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  • Post #31 - June 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am
    Post #31 - June 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am Post #31 - June 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am
    Thanks, Cynthia - yes, it seems the time for this issue is now. Hey, soup is slow food!
  • Post #32 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:00 pm
    Post #32 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:00 pm Post #32 - June 23rd, 2009, 12:00 pm
    Mhays wrote:Fixing Lunch - an article Monica Eng referred me to, about how NSLP is handled by foodservice director Tony Geraci in Baltimore schools - thanks for the heads-up, Monica!


    I would like to see what the final product looks like and what Geraci is actually doing (as opposed to what he is saying to reporters).

    A lot of food service managers manage to the metrics that their organization tracks. For example, I replaced one dietitian who was lauded as a hero for running an efficient operation because she was able to eliminate three $3.50/hr employees. What I had to show the president of the organization that the $30k she saved in labor was more than offset by the additional $80k she spent in purchasing prepared entrees and the $50k in additional overhead costs.
  • Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 2:26 pm
    Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 2:26 pm Post #33 - June 23rd, 2009, 2:26 pm
    jlawrence01 wrote: A lot of food service managers manage to the metrics that their organization tracks. For example, I replaced one dietitian who was lauded as a hero for running an efficient operation because she was able to eliminate three $3.50/hr employees. What I had to show the president of the organization that the $30k she saved in labor was more than offset by the additional $80k she spent in purchasing prepared entrees and the $50k in additional overhead costs.


    I think this is an extremely common mistake on the part of foodservice directors: if you look upthread, the USDA notes this as the basic problem with "competitive foods." They may bring in revenue, but they also cost money in the first place, and aren't reimbursible under NSLP. I have no idea whether or not Baltimore is addressing or succombing to this problem.

    Cynthia, a friend of mine just noted that Slow Food Chicago is organizing an eat-in: Eat-in in Chicago will be held Wednesday, August 26 at Daley Plaza. I think this is a terrific idea: I'm talking to other parents in our school district about staging an in-school eat-in sometime next year.
  • Post #34 - June 24th, 2009, 2:34 pm
  • Post #35 - July 8th, 2009, 11:43 am
    Post #35 - July 8th, 2009, 11:43 am Post #35 - July 8th, 2009, 11:43 am
    So, a group in our school district is organizing to at least meet with government officials and discuss this issue. One person suggested that we contact the school district's "Director of Nutrition" to see what they are asking for, and we were referred to the School Nutrition Association's PDF "Legislative Issue Paper Talking Points" (you have to scroll down for the link to the PDF)

    They are asking for some eminently reasonable things: a reasonable increase in reimbursement, and that commodity foods be available for breakfast as they are for lunch, and that all foods sold in schools be required to meet the guidelines. However, buried in there under "Improve nutrition standards by requiring the Department of Agriculture to implement a consistent, science-based interpretation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for all federally reimbursed school meals." is this gem: "Multiple standards mean multiple products. Well-intended but insignificant differences in product specifications increase production costs which have to be passed on to the program." So, basically, what the School Nutrition Association(Formerly known by the more accurate moniker of American School Food Service Association) is asking for is that we have the same standards everywhere so ALL schools can be fed from the same gigantic factory. I'm starting to see images from Pink Floyd's The Wall.
  • Post #36 - July 10th, 2009, 12:25 pm
    Post #36 - July 10th, 2009, 12:25 pm Post #36 - July 10th, 2009, 12:25 pm
    In case you need a more graphic example. Many of the other lunches pictured aren't so bad - the Berkely CA lunch actually looks like something I might order, and the Brooklyn lunches are austere but at least offer fresh fruit and food that's identifiable. Even the mac and cheese lunch in Chicago isn't so bad.

    http://americanlunchroom.com/
  • Post #37 - July 10th, 2009, 12:56 pm
    Post #37 - July 10th, 2009, 12:56 pm Post #37 - July 10th, 2009, 12:56 pm
    Mhays wrote:In case you need a more graphic example. Many of the other lunches pictured aren't so bad - the Berkely CA lunch actually looks like something I might order, and the Brooklyn lunches are austere but at least offer fresh fruit and food that's identifiable. Even the mac and cheese lunch in Chicago isn't so bad.

