General chatter - Should schools ban homemade lunches?




cbmare
04-12-2011, 12:36 PM
One school in Chicago has banned homemade lunches claiming they didn't like the idea of chips and sodas. Students are now forced to go hungry or spend money on school lunches. Kids were throwing it away because it didn't taste good. Remember Jamie Oliver's program last year? The school lunches were based on pennies per child. NOT NUTRITION! I do not agree with this at all. Sure the parents could pack a healthier lunch but at least the kid has something instead of going without.

http://moms.today.com/_news/2011/04/12/6455349-cafeteria-chaos-school-bans-lunches-from-home-


mandalinn82
04-12-2011, 12:42 PM
Just to clarify, the lunches are provided free to the students. 99% of the students in that school qualify for free lunch from the government, so no student has to pay to get the school lunch.

That said, I find it absolutely ridiculous to restrict parents from providing home-packed meals. It's very likely that a lot of parents would provide healthier meals than what the school provides.

Munchy
04-12-2011, 12:43 PM
Providing nutritious meals is VERY important to me as a parent, and I would be fuming if a school thought that their pre-packaged, (I am assuming) sodium and preservative ridden foods were a better choice for my child than what I wanted to give her. I think it's important for cafeterias to provide healthy options, but it's also my choice on what to feed my child.


tea2
04-12-2011, 12:47 PM
I guess it's one thing if the school lunches are actually healthy, but I'd be peeved if my kid couldn't eat a healthy lunch provided by me. (I should add that this riles me and I don't even have kids! :D )

zoodoo613
04-12-2011, 12:54 PM
Whoa! I hadn't heard about this! My kid HATES school lunches, and I know if he got them, he'd only end up eating the crappiest part of it. The lunch I pack him isn't always as healthy as I'd like it to be, but I still bet it's way more nutritious and less processed than what he'll get at school. We could stand for more variety, but he gets fruits or veggies that I'll know he'll eat, not one's I'm sure he'd just waste.

Yuck!

cherrypie
04-12-2011, 12:58 PM
what if your child had special diet needs?

Nola Celeste
04-12-2011, 01:07 PM
That's appalling.

I disagree vehemently with the idea that all kids must eat the same school lunches. I don't care how healthy it purports to be--if I had kids, I'd want at least the option of sending them to school with home cooking.

What about kids with special dietary needs, as Cherrypie mentioned? What about kids who like their family's regional or cultural cuisine? What about picky kids? What about anyone who likes some variety and individuality in his or her life?

Sheesh. That kind of thing just ticks me off and I don't even have children. I can imagine how outraged parents must be over this.

Coondocks
04-12-2011, 01:11 PM
That's appalling.

I disagree vehemently with the idea that all kids must eat the same school lunches. I don't care how healthy it purports to be--if I had kids, I'd want at least the option of sending them to school with home cooking.

What about kids with special dietary needs, as Cherrypie mentioned? What about kids who like their family's regional or cultural cuisine? What about picky kids? What about anyone who likes some variety and individuality in his or her life?

Sheesh. That kind of thing just ticks me off and I don't even have children. I can imagine how outraged parents must be over this.


I am in total agreement with you.
I would not feed my child anything that looked like the picture presented.
While I think it's a good thing to have lunches available to students who's families are in financial hardships and need some help - I think that's great to have, but to not let there be the option is ridiculous.
But im sorry, there was nothing appealing about the looks of that lunch and I'm not surprised kids threw it out. I would have thrown it out. I'd be more comfortable giving my kid a PB&J sandwhich, banana and some milk than that.

bargoo
04-12-2011, 01:18 PM
The parents know what is best for their child, As has been mentioned, what about allergies ? What about religious concerns with some parents ?

mandalinn82
04-12-2011, 01:23 PM
The school does make exemptions for allergies and religious objections.

The policy has actually been in place for 6 years, and it seems like this is the first year there has been a significant outcry.

Oh and one more note for accuracy:

One school in Chicago has banned homemade lunches claiming they didn't like the idea of chips and sodas.

The exact situation was that the principal saw kids coming to school with ONLY soda and chips for lunch, not a soda and chips in addition to something with nutritional value. Just a big ol soda and a bag of flaming hot cheetos.

So it seems we all agree this is too far. What sort of restrictions on school lunches WOULD be appropriate? A friend of mine is a Kindergarten teacher, and has had her share of kids bringing in a liter bottle of sugared, caffeinated soda and a bag of Doritos for lunch. Should schools be able to set any guidelines on what home-packed lunches can contain?

time2lose
04-12-2011, 01:29 PM
I think that this crosses the line and interferes with parental rights. It might be appropriate to ban high sugar items as they can cause behavior problems but even that makes me cringe.

LandonsBaby
04-12-2011, 01:30 PM
Should schools be able to set any guidelines on what home-packed lunches can contain?

As far as safety such as no knives, forks, etc yes but as far as actual food. No. They can give encouragement, send home ideas but at the end of the day it's not their place.

Munchy
04-12-2011, 01:30 PM
The school does make exemptions for allergies and religious objections.

The policy has actually been in place for 6 years, and it seems like this is the first year there has been a significant outcry.

So it seems we all agree this is too far. What sort of restrictions on school lunches WOULD be appropriate? A friend of mine is a Kindergarten teacher, and has had her share of kids bringing in a liter bottle of sugared, caffeinated soda and a bag of Doritos for lunch. Should schools be able to set any guidelines on what home-packed lunches can contain?

This isn't school, but I recall being in community youth theater as a kid and one particularly hyperactive boy who was sent with JOLT (extra caffeinated soda) was banned from bringing any soda at all because of his behavior.

cbmare
04-12-2011, 01:33 PM
So it seems we all agree this is too far. What sort of restrictions on school lunches WOULD be appropriate? A friend of mine is a Kindergarten teacher, and has had her share of kids bringing in a liter bottle of sugared, caffeinated soda and a bag of Doritos for lunch. Should schools be able to set any guidelines on what home-packed lunches can contain?

