those "experts" didn't know a thing about what kids would eat or not eat.

Since when does it take all those people to decide what is tasty, nutritious and what a child will eat? Unbelievable incompetance for something so simple as feeding children. Gee, millions have been doing it for centuries, but let the government get an "initiative" on the subject and it's a big deal that fails miserably.

Next trillion please!!!


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"The Taskforce on Childhood Obesity is led by the Chairman, the Assistant to the President on Domestic Policy, and is an inter-agency initiative. It also consists of many sub-committees and groups from across the government including the Dept's of Agriculture, Interior,Education, Health and Human Services, the OMB, and others."

The bigger government gets, the dumber it gets. You don't force taxpayers to subsidize the chips, sodas, cakes and cookies that go into food stamp/SNAP recipients' grocery carts if you're serious about "fighting obesity."


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Looking at these rants from people who don't have to worry about their children's lunches at school, your solution is what? Do away with serving lunch at school, have each family send a sack lunch?

And for chips and soda on food stamps, just get rid of food stamps?

Theoretically speaking, you don't think a government should try to improve the diet of their citizens?


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My children hated school lunches; well, my girls did but my son liked the junky food served in S.California schools. My wife took the time to make them take lunches to school. We found out that they would often trade the "good" lunches for money or less nutritious alternatives.

I have no problem with governments coming up with minimum nutritional guidelines as part of the general welfare aspects of constitutional government. Just because individuals abuse whatever standards there are doesn't mean that the standards (or agencies or programs) ought to be abandoned. As David points out.

Government doesn't become dumber with size; only with its tendency not to confront special interests. Just look at the USDA food pyramid promoted for many years as the route to good health rather than the road to ruined health and obesity.


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david52, noone is suggesting doing away with school lunch programs and I don't have an issue with government recommendations that may help improve the health of children.

I do feel there is another way to approach this, that would be more cost effective and might allow school children to actually enjoy the food that they are served (incentives for districts to modify their meals). When kids start learning about and enjoying food, that's something they take with them into adulthood.

In the past, I worked with a regional HS with in-house food service, developing healthy, interesting, cost effective menus that were executed by the students. Something along those lines would be beneficial to all, instead of food service striving to barely meet guideslines (as in the past).

I touched on this on another thread and I believe you brought up the issue of cost. Are you so certain that costs will run more than what's currently on the table?

Just looking for a better way, that's all.


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lavenderlver, at the next school district to the north, they have something like that - but its smaller, and the elementary, middle, and high school all share the same campus and kitchen/lunch facilities. I know the local consortium of small scale farmers that keeps them supplied with fresh garden stuff daily, and its a small enough place that everyone knows each other and who supplies the food - works great. That growers consortium had to jump through a series of hoops to be a certified supplier, but they did it.

Our district has a single, central kitchen that supplies 6 different schools scattered around the county, and Lord only knows where they buy the stuff - but a safe bet is that if you hear of a massive meat recall on the national news, two days later you'll read about how our district had to throw out 300 lbs of hamburger or something.....

But we parents did get the district to force the Coca Cola distributor to get rid of the soda pop and put in water, juice and Gatorade in the machines, but he took down the Coca Cola scoreboard at the foot ball stadium as the kids were't drinking enough of the good stuff to make it pay. Such a loss. And my DD informs me that someone raised enough of a stink that they now have a salad bar every day at the high school instead of just two days a week.

But I agree completely that this should be used as a means of teaching kids the value of good nutrition and good food, not just stuff them full of calories for the rest of the day.


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