    http://americanlunchroom.com/

    This one is just awesome (assuming it tastes okay), except for the stewed-looking nectarine:

    Jamaican Beef Patty and a Nectarine

    The Brooklyn meals look so tiny, but I'm guessing they're very specifically measured, right down to the tablespoon-sized servings of ketchup. I like that...I think it sets a good example.
  • Post #38 - July 10th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    Post #38 - July 10th, 2009, 1:11 pm Post #38 - July 10th, 2009, 1:11 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:
    Mhays wrote:In case you need a more graphic example. Many of the other lunches pictured aren't so bad - the Berkely CA lunch actually looks like something I might order, and the Brooklyn lunches are austere but at least offer fresh fruit and food that's identifiable. Even the mac and cheese lunch in Chicago isn't so bad.

    http://americanlunchroom.com/

    This one is just awesome (assuming it tastes okay), except for the stewed-looking nectarine:

    Jamaican Beef Patty and a Nectarine


    I actually think that the nectarine is a clementine, which may account for its "stewiness."
  • Post #39 - July 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm
    Post #39 - July 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm Post #39 - July 10th, 2009, 1:43 pm
    aschie30 wrote:
    Khaopaat wrote:
    Mhays wrote:In case you need a more graphic example. Many of the other lunches pictured aren't so bad - the Berkely CA lunch actually looks like something I might order, and the Brooklyn lunches are austere but at least offer fresh fruit and food that's identifiable. Even the mac and cheese lunch in Chicago isn't so bad.

    http://americanlunchroom.com/

    This one is just awesome (assuming it tastes okay), except for the stewed-looking nectarine:

    Jamaican Beef Patty and a Nectarine


    I actually think that the nectarine is a clementine, which may account for its "stewiness."

    Ha!

    I think you're right. Suddenly it's very obviously a clementine, and doesn't look nearly as gross as when I thought it was a slimy, skinless nectarine. Now that lunch is fully awesome.

    It's friday, my brain's not firing on all cylinders :P
  • Post #40 - July 10th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    Post #40 - July 10th, 2009, 2:18 pm Post #40 - July 10th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    Yea - I wish we had beef patties in our district! Considering that the major supplier for Chicago is just up the block, and how large the Carribean population is in Evanston, I don't see how this could be a bad thing.

    There is a calorie and fat requirement under NSLP: no more than 30 percent of calories from fat and less than 10 percent from saturated fat, and calories are restricted to 1/3 of the US RDA, so between 400 to about 700 calories, depending on age and gender(this information is surprisingly difficult to find) A search of Jamaican Beef Patties finds that they're in line 3-400 calories, but the saturated fat is 20% although the total fat is in line at 24% (which tells you just how loose the fat requirement is - not that I don't love a beef patty, but they aren't really health food) Pairing it with a fresh fruit shows they're really thinking it through, though.

    One thing I really love about this lunch, though, is that it offers a chance to use food to educate kids about culture and place. I wish school lunches offered more of these opportunities.
  • Post #41 - September 1st, 2009, 7:07 pm
  • Post #42 - September 15th, 2009, 8:49 pm
    Post #42 - September 15th, 2009, 8:49 pm Post #42 - September 15th, 2009, 8:49 pm
    An update: I am a member of a group called the "Evanston Healthy Community Task Force," formed primarily of parents in my school district, but we are lucky enough to also have members who have been working on legislative issues regarding food and farming in Illinois. Rallying around Monica Eng's article, we decided that we would create a citizen coalition of individuals in our congressional district who are concerned about this issue, ask for a meeting with our Congressional Representative, Jan Schakowsky, and present our concerns regarding the Child Nutrition Act and NSLP (if I've seemed distracted here lately, it's because this has taken up most of my time.)

    Here is the text of our presentation (thanks to JimInLoganSquare for his feedback on the first draft)
    Child Nutrition Act
    Proposal for 2009 Re-authorization
    Illinois 9th Congressional District Citizen Coalition

    We are a group of Illinois ninth congressional district citizens concerned about public health, obesity, and food-related diseases, especially among children, as well as the impact of diet on children’s capacity to learn. We thank you for your current work removing "competitive foods,” of poor nutritional value from school campuses.