Jamie Oliver showed that last year as well in his special. ITA that the parents should be held to a level of responsibility. However, when schools are giving in to the HFCS lobby in order to curb spending, there has to be something done on that side as well.

happy2bme
04-12-2011, 01:36 PM
A couple of things in the article not mentioned in this discussion:

1) anyone with special dietary needs (ie peanut allergies, gluten free) is exempted from this ruling.

2) the reason the school administrator pushed for this was that she saw the garbage people were sending their kids to school with (flaming cheetoes and a soda) and wanted to put an end to it.

With childhood obesity growing at alarming rates, I applaud any effort to teach kids to eat healthier and make better choices. I don't think the kids got fat eating school lunches alone. There have been several debates within the school system over the years trying to provide nutritionally sound lunches on a shoestring budget. In the end, most of the time the kids refuse the healthy options and want burgers, pizza and chicken nuggets. As for the cultural food aspect - the day they ran that article they served an enchilada as the entree in that mostly hispanic school and there are at least 2 entree choices for lunch each day in the school cafeterias.

When I was growing up, I had 2 choices - eat the healthy food my Mom packed for us (and this was in the days of brown bag lunches with no refrigeration) or sit there and be hungry. She would have been delighted if someone not only cooked our lunch but paid for it too. We would have been told to eat it and not waste food because there are children starving on the other side of the world who would love your food.

mandalinn82
04-12-2011, 01:39 PM
To answer my own question, I'm torn. I believe that a parent's right to feed their child as they please (or really, control any choices for their child's life/health/well-being) ends when they start significantly and measurably impacting the other students in the kid's class. If the food they are eating makes them overhyper, resulting in bad behavior and interrupting the class, that's fundamentally unfair to all of the other students.

It'd be very hard for the school to define that "line", though, or definitely show that it was the food contributing.

My friend the Kindergarten teacher handles this by teaching nutrition to her kindergarteners, having them talk to their parents about healthy lunches, etc.

Tonyia
04-12-2011, 01:46 PM
I think it's a horrible idea. My daughter has issues with school lunches so she must take homemade lunch banning it would cause a huge problem for us.

cbmare
04-12-2011, 02:07 PM
I must be REALLY old. We had a lunchroom staff who cooked. When I looked at the picture of the prepackaged crap in the photo in the article, my stomach turned. I can remember walking to school and could tell what we were having for lunch that day. Sloppy Joe day had me yearning for lunchtime. We had veggies and greens when we had Sloppy Joes. We didn't have potatoes or potato salad because the bun was the starch (as we called it way back when) and milk. There were no sodas in elementary. There were soda machines in JH and HS.

We had several choices in JH and HS. I remember having my tray and going through the line. I loved the greens and could get 2 of those instead of a starch if I wanted. We didn't get the menu in advance. My mom would ask me what was served and start tracking the pattern so we'd know in advance if I was brown bagging it or not.

berryblondeboys
04-12-2011, 02:18 PM
This isn't school, but I recall being in community youth theater as a kid and one particularly hyperactive boy who was sent with JOLT (extra caffeinated soda) was banned from bringing any soda at all because of his behavior.

here's something I learned after years of not letting my hyperactive child have any caffeine. Caffeine actually helps with ADHD. Go figure!

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/caffeines-effect-on-adhd-symptoms/

Munchy
04-12-2011, 02:48 PM
here's something I learned after years of not letting my hyperactive child have any caffeine. Caffeine actually helps with ADHD. Go figure!

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/caffeines-effect-on-adhd-symptoms/

That is really fascinating! I don't know that this child was diagnosed with ADHD, but he was certainly hyperactive and definitely more so after the Jolt. I recall being in school with him and he would always move his leg, like a jittery twitch, shake his entire desk, and subsequently everyone else's desk in that row. It drove me insane! :)

The caffiene could have been the culprit all together.
"A condition known as caffeinism can be triggered when caffeine is consumed in large amounts over an extended period of time. Caffeinism causes nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, muscle twitching, insomnia, headaches and heart palpitations. A high intake over time can also lead to peptic ulcers and other gastrointestinal problems."

fatferretfanatic
04-12-2011, 02:50 PM
I do not think it is fair to restrict packed lunches from home. They might be free, but as they say, "You get what you pay for". I would take slices of bellpepper, carrots, and a sandwhich with me to school in elementary. On rare occasions of feild trips, my father would pack me a diet soda in there as a treat, and maybe a mini candy bar or one cookie. I liked having the option, and I would say my parents did as well. Anything that interferes with being able to raise your children in a healthy way is uncool with me, and even if it is to try to prevent the bad stuff, it also prevents the good stuff too.

heatherwag
04-12-2011, 02:57 PM
I haven't read all of the responses, but I worked in the food service department at a school in Texas. One of the biggest fallacies that are out there about school nutrition is that it is not based on nutrition. That is far from the truth. The guidelines for what is acceptable to serve for lunch at school are very, very difficult to attain, especially given that the nutrition program is given very little in the way of monies with which to do so. They have to follow guidelines from the USDA as well as the FDA and then state guidelines too.
My biggest, biggest pet peeve while working in the nutrition program was parents who blamed the obesity of their children on the school lunches and then turned around and took them to McDonald's for every other meal.
I agree that a school shouldn't dictate that kids can't bring homemade lunches, but I think school lunches get an unfair rap because of the stereotype that people have towards it.
Just as an aside; I think the child obesity epidemic isn't caused by school lunches, but rather the lack of movement. Really, kids shouldn't have PE only 3 days a week. They should have recess everyday. And they shouldn't play video games/watch TV/sit in front of the computer for hours on end.

Hmmm. I got off topic a little, but this is one of my 'soap box' issues.

