School Lunch Realities

It's been far too long since I posted!  School is well underway, to 2nd quarter and the school lunch program is motoring right along.  There are still  the Styrofoam trays, chocolate milk, canned fruit filled with heavy sugars, juice cups with red 40 added, burgers and popcorn chicken in wrappers or boxes.  Kids pay their 2.50, line up, get their lunches and in some cases have less than 10 minutes to eat.  Do you see anything wrong with this?  For one, Styrofoam trays.  Goodness, in an effort to go green or even make a small attempt at going green, lets ditch the styrofoam.  Really, is anyone still using this?!  If you have a sink, you should be able to have a tray that you can wash and reuse.  We have several sinks.  Chocolate milk; our school requires 2 beverage choices.  The selection is 2% white milk or chocolate milk loaded with artificial flavors.  The 2% milk is no better, treated with bovine enhancement hormones. Couldn't we offer water as a choice?   Canned fruit, you know the kind.  When I was a kid it was called fruit cocktail.  It's a mixture of xxxxx ladled with heavy syrup.  Where's the apple?  Banana?  Popcorn chicken in a box.  I think this is the lunch companies way of relating to fast food.  How about a grass fed chicken drum stick?   And fruit juice cups.  Sure it says 100% juice but if you read the label you will find red 40 in the ingredient list.  Again, an apple, banana, orange.  Fresh fruit anyone?  This represents one single days lunch, a lunch provided to 1st thru 5th graders as the only hot lunch option and also offered to 6th thru 8th grade as the hot lunch option.  Cost for this tasty feast of additives, $2.50.  Yikes!

My kids do not eat hot lunch.  I wish I could say they never eat it.  I do however sit down with the one binder of hot lunch items and the ingredients in each item offered.  Red 40 listed, an automatic no.  The same goes for yellow 5 or 6, BHT, Vanillin, and MSG.  These are some of the things that most affect my kids.  These are some of the things that effect a great number of kids.

A recent article that riled me was a testimonial segment in the school newsletter from 2nd graders  about the yummy factor of the school lunches.  I will share those with you now and I will also share the ingredient list for those lunches, the list the parents never see unless they head over to the school and ask to see the ingredient binder.

Hot Lunch a BIG hit for Second Grade
 ...My favorite hot lunch is French toast. - L,  My favorite hot lunch is corn dogs! - S. Ms. X's  class says, My favorite hot lunch is pizza dippers and marinara sauce. -Z,  My favorite hot lunch is chicken nuggets with animal shaped cookies. -B   My favorite hot lunch is popcorn chicken. –C  My favorite hot lunch is tacos. -E  My favorite hot lunch is pizza. -K   From Mrs. X's class, My favorite hot lunch is spaghetti meat balls - K, My favorite hot lunch is pizza. E & V, My favorite hot lunch is pizza dippers. - P, My favorite lunch is pizza.  I love pizza. - K, My favorite lunch is popcorn chicken. - B.

Hmmm, I see a pattern here.  I'll follow this post with the ingredient list for those items listed.

I think I should submit an article for next month titled;
Hot Lunch, A Nutritional Strike Out


  1. At our school, we use actual trays and silverware. Juice and chocolate milk are no longer offered, and real fruit is an option everyday. There are still bad choices like chicken nuggets and corn dogs, but there are also salads everyday, whole grain rice, hamburgers on whole grain bread, and fish patties (I don't know how good the fish is for you though). Also they recently switched to sweet potato fries instead of french fries. So there are bad choices, but there are also good choices. I eat the healthy food, but most of my fellow high-schoolers don't. I guess it is just how they are raised.

  2. I love to hear what your school is doing. It sounds like they are really trying to offer good choices. It's great to hear you get it and appreciate healthy choices. You are an inspiration Rachael! I think you are right, it is how kids are raised. Education can help. The more people talk and share, the more awareness is raised.


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