    The Child Nutrition Act and the National School Lunch Program impose enormous constraints on school districts, sometimes negatively impacting their ability to serve children healthy food. Current federal law focuses on regulating caloric content and specific nutrients, but offers little incentive for the food and farm industry to provide high-quality foods. As a result, schools have little choice but to offer highly-processed foods which have been artificially manipulated to meet the standards: e.g.: pancakes, nachos, corn dogs, and french fries. We are concerned that school lunch is influencing the eating choices that children make outside of school and, ultimately, having a negative impact on diet-related disease.

    We recommend the Child Nutrition Act be expanded to include the following:

    ~ Promote incentives for naturally nutritionally dense foods and minimize use of nutritionally poor, highly-processed foods.(1)
    -Expand current regulations to include a daily maximum allowable amounts of sugar, sodium, saturated fats, and to eliminate trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, rGBH, and artificial colors and preservatives.
    -Require two servings of fruits and/or vegetables per meal, one fresh, neither containing added sugar.

    ~ Meet current grocery-store labeling guidelines.(2)

    ~ Fund existing farm-to-school provision of the 2004 Child Nutrition Act (Section 122) (3)

    Background

    1) We ask that the majority of foods served in school lunches be naturally nutritionally dense: meaning that the nutritional guidelines of the Child Nutrition Act are met by the innate nutritional value of the original product. Foods served to our children should neither derive nutrition from additives, nor have their nutritive value reduced by overprocessing or excessive use of additives to enhance the food's appeal. Currently, while many foods in school lunch meet guidelines because vitamins or fiber are added during processing – additional additives of fat, sugar, and salt are needed to make these foods palatable.
    The 2003 World Health Organization report on Diet, Nutrition and the prevention of Chronic Disease states:
    “Eating nutrient dense foods…to maintain a healthy weight is essential at all stages of life. Unbalanced consumption of foods high in energy (sugar, starch and/or fat) and low in essential nutrients contributes to energy excess, overweight and obesity. The amount of the energy consumed in relation to physical activity and the quality of food are key determinants of nutrition related chronic disease.”
    “Energy-dense and micronutrient-poor foods tend to be processed foods that are high in fat and/or sugars. Low energy-dense (or energy-dilute) foods, such as fruit, legumes, vegetables and whole grain cereals, are high in dietary fibre and water.”
    More money alone is not the answer: guidelines should encourage the food and farm industry to meet the growing demand for healthier school meals. Without oversight, more money will simply mean higher profits for food purveyors who will continue serving more of the same. We propose a two-tiered system for school reimbursement. Nutritionally poor, highly-processed meals would be funded at the current rate, but a financial incentive should be offered for meals using higher quality foods that are naturally nutritionally dense and minimally processed.

    2) Currently, although most meal plans are set for an entire school year, school lunches are without nutritional labels or accurate ingredient lists, in part because commodity foods are not labeled in the same way as other foods. Parents of children with food allergies or dietary restrictions must spend time meeting with the school nutritionists because they cannot access this information on their own. Better labeling will enable all parents to make informed decisions about their child’s diet at school. We recommend that accurate labeling of nutritional information for each meal be offered along with the school menu, and that this information be made easily accessible to school districts.

    3) Many schools are struggling to bring nutritional education to their students. $50 million in mandatory funding for section 122 of the Child Nutrition Act would fund 100-500 projects per year up to $100,000 each to cover start-up costs for Farm to School programs. This provision was included in the 2004 reauthorization of the Act with $10 million in discretionary funding, but has failed to receive an appropriation.


    I'm also pleased to post the press release that resulted from the meeting:
    Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky pledged to support the reform agenda of a coalition of Illinois 9th congressional district citizens in this fall’s reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Current federal law regulates caloric content and specific nutrients, but offers little incentive for the food and farm industry to ensure that school districts provide high-quality foods.