Latchkey Princess
04-12-2011, 02:59 PM
How do they know it was the parents sending the bad food to school with the kids? In grade school/jr. high my mom packed my lunch, but being a latchkey kid who took myself to and from school, I almost always put what she packed back in the fridge and took junk instead, like soda and cupcakes and stuff. Or I'd stop on the way to school at the candy store and buy junk to "supplement" the healthy stuff. And I know if they had tried to force school lunch on me (I went to a school where almost everyone qualified for free lunch, and whether or not that had anything to do with it I don't know, but the lunches were horrendous, tasteless and downright disgusting!) I would have just gone hungry or drank the chocolate milk and had done with it.

I don't think it's their place, and I know if a school in my area implemented this it would seriously affect my decision to send my children there, I don't like people telling me how to parent, even if it is just what they eat for lunch.

bargoo
04-12-2011, 03:03 PM
Kids also trade lunches with other kids.

eclipse
04-12-2011, 03:12 PM
To be fair, if you read the caption on the picture, it says that meal is NOT one that is served at the particular school that banned home packed lunches. I hope they're offering something better than that.

However, I have a huge problem with schools trying to control things like what kids eat. As it is, I have one child with mild special needs (not dietary needs, and nothing that would qualify him for an IEP in a school that would exempt him from a rule like this) who absolutely will.not.eat. plenty of different foods, and foods that he doesn't know the exact ingredients of. He would go hungry if he was at a school that had this rule. He eats very healthfully for a kid who has such an extremely limited palate (meaning, he doesn't eat cr@p all day long or anything), but a rule like this would turn him into a huge behavior problem kid in the afternoon while he sat there hungry after lunch.

heatherwag
04-12-2011, 03:15 PM
I agree with you eclipse. I don't think a school should control what parents feed their kids. The problem is that there are plenty of parents out there who complain that it is the school's job to provide and teach them good nutrition. Kind of like discipline- "you better discipline my kids....until they need it. And then you better not do anything to them!"
It is a no-win situation. For anybody.

Coondocks
04-12-2011, 03:22 PM
I agree with you eclipse. I don't think a school should control what parents feed their kids. The problem is that there are plenty of parents out there who complain that it is the school's job to provide and teach them good nutrition. Kind of like discipline- "you better discipline my kids....until they need it. And then you better not do anything to them!"
It is a no-win situation. For anybody.

This is what I love about 3FC, so many different points of view on things - great place.
That aside.

I have always wondered about that kind of parental thinking, honestly. I was raised to see teachers as an authority figure that my parents had already instilled in me that they were to be shown respect, and I intend to raise my son the same way. The majority of my sons time will be spent at home through out his years (you know what i mean) so I've always been of the mind that manners, respect, appropriate behaviour, nutrition and what not are my responsibility to teach him from day one.
Part of me can't wrap my head around the idea that some parents believe it's the job of schools to do that - and not to sound like an idiot, but do parents actually think that? That it's not their repsonsibility to teach their kids these things?
Not trying to instigate, blame or hi jack the thread, but I'm honestly curious about that.

heatherwag
04-12-2011, 03:27 PM
I can only tell you from my personal experience...yes, there are many out there who do. Like I said in my first comment- I would have parents call and complain that it's no wonder that kids are overweight because the school served donuts for breakfast! Um. No. Kids are not over weight from eating a donut for breakfast. Kids become over weight when the majority of their meals come from out and they eat 4 donuts for breakfast and then don't move all day!
So, to them, it was the school's responsibility to make sure they didn't eat unhealthy foods.

eclipse
04-12-2011, 03:34 PM
Well, I do think that it's the responsibility of the school to not serve cr@p, especially if they're going to be one of the school districts that does humiliating things like put BMI on report cards. We were poor growing up, and I got two meals a day at school through the free lunch/breakfast program - and let me tell you, those breakfasts, especially, were awful in terms of healthy food to start the day. I could have gotten something more nutritious from the McDonald's drive through, you know? And lunch vegetables were always startchy ones like corn (drenched in butter), fries, or gross carrot raisin salad in some sort of sweet mystery sauce. Ugh.

heatherwag
04-12-2011, 04:11 PM
Yep. I agree, they absolutely should serve healthy foods. But, I think that people don't understand the guidelines that they follow and how little funding they have to produce those results. I don't know how it is in other places, but here, they have polices in place like no fried foods at all. Schools had to remove all fryers by 2010. They also can't serve potatoes, that have been flash fried, more than 3 times a week in high schools and only once a week in elementary schools and they can't exceed 3 oz per serving. The guidelines also require that no more than 30% of calories come from trans fat and that no more than 10% of that be saturated fats.
The good news is that through commodity buying, schools are able to make more fresh fruits available. That goes a long way to reducing the amount of prepackaged foods that are served. Prepackaged foods, in my opinion, cause a lot of the issues we have, including allergies and obesity.
I think the guidelines are good; I think that not all schools follow them correctly.
BUT- I think that, aside from the food issue, schools really need to re-examine their physical education classes. And increase them. Like I said, eating a donut once in a while, or even once a week, is not detrimental to health. But never getting any exercise is.

Nola Celeste
04-12-2011, 05:19 PM
Schools are kind of stuck in a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Their budgets for school lunches are tiny--I learned that from a "Top Chef" episode--and they're massively constrained as to what they can afford to buy. On the other hand, they have to make what they serve appealing enough that kids will eat it, otherwise it's a big waste of everyone's time and money--and kids don't get fed.

I hated PE. I mean I truly hated it. The one thing I wanted to do in seventh grade was try out some of the gymnastics equipment, but my gym teacher told me that "fat girls don't get to do gymnastics." (At the time I was about five feet tall and 150 pounds.) It's very hard for me to say that there should be more PE when I suffered so abjectly with it as a pudgy, uncoordinated, bookish kid. But yeah, there probably should be more PE.

