Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seperation of School and Parenting? My take on the school lunch debacle

Yesterday the USDA held a twitter chat for people to ask questions and voice concerns about the changes to the school lunch programs.  At the time I was unsure of my thoughts on the situation and from what every one was posting children were going to starve and not get any protein because of the changes.  Of course one would be concerned.  Well.....after reading the transcript from the discussion and doing my own little research I have picked a side.....unlike most I am in favor of these changes.

I think back to my days in elementary and high school.  We all ate the same foods 1st grade through high school.   School menu was the same for both.  Mind you this was a solid 12+ years ago since I started high school.  Our lunch was far from nutritious.  We had pizza and fries every Friday.  We had some form of french fry or tator tot 3-4 times a week whether it was french fry, curly fry, smiley fries, potato wedge, tator tots, waffle fries.  I'm fairy certain there was a potato every day of the week sometimes.  Why was this not an issue then but now that they want to add more fruits and vegetables and whole grains we are throwing a fit?  I don't get it!

I did a little investigating and the new requirements for protein are min 10 oz to max 12 oz.  Well with the research I found here and here the weekly intake requirements for a healthy growing young adult are slightly over 9 oz.  So why are we so concerned they won't get enough protein and will be tired and hungry?

I would like to share some of the questions asked during the discussion and share my thoughts....
  • aren't school lunches to help the poor? What abt those kids whose moms aren't able to provide that healthy food after school?
When did schools become responsible for children's home life?  Are schools supposed to supply supper for children as well for those that may not get the best options at home?  And yes school lunches do help the poor....its called free and reduced lunches
  • What do you think about all the food that is getting thrown away because kids refuse to eat it?
Here again.  The school is in charge of providing a balanced meal for children.  Not in charge of making sure children clean their plate.  If you go to any restaurant there is going to be a ton of waste as well.  Should we step in and help decide the menu so everyone eats everything on the plate?
  • Protein is shown to curb hunger and keep people full longer. Skimpy protein portions will contribute to hunger and poor focus.
Like stated before.  I don't know where people are getting the skimping on protein.  The are required to get atleast  10 oz of protein a week.  A growing male age 14-18 is required to have slightly over 9 oz of protein in a 5 day week (school week) to maintain a healthy diet.....
This one if my favorite....you have an athlete and you are outraged that the USDA said you may provide a snack for your student for before practice and you don't think you should have to supply that?  Are you not the parent here?  Should you not support and supply for YOUR child?  I was a very active student athlete.  We were not given extra food or snacks just because we were athletes.  We brought snacks to have before practice if we were hungry.   How is that the schools responsibility?
  • A9 I know a flier of a vegetable wasn't going to get me to eat more vegetables. #ASkUSDA
Here is where the parent needs to again take responsibility.  If you raise a child eating a healthy diet having to eat fruits and vegetables in school should not be an issue.  If you raise your child eating junk food like pizza and Cheetos everyday then no vegetables and fruits will not be appealing now will they?
  •  And the list goes on....you can find the transcript here to see all the questions and answers
I feel the government was trying to be proactive in the fight against childhood obesity and instead of embracing it we are fighting it.  I can almost guarantee that the reason for childhood obesity doesn't come from school lunch.  Growing up we were outside 90% of the time playing in the woods, the creek, sports, riding bikes with friends.  I look at my friends children and they are Nintendo superstars.  I just think that children are not nearly as active as they used to be.
I called my sister who is an Ag teacher at a local public school and she shared with me the meal for the day
Now explain to me how that is skimping and won't fill you up....baked beans, peaches, celery, pickle, rib eye sandwich, and milk.  Looks good to me.  She said that the meals this year are by far way better than last year.  She said their was a potato at every meal and the portions were much less last year.  With the new program they get better foods which means larger portions.  She said the meals are much less carb loaded. 
I just think that if you are that concerned of a parent you have the option to pack your kids lunch.  We had a one size fits all model my whole time through school.  You can't expect to offer 10 different meals in hopes everyone was happy.  My mom made one meal for supper.  If we didn't like it we went to bed hungry because she wasn't about to make 5 different dishes just so everyone got what they wanted.
Many people also make the comment about many of the children in their communities that are low income and the school lunch is the only good meal they get and we are leaving them hungry.  This again I don't understand.  How is it the schools responsibility to control the lifestyle that a family provides for a child.  Many schools now provide breakfast.  We were never offered breakfast at school.  So now schools are providing 2 of the 3 meals for the day......why don't we just have them make supper as well.  We have to make parents take responsibility which I find in society these days is getting harder and harder....it is much easier to pass the blame.  The school is not responsible for raising and providing for your child....you the parent are. 
So those are my thoughts and I could be way off here and if I am please feel free to share your comments.  Good Day!!

1 comment:

  1. This is a case of Murphy's Law, a law politicians cannot repeal any more than they can repeal gravity. If something can go wrong, it will! In policymaking, Murphy's Law is called "the law of unintended consequences".

    I can't know, but it's a good bet that the Obama daughters have dead taste buds, allowing them to eat veggies with complete abandon. Lucky Michelle in that case. But, every parent knows how difficult it is to get a kid (with functioning taste buds) to eat veggies. Veggies are an acquired taste, like beer, except you don't get high.

    About the picture of that tray above: All too often, a kid might eat the sample of meat, the piece of bread, the pickle, maybe, and the corn, and usually drink the milk. The cooked green objects stay, and depending on digestive tract, so do the beans. Ever try to get a kid to eat broccoli? Unless their bitter taste buds are flat-line dead, forget it.

    The debacle could have been predicted by most any parent. Unless they are parents of kids with taste buds that are flat-line dead.