    “The initial idea of federal feeding programs was to help farmers and not necessarily provide the most nutritious meals,” Schakowsky told an Aug. 31 meeting with seven constituents. “The intent was never about ensuring that parents can easily learn the nutritional content of meals, let alone that they have the knowledge to be effective advocates for better school meal programs.”

    The coalition--organized by the Evanston/Skokie District 65/202 PTA Council and the Evanston Food Policy Council—asked Cong. Schakowsky
    to:

    - Promote incentives for naturally nutritionally dense* foods and minimize use of highly-processed foods.
    * Meaning that the nutritional guidelines of the Child
    Nutrition Act are met by the innate nutritional value of the original product. Foods served to our children should neither derive nutrition from additives, nor have their nutritive value reduced by overprocessing or excessive use of additives to enhance the food's appeal.

    - Meet current grocery-store labeling guidelines so that parents can become more aware of the content of school meals.
    * Currently, school lunches are without nutritional labels or accurate ingredient lists, in part because commodity foods are not labeled in the same way as other foods. We recommend that accurate labeling of nutritional information for each meal be offered along with the school menu, and that this information, in turn, be made easily accessible to school districts.

    - Fund a farm-to-school competitive grant program that will encourage innovation at the local level to both source fresh food and educate children about nutrition.

    The coalition wants Congress to ensure that school districts offer healthful meals on a daily basis. Currently, under the Child Nutrition Act, schools are allowed to average the minimum requirements over a week’s worth of meals. Some districts use this as a loophole to create appealing but less healthy meals as an incentive for students who may not eat lunch daily but who typically pay full- price. These meals cover more costs for school foodservice programs than federally-subsidized free or reduced-price lunches.

    Cong. Schakowsky said she supports legislation that would require USDA to apply the same standards to all “competitive foods” sold on school campuses during the day (Competitive foods refers to foods sold on a school campus that compete with those meeting Child Nutrition Act standards---e.g. vending machine fare and a la carte foods like doughnuts or milkshakes). She was not pleased to learn from the coalition that schools can meet the current standards and still serve meals of nachos or pancakes. (I think we should not make specific claims about the nutrition levels unless we’re prepared to offer statistics. The kinds of foods should speak for themselves for right now, anyway.)

    Cong. Schakowsky accepted an invitation to tour the Evanston Township High School lunch room to see what children eat and meet the school nutrition director. Michele Hays of the PTA Council Healthy Communities Task Force explains: “Federal rules and regulations impose enormous constraints on school districts, hindering their ability to serve children healthy food.” The Schakowsky meeting was an outcome of the District 65/202 PTA Council’s year-long consensus building process which resulted in both boards adopting a “Healthy Communities” resolution (to be attached). The resolution supports improvements to the federal school meal program as well as the Illinois Food Farms and Jobs Act. Sponsored by state representative Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), this new law stimulates efforts to increase the supply of Illinois-produced food for in-state consumption, including encouragement for school districts statewide to secure 10% of their food from in-state sources by 2020.

    More information, including the talking points from the Coalition meeting are available by joining http://groups.google.com/group/evanston-health, or contact Michele Hays at michelhays AT juno DOT com. We invite citizens, parents, school officials and program directors to participate in this process – the ultimate goal is to improve school lunch for everyone, students, parents, and schools alike.
  • Post #43 - October 21st, 2009, 8:39 am
    Post #43 - October 21st, 2009, 8:39 am Post #43 - October 21st, 2009, 8:39 am
    Institute of Medicine report on NSLP

    Interestingly, while they focus on two of the major offenders in junk-food-ifying school lunch: fat and salt, they make no recommendations regarding sugar.

    I got the nutritional data for two of our school lunches and compiled each into single information using nutritiondata.com - not surprisingly, the pancake lunch has 37 grams of sugar (the American Heart Association recommends 12 grams PER DAY for children.) The surprise? The lunch built around Chef Boy-Ar-Dee Ravioli contains 35 grams of sugar! This means that each of these lunches contains about 3 TABLESPOONS of sugar, not including the sugar if they get a flavored milk. Beyond this being bad for you, it's no wonder that childrens' palates are ruined after eating food this sweet on a regular basis.