There just shouldn't be mean old hags like Ms. Pritchett teaching it. :D

Anyway, back to the school lunch thing: parents say they want healthier options, but when kids are presented with healthier options--at least the ones that schools can afford to buy in bulk--they don't eat the stuff and then parents complain about the low quality.

As for all the canned food that gets served to kids, a big part of that is because in the old days when school lunches were cooked from scratch on-premises, food poisoning cases were higher and (no surprise!) there was a big outcry from parents to use cleaner, more standardized food.

So I don't know what the solution is, but I'm 100% sure that it isn't, "You can no longer pack a lunch for your kid." That is just a terrible solution to the problem of kids bringing unhealthy foods to eat.

Amberelise
04-12-2011, 05:44 PM
Honestly, my best friend growing up would absolutely REFUSE to eat school lunches. (My school cooked our food, and it was pretty darn good.) She would eat nothing but a PB&J every day.

Why? Because she was spoiled rotten and her parents wouldn't make her eat what she didn't want to eat.

So, from that perspective, I say have at it. Kids are so spoiled these days. Taking the control away from the parents doing the spoiling my even them out a bit.

But, I would be interested to know the Chicago neighborhood. Where I tutor here in Chicago, the entire school is on the free school lunch program. And, honestly, I am 100% sure the school does a better job feeding the kids than any one of their parents or guardians.

eclipse
04-12-2011, 05:46 PM
Honestly, my best friend growing up would absolutely REFUSE to eat school lunches. (My school cooked our food, and it was pretty darn good.) She would eat nothing but a PB&J every day.

Why? Because she was spoiled rotten and her parents wouldn't make her eat what she didn't want to eat.

So, from that perspective, I say have at it. Kids are so spoiled these days. Gah.

If parents want to work on expanding their children's palates, that's up to them. I don't think it's the school's place to force that on a family. And, frankly, PBJ's can be quite a bit healthier than a lot of school food offerings.

eclipse
04-12-2011, 05:49 PM
I hated PE. I mean I truly hated it. The one thing I wanted to do in seventh grade was try out some of the gymnastics equipment, but my gym teacher told me that "fat girls don't get to do gymnastics." (At the time I was about five feet tall and 150 pounds.) It's very hard for me to say that there should be more PE when I suffered so abjectly with it as a pudgy, uncoordinated, bookish kid. But yeah, there probably should be more PE.



I honestly think that if PE wasn't such a humiliating experience for so many kids, kids would be a lot more active in school. When my son was in school (he's homeschooled now), they had an amazing PE teacher who did out of the box things - circus class, for example! The kids loved it. I never saw one kid that looked like they'd rather not be participating. I wish I had PE like that when I was in school.

XLMuffnTop
04-12-2011, 05:56 PM
And, frankly, PBJ's can be quite a bit healthier than a lot of school food offerings.

Agreed. My son would live on natural pb, fruit spread and whole wheat bread if we'd let him.

Unfortunately, with the current set up, schools play "parent" far too often and are responsible for the well being of the child 100% from morning until afternoon and really ought to provide nutritious meals. However, if a parent insists on feeding their child obvious junk food (I say obvious as some "healthy" food is junk but I digress!) then they need to come pick their child up and do it off campus. If they're not sure what junk food is, I'm sure the administrative offices could print up a few pamplets. ;)

But they shouldn't punish those parents who take the time and care to provide the best possible meals for their children.

mom4life
04-12-2011, 06:11 PM
I think its ridiculous to restrict bringing lunches to school. One quote that I saw was "If they do eat, only eat a little, or go hungry, that's fine..." Are you serious, you'd rather our kids go hungry because they didn't like your lousy food as long as I don't make them food, that's not right!"

chickybird
04-12-2011, 07:26 PM
I haven't read all of the responses, but I worked in the food service department at a school in Texas. One of the biggest fallacies that are out there about school nutrition is that it is not based on nutrition. That is far from the truth. The guidelines for what is acceptable to serve for lunch at school are very, very difficult to attain, especially given that the nutrition program is given very little in the way of monies with which to do so. They have to follow guidelines from the USDA as well as the FDA and then state guidelines too.
My biggest, biggest pet peeve while working in the nutrition program was parents who blamed the obesity of their children on the school lunches and then turned around and took them to McDonald's for every other meal.
I agree that a school shouldn't dictate that kids can't bring homemade lunches, but I think school lunches get an unfair rap because of the stereotype that people have towards it.
Just as an aside; I think the child obesity epidemic isn't caused by school lunches, but rather the lack of movement. Really, kids shouldn't have PE only 3 days a week. They should have recess everyday. And they shouldn't play video games/watch TV/sit in front of the computer for hours on end.

Hmmm. I got off topic a little, but this is one of my 'soap box' issues.

I totally agree with this. I am a teacher in the Houston area and my MIL is a cafeteria manager. At least in our district, deep fryers are banned. Older schools that had them, had them replaced with large sinks. Any parent or teacher can email, call, or visit the cafe and get nutritional data on ANY food item served (calories, fat, fiber, vitamin content, etc). There is always a vegetarian option. It irritates me when all-encompassing statements about how cr@ppy school food is are made. It varies by state, district, and city.
I have seen pre-k kids come to school with a can of slimfast and a candy bar--no joke.
I don't think homemade lunches should be banned, but as other posters have suggested, nutritional balance in homemade lunches should be encouraged. Yes, there are wonderful parents out there who pack healthy lunches, but there are many who just don't know any better or just don't have the money.
Edited to add--I certainly didn't write this to tick off people. I think every poster here had something great to say, and as another poster said, this is a no win situation. The parents who take the time to pack healthy lunches shouldn't be punished.

Cheshirecat
04-12-2011, 07:56 PM
Just to add in the defense of school lunches:
In the school I work at they actually print the some nutritional information on the menus (calories, fat, vitamins). I'm not quite sure how they arrive at the numbers but hey, they are trying.
And we have fresh fruit available everyday. Some days fresh veggies depending on the menu that week. (of course there is always cooked veggies every day) Our lunch workers are strict too, they make sure the student leave with a veggie and fruit on their tray (must be part of their policy).
Now I'm not saying I love every meal they prepare but it's not completely horrible either.

