Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good Food First

Yes, I realize I'm taking the microcosm of a single second grade class from one elementary school in Northern Virginia and blowing it up but tough. I've seen enough school lunches packed by well-meaning parents to know this is a real issue.

Your children are not eating well and its your fault.

Once every week, I eat lunch with my daughter in her school cafeteria. We get "Hot Lunch" and she just loves having mommy join her (enjoy it while it lasts, right?).

Every single time I go, I see boys and girls making terrible food choices, whether it is choosing the junkiest food possible from the cafeteria or eating the junkiest food first from their lunch box.

Just today I watched a young girl eat a ziploc bag of cheese puffs first then take about six nibbles from a meat and cheese on white bread sandwich.

That was it.

She drank a little from her juice box but was too busy poking her girlfriends to eat the fresh orange or finish her sandwich. What was not eaten was thrown in the trash so her parents will never know.

I've seen kids select PBJ sandwich, jello, frozen icee, and juice box for lunch. Sugar, sugar, and sugar. All paid by faux "credit cards" the school encourages children to use (!), cards that the kids seem to believe are "free". How's that for developing fiscal responsibility?

I know parents mean well but I have never seen a child eat a sandwich, fruit cup, yogurt cup, box of raisins, salty snack, and pouch of fruit juice in the 20 minutes allotted for lunch time. Never. It's just too much and given so much choice, the kids don't make good ones.

Not only are parents packing too much lunch. It's junk stuff too. Convenience food with little or no nutritional value. It takes no time at all to throw a whole wheat bread sandwich and an apple into a lunch bag. Fill a thermos with milk and you save $3 a week on milk alone. The kids don't need to eat much more than that, I promise you.

Don't believe me? Check with your school and see if they allow parents to come in and eat with their kids. Doing it just once is a real eye opener!

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