    Now, keep in mind not all sugars are created equal: most plant-based foods contain natural sugars, as do milk and cheese, and the nutritional labels don't differentiate between the two. I am guessing that at least the ravioli has some natural sugar, and there's natural sugar in the fruit juice served with the pancakes, but the pile-on effect of all these sugars is just plain bad.
  • Post #44 - October 29th, 2009, 12:14 pm
    Post #44 - October 29th, 2009, 12:14 pm Post #44 - October 29th, 2009, 12:14 pm
    San Fransisco schools denied Federal NSLP support because teachers were "helping" kids sign in.

    I'm really curious about this story - I've never heard of some of these requirements - in fact, there are cases where you don't need to income qualify anybody for NSLP (I can't find a citation but I'd heard somewhere that if the percentage of low-income is over a certain amount, the school is exempt from determining eligibility for individual students, but can use a general percentage of lunches sold.) I wonder if these are really CA state regs that this school violated.
  • Post #45 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:36 pm
    Post #45 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:36 pm Post #45 - December 2nd, 2009, 12:36 pm
    In response to pressure from...well, um, me...our school district has posted a full-meal nutritional label and photographs of each meal. Here's the infamous Brunch for Lunch

    As an aside, I've been working directly with the school districe (well, maybe with is a strong statement) and with Congresswoman Schakowsky, and made a really important discovery: the lunches at the magnet school are significantly better than they are at the remainder of the elementary schools. In fact, I'd say that while the magnet school lunches aren't as good as what I could make, they probably represent a best-case scenario under NSLP. The problem is, they're only available to kids who win the magnet lottery.

    King Lab menu here
    General Elementary/Bessie Rhodes menu here
  • Post #46 - December 2nd, 2009, 4:03 pm
    Post #46 - December 2nd, 2009, 4:03 pm Post #46 - December 2nd, 2009, 4:03 pm
    Hmmm...630 calories and 705 mg of sodium....

    At least you know :roll:
    "The only thing I have to eat is Yoo-hoo and Cocoa puffs so if you want anything else, you have to bring it with you."
  • Post #47 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:04 am
    Post #47 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:04 am Post #47 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:04 am
    Mhays wrote:As an aside, I've been working directly with the school districe (well, maybe with is a strong statement) and with Congresswoman Schakowsky, and made a really important discovery: the lunches at the magnet school are significantly better than they are at the remainder of the elementary schools. In fact, I'd say that while the magnet school lunches aren't as good as what I could make, they probably represent a best-case scenario under NSLP. The problem is, they're only available to kids who win the magnet lottery.

    No, the problem is not that they are only available to kids who win the magnet lottery, the problem is this:

    King Lab menu (Wednesday, Week A) wrote:
    All Beef Chicago Style Hotdog w/Catsup, Mustard & Relish

    :wink:
  • Post #48 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:07 am
    Post #48 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:07 am Post #48 - December 3rd, 2009, 12:07 am
    Matt, don't you know there is a vegetable requirement in school lunches? It's not inappropriate condimentage, it's Reaganomics! :wink:
  • Post #49 - December 9th, 2009, 1:42 pm
    Post #49 - December 9th, 2009, 1:42 pm Post #49 - December 9th, 2009, 1:42 pm
    A couple of rather disturbing articles in yesteday's USA Today:

    Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches

    Old-hen meat fed to pets and schoolkids
  • Post #50 - December 9th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Post #50 - December 9th, 2009, 3:06 pm Post #50 - December 9th, 2009, 3:06 pm
    Thanks for posting, Khaopaat - amazing that at a recent meeting with our school nutritionists they explained carefully that the USDA commodity products had the same specs as what we buy in the grocery store. (I'd also heard elsewhere (but can't verify) that NSLP is a repository for spent dairy cow meat.)