But as for the original topic....I do think banning home lunches are going too far. Parents are the parents after all, for better or worse. Banning home lunches is too much governing to sit well with me.

Stopfat
04-12-2011, 08:10 PM
I personally, let my son eat school lunches. They seem Ok to me, and I want him to extend his tastes (he's always been very picky).
However, my ex (his father) probably thinks I'm an evil maniac for it--because he is all about everything organic and free from preservatives. I also buy mostly organic food (especially for my son) and whole grains. He eats sprouted wheat bread exclusively (for bread), so I've done something right. I just can't be fanatical about it.

From what I've noticed about our school lunches, is that they are designed for children to eat, but they also include fresh fruit and vegetables for every meal. Plus, it gets my picky child to try new foods, which I might eventually make at home.

Still, I can see how this kind of regulation would upset a lot of the very health-centered families, who prefer to make their own decisions about their children's nutrition. You would think the lazy-on-nutrition parents would be the one's who, like me, let their kids get hot lunch--especially since it is free for low income children (who's parents often have the least time or money to buy and prepare healthy foods).

kaplods
04-12-2011, 09:13 PM
I think its ridiculous to restrict bringing lunches to school. One quote that I saw was "If they do eat, only eat a little, or go hungry, that's fine..." Are you serious, you'd rather our kids go hungry because they didn't like your lousy food as long as I don't make them food, that's not right!"

If you're talking about a 300 lb child eating a lunch consisting of a jar of cake frosting as lunch, I'm not sure that going hungry is the lesser of the two evils.

It really is easy to argue logically for both sides. Parents don't have an absolute right over their children's meals in school (otherwise a parent could send beer and marijuana brownies, if that's what they want their kid eating). Another obvious (and just as far-fetched) example would be a mom sending pbj to school for her child with a deathly peanut allergy. Now that would mean Mom 's either an idiot or a psychopath wanting to kill her kid. But, neither of which the school should ignore.

The kid being sent to school with frosting (even if they're healthy looking) isn't that big of a leap. Are the schools obligated to intervene?

That's a harder question, but all school staff (even the janitor) are legally obligated to protect children from abuse and neglect, and that included dietary abuse and neglect. The problem is that there are no clear definitions and standards to identify and measure dietary neglect and abuse.

But with childhood obesity and type II diabetes rates skyrocketing, I can't say that the schools aren't partially responsible not only in the problem, but also in the solution. I don't think it's fair to judge the situation without knowing what the specific school is dealing with, and what else they've tried to do to address the problem.

I do wonder if the school tried less severe measures first (sending home notes with food guidelines). And I also wonder how widespread and severe the problem was before the school took this drastic a measure. If 90% of the kids were eating 90% sugar and fat lunches then I think this might have been the better option.

I agree that schools are in a no-win situation. I don't feel comfortable with the banning of home lunches, but I also don't feel comfortable with growing children eating only sugar, salt, fat and caffeine and calling it lunch.

If parents aren't addressing the problem, maybe schools need to. I don't know.

It's hard to say without seeing what the "before" lunches looked like, and how widespread the problem was.

cbmare
04-12-2011, 09:40 PM
Wow! Such varied responses but it seems we all agree that a total ban is not the right decision.

Looking at the picture in the article tells me that they don't cook. They take prepackaged food and reheat it. What are the sodium levels? That is an issue as well.

I think kids are probably more inclined to eat when the food is "cooked" by the lunch staff, not reheated. Then again, if the food they get at home is nothing more than TV dinners heated in a microwave, then this is probably the norm.

This is a hard one.

Shytowngal
04-12-2011, 10:10 PM
Looking at the picture in the article tells me that they don't cook. They take prepackaged food and reheat it. What are the sodium levels? That is an issue as well.

The caption of the photo states that this photo is NOT the food served at the school with the ban. I wish the journalists would have been more responsible and actually showed and reported on what meals are actually being served.

I think reactions would be a lot different if the plate shown had carrot sticks, low-fat milk, whole grain turkey sandwich and an apple.

eclipse
04-12-2011, 10:37 PM
The caption of the photo states that this photo is NOT the food served at the school with the ban. I wish the journalists would have been more responsible and actually showed and reported on what meals are actually being served.

I think reactions would be a lot different if the plate shown had carrot sticks, low-fat milk, whole grain turkey sandwich and an apple.

Yeah, it's ridiculous that they showed a picture of another school's food. It could be that all public schools there serve the same kind of meals, but if that's the case, the caption should be clear about it.

When my son was in school, his school offered some really good school lunches. They had things like turkey wraps, lentils and pita bread, fish tacos (with real fish! not fried fish sticks!), yogurt (the real stuff, not neon colored gogurt), fresh fruit, raw veggies, whole grain crackers, etc. On pizza day, they had pizza brought in from a local restaurant that made it with whole grain crust, organic cheese, etc. I wanted to eat their lunches! They were a charter school, though, and used their food funds differently than other local schools. Because of my son's food issues, we still chose to send a lunch from home (except pizza day! he loved that pizza, and it was healthy as pizza goes), but had my younger children attended, I probably would have purchased lunches for them. Even with wholesome, generally yummy food, though, I would have issues with forcing parents to feed their children whatever was on the school menu. I don't have a problem with schools putting some restrictions on what can be in lunches brought from home, but it's sort of horrifying to me when I hear stories of schools outright banning things like cookies and other yummy baked goods. That sort of black and white, all or nothing thinking contributes to disordered eating just as much as anything else.

EZMONEY
04-12-2011, 10:43 PM
Here in California at the middle school my wife teaches at and the high school my son and daughter in law teach at the lunch and after school snack by far is
the already mentioned Flaming Hot Cheetos and Monsters/Red Bull .....

whether brought from home or purchased at the 7-11/markets after school I think it clearly shows what parents/kids think about restrictions on what they eat.

AZ Sunrises
04-12-2011, 11:35 PM
Just because one qualifies for a program, there's nothing written that one must be forced to participate. Free lunches are great, but if it's inedible, it's a waste.

I'm not a parent, but telling me that my child was no longer welcome to bring turkey sandwiches, salad, etc. and *had* to eat the processed garbage wouldn't fly. I'm sure they'd find a way to exempt my kid just to make me shut up.

icedragon6669
04-12-2011, 11:47 PM
WOW, I love reading forums and seeing how other countries live. In Australia the school canteen is like a small side shop, the kids do buy lunch if they have money, and have to take it and eat in the playground, (no such thing as a free lunch in australia!... sorry had to add the pun.. lol)
and 90% of kids have to bring their own lunch, as the cost of canteen is very high and most families cannot afford it.

But here our canteens had to undergo a thing called HEALTHY CANTEEN, where they had to provide nutrional meals, all our school canteens did was replace high fat unhealthy junk, with 99% fat free junk (Ie high fat meat pie, changed to lower fat meat pie), but all food is take away (ie goes in a paperbag) not meal type food.

Gosh I got angry at our school for checking the kids lunch boxes and commenting to the kids about what the teachers thought right or wrong, I had my autistic daughter tell me chocolate was very bad and shes never ate it since :(... even though that day it was her treat food.

We had the Jamie Oliver school show aired here and its amazing how different our systems are in schools.

CrystalZ10
04-13-2011, 12:33 AM
what if your child had special diet needs?

Children with allergies and special diet needs are excluded from the ban, but I think the parents would have to prove it.

Nola Celeste
04-13-2011, 01:02 AM
Children with allergies and special diet needs are excluded from the ban, but I think the parents would have to prove it.

Different people have different ideas about "special." A kid with a life-threatening allergy to strawberries or with celiac disease would clearly qualify for exemption, but as the article mentioned, would a vegan kid qualify? How about a vegetarian one? How about one who just had a very picky palate?

About that last one: we can argue whether the parents spoiled their little darlings into having limited palates or whether kids come by it honestly despite their parents' best efforts, but the fact remains that there are a lot--like, a LOT--of kids who will. Not. Eat. if they are served fish, beef, or whatever it is that they consider "oogy."

I was a tough kid to please. I ate spinach, but not peppers of any kind. Yes to cereal, no to any kind of fruit with it. Yes to chicken, no to beef. My choices weren't really unhealthy--any one of those things I mentioned would go just fine in a balanced, nutritious school lunch--but I would've starved on this "eat it or else" program. Would I then get an exemption because I was just a PITA of a kid? If so, then won't most parents opt out of the program? And if so, then what is the point of it?

I get that we don't want Suzie eating flamin' hot cheetos while Johnny chows down on a can of frosting, but I don't think that shoehorning everyone into the same program is a valid solution any more than high schools should teach nothing but remedial English and math until the very slowest students understand it thoroughly. Schools that take that approach quickly lose the interest of the faster kids in the class. And it's no wonder; it'd be a waste of their time.

Mandatory school lunches are a waste of time too for everyone but the few kids whose parents either don't know or don't care that they're eating total crap--and it seems a lot more cost-effective to help those kids on a case-by-case basis rather than pouring a ton of money into a school lunch program that quite literally winds up mostly in the trash.

That money is much better spent improving the free lunch program for the kids whose families rely on these lunches to see that their children get at least one square, hot, nutritious meal a day. The money and effort should go where it's really needed, not on obsessively controlling every aspect of every child's school day.

RiverWind
04-13-2011, 06:10 AM
Its ridiculous to take that right away from parents. I don't know about now, but ten years ago we got to pick from pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, fish sticks, all that sort of thing that the school lunches offered. It was all terrible fatty preservative filled food. They claim that the meals are more nutritional now but from what I have heard from parents, its a lie. They are as fattening and terrible as ever.

MindiV
04-13-2011, 08:57 AM
School menus around here are a joke. Pizza, burgers, burritos. For breakfast they serve one of those PBJ Uncrustable frozen things. Boxes of sugar-filled cereals and French toast. A TON of kids are on the free and reduced price lunch program, and breakfast is free to any kid who wants it because the town has a very high poverty level. So the poorer the kid, the worse he's eating at school.

The goal of the cafeteria is to make budget, or make money. In order to do that, they serve what kids want, regardless of whether it's good for them. That way kids eat in the cafeteria and they make money.

If my school, growing up, had this mandatory lunch policy I would have just not eaten. I took a lunch every single day - a cheese sandwich with chips and tea. I ate school lunches on chicken nugget and pizza days. If they'd tried to make me eat salisbury steak, I would have just had no food at all.

So if the kids aren't eating the food they're being forced to take, they're going back to class hungry. You can make a kid take a tray but you can't force-feed him.

Basically, a hungry kid is better than one who had a sandwich and Cheetos for lunch?

corazonas
04-13-2011, 09:16 AM
I may be one of the only ones who could go either way.... I have a Kindergardener and one who will be in PreK next year and my kids are not only super versatile about what foods they like, they also LIKE making the healthy choice. I was a stay at home mom from the time they were born until two years ago so I prepared almost every meal. I always taught them the value of eating well and it really sunk in for them when I became hyper aware of what I was putting in my body while losing weight a couple years ago.

So anyway, my kids love eating healthy food and the school system here has a pretty decent menu. Yes, there is burgers and hot dogs and pizza but some of the healthier things (that yes, she actually orders) are chef salad, fruit and cheese platter, whole wheat turkey wrap, etc. So I'm ok with the school food because they have good choices and she actually eats it.