    It's funny - ordinarily, this would be how one would use a chicken, wouldn't it? Keep it while it's laying, and slaughter and eat it when it no longer produces. I'm guessing that the same was true for dairy cows: why waste the meat? Isn't that what braising and soup was for? In both cases, though, this was done on a farm where the animals were neither confined nor manipulated to produce more than the natural amount of eggs or milk. It's helpful to see a study that quantifies the negative effects on the meat.
  • Post #51 - December 9th, 2009, 10:59 pm
    Post #51 - December 9th, 2009, 10:59 pm Post #51 - December 9th, 2009, 10:59 pm
    Khaopaat wrote:A couple of rather disturbing articles in yesteday's USA Today:

    Fast-food standards for meat top those for school lunches

    Old-hen meat fed to pets and schoolkids



    I am glad that you had time to reference those articles. That was a topic of discussion on one of the Los Angeles radio stations.

    You cannot expect to get GOOD food when your sole method of acquisition is the low bidder UNLESS you are going to have a cadre of inspectors all throughout the manufacturing process.

    Having worked in public state hospitals (and having turned down a couple of jobs in public school feeding), the ONLY thing is the cost. Instead of spending a lot of time turning out good meals, you spend HOURS trying to find ways to 1) reject the garbage that you are send, 2) find special ways to cook around the mediocre quality of food, and the like.
  • Post #52 - December 10th, 2009, 1:47 pm
    Post #52 - December 10th, 2009, 1:47 pm Post #52 - December 10th, 2009, 1:47 pm
    "USDA to serve lawmakers lunches from the school cafeteria"
  • Post #53 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:11 am
    Post #53 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:11 am Post #53 - December 22nd, 2009, 10:11 am
    26,500 School Cafeterias Lack Required Inspections
  • Post #54 - January 5th, 2010, 9:26 am
    Post #54 - January 5th, 2010, 9:26 am Post #54 - January 5th, 2010, 9:26 am
    In addition to the article in the Tribune, there is also this very interesting graphic showing how different school districts stack up against each other in terms of nutrition vs. junk food.

    It illustrates one of the important things I've learned about school lunch thus far: despite what is said, it isn't that nothing can be done under the current guidelines and reimbursement. It's that some places are willing to do it, and some aren't.
  • Post #55 - January 5th, 2010, 10:51 am
    Post #55 - January 5th, 2010, 10:51 am Post #55 - January 5th, 2010, 10:51 am
    Mhays wrote:In addition to the article in the Tribune, there is also this very interesting graphic showing how different school districts stack up against each other in terms of nutrition vs. junk food.

    It illustrates one of the important things I've learned about school lunch thus far: despite what is said, it isn't that nothing can be done under the current guidelines and reimbursement. It's that some places are willing to do it, and some aren't.

    Great Monica Eng article starring Mhays! Way to go, Michele!

    Evy
  • Post #56 - January 5th, 2010, 3:11 pm
    Post #56 - January 5th, 2010, 3:11 pm Post #56 - January 5th, 2010, 3:11 pm
    OK, I know I'm excited - but one thing that makes me giggle: I'm pretty sure one of the comment posters is our school nutritionist. She made this statement almost verbatim when we toured the cafeteria:

    wannabeinfrance, via Chicago Tribune wrote:I think many (if not most) of the people reading this article, and passing judgement on a school nutrition program do not realize that most of the food served has been developed for school nutrition programs - and are not the same as the retail product. For example, most school pizzas are on a whole grain crust; chicken products are baked, not fried, potatoes are baked, not fried, nacho cheese, when served, is in a much smaller portion than what you get at the movies, ballpark, etc., and the first ingredient is cheese. Nacho chips are whole grain as well. Talk to your school nutrition staff before making assumptions. And remember that only about 18% of what a child consumes in a year comes from school meals.

    And another (I don't know if this is our nutritionist, but I've heard this rhetoric several times)
    CHN1 via Chicago Tribune wrote:School Meals in Evanston just like all the meals served in schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program must meet guidlines for calories, fat, saturated fat, calcium, iron and vitamin A. If you serve food and the child throws it away it does not help the child. Food is very personal and everyone has an opion on what is right to eat. School Food Service Directors have a tough job and the food service employees work very hard and are usually the lowest paid employees in the District. I have seen the menus in the Evanston Districts and know that the food service departments in both districts are working hard to serve the children the fuel they need to be good students and keep this country strong. Parents should show support for these programs and ask what they can do to help and not criticize
  • Post #57 - January 5th, 2010, 3:36 pm
    Post #57 - January 5th, 2010, 3:36 pm Post #57 - January 5th, 2010, 3:36 pm
    Mhays wrote:OK, I know I'm excited - but one thing that makes me giggle: I'm pretty sure one of the comment posters is our school nutritionist. She made this statement almost verbatim when we toured the cafeteria:

    wannabeinfrance, via Chicago Tribune wrote:I think many (if not most) of the people reading this article, and passing judgement on a school nutrition program do not realize that most of the food served has been developed for school nutrition programs - and are not the same as the retail product. For example, most school pizzas are on a whole grain crust; chicken products are baked, not fried, potatoes are baked, not fried, nacho cheese, when served, is in a much smaller portion than what you get at the movies, ballpark, etc., and the first ingredient is cheese. Nacho chips are whole grain as well. Talk to your school nutrition staff before making assumptions. And remember that only about 18% of what a child consumes in a year comes from school meals.

    And another (I don't know if this is our nutritionist, but I've heard this rhetoric several times)
    CHN1 via Chicago Tribune wrote:School Meals in Evanston just like all the meals served in schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program must meet guidlines for calories, fat, saturated fat, calcium, iron and vitamin A. If you serve food and the child throws it away it does not help the child. Food is very personal and everyone has an opion on what is right to eat. School Food Service Directors have a tough job and the food service employees work very hard and are usually the lowest paid employees in the District. I have seen the menus in the Evanston Districts and know that the food service departments in both districts are working hard to serve the children the fuel they need to be good students and keep this country strong. Parents should show support for these programs and ask what they can do to help and not criticize

    Yes, as the late Richard J. Daley used to say, "It's easy to criticize. . .to find fault. . .but where are your programs. . . where are your ideas?" Except you have got programs and ideas!
  • Post #58 - January 5th, 2010, 8:20 pm
    Post #58 - January 5th, 2010, 8:20 pm Post #58 - January 5th, 2010, 8:20 pm
    Really enjoyed the article and, in particular, your efforts to prod the Evanston School District into providing healthy lunches. I'm still naive enough (perhaps stupid is a more accurate descriptor) to be stunned by the mixed messages our government sends: "We have a health crisis and an epidemic of obesity" paired with a continued effort to sabotage students' health by feeding them unhealthy and fattening foods.

    It is a really important issue, so keep fighting the good fight.

    Jyoti
    Jyoti
    A meal, with bread and wine, shared with friends and family is among the most essential and important of all human rituals.
    Ruhlman
  • Post #59 - January 5th, 2010, 9:08 pm
    Post #59 - January 5th, 2010, 9:08 pm Post #59 - January 5th, 2010, 9:08 pm
    Ms. Eng's well-written article was totally depressing and, unfortunately, confirmed my worst fears about how damaged the system truly is. Those like Mhays, fighting this fight, have my utmost respect and admiration. This is a daunting battle and as much as I love a good fight, I don't think I have the fortitude for this one.

    The amount of rationalizing and buck-passing being done by people in positions that could potentially create change is discouraging, too. These folks appear more concerned with preventing meaningful change and maintaining the status quo than feeding our children properly. I wonder if outside nutritionists, not bureaucratic administrators, would produce better results running these programs.

    For people who don't have children or whose children are now out of school, this may feel like a minor or insignificant issue but the repercussions of a system this damaged reverberate through our society as a whole. The negative effects of poorly-fed and nutritionally-ignorant children have long-lasting effects on every citizen's quality of life, not just those who are directly affected.

    Let's hope that this fight is merely the beginning of some substantial, evolutionary change. It's clearly to everyone's benefit to see it happen.

    =R=
    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider

    Do you know the muffin man? --Max Beckmann

    Twitter: ronniesuburban
  • Post #60 - January 5th, 2010, 10:43 pm
    Post #60 - January 5th, 2010, 10:43 pm Post #60 - January 5th, 2010, 10:43 pm
    The last bit of this 2- minute clip may be of interest - it mentions the school lunches

    Fighting the flab French-style BBC link - Dec 15, 2009

    And looking for that I found this old (2005) article - School dinners around the world

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