But I don't think they should ban home lunches altogether... I packed my daughters lunch today and she had a turkey/spinach wrap, an apple, 2 hard boiled egg whites, homemade hummus with pretzels, and and a little pecan bun dessert thingy. It's healthy and she loves when she takes a lunch box!

heatherwag
04-13-2011, 10:03 AM
School menus around here are a joke. Pizza, burgers, burritos. For breakfast they serve one of those PBJ Uncrustable frozen things. Boxes of sugar-filled cereals and French toast. A TON of kids are on the free and reduced price lunch program, and breakfast is free to any kid who wants it because the town has a very high poverty level. So the poorer the kid, the worse he's eating at school.

The goal of the cafeteria is to make budget, or make money. In order to do that, they serve what kids want, regardless of whether it's good for them. That way kids eat in the cafeteria and they make money.



This is what most people think- but, the fact is that everything that they serve (in Texas, at least) meets very strict criteria. Several years ago they banned several cereals because of the high-sugar content. Now, a lot of the food that they serve is processed, and honestly, there are several factors that cause that: 1. ease 2. cost 3. guarantee that it meets the requirements (they have lots of recipes approved by the USDA and TDA, however, the challenge is making it the exact same every time) 4. things that meet the recommended daily nutrients in a way that *most* kids will eat them.

I think for years, schools were not doing a great job at serving the most nutritious meals, and that is why people don't see the improvements they have made nor are they aware of the guidelines they must follow. In Texas, schools must offer 5 components- meat/meat alternate (ie- yougrt, cheese), fruit, vegetable, bread, and fluid milk. Each meal has to consist of those 5 components. Now, a typical menu might include a burrito, pinto beans, salad, applesauce and milk. The burrito would be the bread (tortilla) and two ounces of meat (1.5 ounces for kids K-3) and then the rest would be the other three components.

The good thing is that schools are really amping up their fresh fruit/veggie selections.

The guidelines for school lunches extend to the classrooms as well. No Foods of Minimum Nutritional Value are allowed on campus at any time (elementary schools), with the exception of 3 class parties throughout the year. That means teachers may not reward a class with food or candy. If they do, the cafeteria loses government money from the free/reduced lunch program. So, the food department has to police every one on campus to make sure they are following the guidelines.

*Note- All schools in Texas are required to follow these same guidelines; if they aren't, then they will lose funding.

I personally think it is great that parents are becoming involved and think that parental concern has caused a great deal of these changes. BUT I don't think the school has the authority to tell a parent that they can't send a lunch with their kid.

Amberelise
04-13-2011, 10:20 AM
Here's a picture of their actual food.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-11/news/ct-met-school-lunch-restrictions-041120110410_1_lunch-food-provider-public-school

Which... actually looks horrible, lol.

Here's another article on the situation, and it shows a wide range of how states across the country are handling students bringing junk in for lunch: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110411/us_yblog_thelookout/chicago-school-bans-homemade-lunches-the-latest-in-national-food-fight

Obesity is a national epidemic. It's making private companies benefits surge, cutting into profits, making medicare higher, and its impact goes on and on... it *does* need to be addressed. It's to the point where the public has shown they really can't just do it on their own. This isn't 100 years ago when we all were for the most part active and healthy.

I *do* think the complete lunch ban is going too far, to be fair. But, I can see the frustration of the school.

They should ban soda, chips, cookies... And, what they should REALLY do is up activity time.

MindiV
04-13-2011, 10:23 AM
I live in Texas....our school is NOT amping up any fruits or veggies.

I remember when my mom worked in the school cafeteria when I was growing up. They actually cooked food. I'd go in there every morning before school, eat my sugary cereal and watch her do it. Guidelines have probably changed a lot since then.

All I know is the crap they're serving isn't healthy. A week's menu:
Breakfast (over 5 days) -
Sausage roll with mustard,
breakfast pizza,
sausage biscuit with jelly,
pancake on a stick with syrup,
French toast sticks with syrup
(offered daily are Pop Tarts, Milks, Juices, Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie, Cereal Bars, string cheese/crackers - guess that's the healthy option)

Lunch (5 days worth) -
Chili cheese hot dog with chips or pepperoni hot pocket with bread sticks;
Salisbury steak and gravy on rice or corn dog and chips;
Chicken on a bun with smiley potatoes or tacos and spanish rice;
Chicken nuggets and a roll or grilled cheese and chips;
Turkey and cheese sandwich and chips or pepperoni pizza and cheese sticks. (Daily - assortment of milks, fresh fruits (apple and banana), veggies (a salad) and desserts)

I've been in the cafeteria at elementary lunch time. When the kids can choose between semi-healthy turkey and cheese or pizza, they go with pizza.

I don't agree that a school should tell a parent she can't send a lunch to school with her kid...but if it does, it darn sure better offer healthier options than this crap.

MindiV
04-13-2011, 10:27 AM
They should ban soda, chips, cookies... And, what they should REALLY do is up activity time.


I agree about the activity time. So much of school now, at least in Texas, is spent teaching kids to pass the state-mandated tests that little time is spent actually moving.

I had the "privilege" of sitting in on a PE class one day. What a joke. The teacher told the kids, over their loud screaming and ignoring her, to get into their lines then do the activities on a chart the board - jumping jacks and stretching. When they were done, they could talk until time to leave.

They half-heartedly did the stuff while she sent text messages on her phone and checked her Facebook.

heatherwag
04-13-2011, 10:32 AM
Your school hasn't had a CRE done in a while, then. :( I agree that there are things that the schools could do to make it better; I am just saying that the schools *are* trying.

I sound like a walking billboard; I'm not. But I loved learning about all of the stuff that goes into it, and I tend to get on my soap box now and again. I see both sides.

heatherwag
04-13-2011, 10:34 AM
I agree about the activity time. So much of school now, at least in Texas, is spent teaching kids to pass the state-mandated tests that little time is spent actually moving.

I had the "privilege" of sitting in on a PE class one day. What a joke. The teacher told the kids, over their loud screaming and ignoring her, to get into their lines then do the activities on a chart the board - jumping jacks and stretching. When they were done, they could talk until time to leave.

They half-heartedly did the stuff while she sent text messages on her phone and checked her Facebook.

Absolutely, totally agree with you here! And I hate TAKS.

MindiV
04-13-2011, 10:35 AM
You don't sound like a walking billboard, Heather...it's good to know that some Texas schools are doing better! With our school the focus is money...all I ever hear at board meetings about the cafeteria is how it passed health inspections and made money.

XLMuffnTop
04-13-2011, 10:53 AM
Here's a picture of their actual food.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-11/news/ct-met-school-lunch-restrictions-041120110410_1_lunch-food-provider-public-school

Which... actually looks horrible, lol.

At least they have milk in actual cartons. When I was a kid, they switched to milk in a little pouch thing that you had to stab with a straw. It tasted like plastic and was nasty as all get out.

I'm afraid you may be in a crappy district Mindi. I have a lot of issues with our school district and my son isn't of school age yet! However, Their breakfast consists of:

Breakfasts:
Waffles w/ syrup (eh.. :( )
Egg and Cheese burrito
graham crackers and string cheese
whole grain french toast sticks
egg & cheese panini
strawberry yogurt parfait
whole grain pancake with syrup

Lunch:
Monday choices: meatloaf, chicken nuggets, ham and provolone sub, chef salad
Tuesday: Sweet & sour chicken, burger, turkey cheese pocket, veggie hummus & pita plate
Wednesday: Beef quesadillas, ham n cheese melt, spicy chicken wrap, baja salad
Thursday: Italian Lasagna, chicken patty sandwich, artisan veggie wrap, cheese beef nacho salad
Friday: Pepperoni pizza, crunchy fish sandwich, sunbutter & jelly sandwich (dunno wth that is), tuna salad

Drink choices are only 1% chocolate, 1% white, and skim white.

These are provided my Aramark so they're obviously more processed than what I give my child on a normal basis but they're better than they use to be. I remember walking in and getting Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs.

I think they should ban the true junk (chips, redbull, soda, candy, chocolate, etc). The problem comes in that some parents will send (as a PP said) a piece of chocolate as a treat. Is this disallowed? If a parent sends their child to school with Cheetos and a Dr. Pepper what do you do? Take it away and give them the school lunch? Send them home? Isolate them? Most of these options punish the child more than the parent for their crappy choices and lack of parenting.

You either watch kids eat crap or piss a bunch of parents off. This doesn't just occur in poor schools either. My son's in a daycare that provides great breakfasts (eggs, organic milk, whole grains, fresh fruit) and one parent ALWAYS sends her kid in with greasy white bread kolaches smothered in katchup with whole fat chocolate milk. But, it's my job to parent so when my son asked me for that I told him it's not a healthy way to start his day and should only be eaten occassionally as a treat. Granted, I said this in front of the parent and it made her furious but just because she makes poor choices doesn't mean it needs to keep me from doing my job as a parent.

Ok, I digressed some, but, it's a no-win situation that is not limited to any one area. :( But I don't want to be told how to parent because of others inability to do so.

Munchy
04-13-2011, 12:43 PM
My town's elementary menu snippets:
Jumbo Hot Dog on a Bun OR Tuna Salad on Wheat
Oven Fries
Pear Cup
Milk Choice

Popcorn Chicken w/Dipping Sauce
Buttered Noodles
Carrot Coins
OR Tuna Chef Salad w/Whole wheat roll
Mixed Fruit
Milk Choice

French Toast Sticks w/sausage links
OR Egg salad on Wheat
Orange juice
Warm apple crisp
Milk choice

What I sent my child with today:
Natural Peanut Butter/Fruit Spread on sprouted grain
natural pear sauce
grape tomatoes
natural cheese puffs
1 oz cheese
100% berry juice
Natural fruit snacks

My daughter won't die from eating jumbo hot dogs, popcorn chicken or sausage links, but she doesn't know that these items I feed her at home aren't the same as the ones that the school provides (she's three). I strongly believe that I should be making her homemade versions of these foods over buying them. She's never had tuna from a can in her life, nor mayo ridden egg salad.

It's my preference.

I see the problem with parents sending children with unhealthy items, but who is the judge of what is really healthy and what isn't. Even on this board, we run the gamut on how we prefer our meals (low carb, low sodium, low cal, low fat, organic, whole foods, etc), and I assume we all extend those beliefs onto our own families and children.
It does bother me when I see very overweight children at the grocery store and note what is in the shopping cart for them to eat - usually a lot of junk and typically the parent is very overweight as well. Children aren't raised in a vacuum and are the product of their environment. If a parent doesn't care what they put into their own body, would they truly care what their kids put into their bodies?

I think the most you can do is encourage healthy balanced diets and send home information. What a parent chooses to do with that information is their decision, but banning homemade lunches isn't the answer.

mom4life
04-13-2011, 03:31 PM
If you're talking about a 300 lb child eating a lunch consisting of a jar of cake frosting as lunch, I'm not sure that going hungry is the lesser of the two evils.

It really is easy to argue logically for both sides. Parents don't have an absolute right over their children's meals in school (otherwise a parent could send beer and marijuana brownies, if that's what they want their kid eating). Another obvious (and just as far-fetched) example would be a mom sending pbj to school for her child with a deathly peanut allergy. Now that would mean Mom 's either an idiot or a psychopath wanting to kill her kid. But, neither of which the school should ignore.

The kid being sent to school with frosting (even if they're healthy looking) isn't that big of a leap. Are the schools obligated to intervene?

That's a harder question, but all school staff (even the janitor) are legally obligated to protect children from abuse and neglect, and that included dietary abuse and neglect. The problem is that there are no clear definitions and standards to identify and measure dietary neglect and abuse.

But with childhood obesity and type II diabetes rates skyrocketing, I can't say that the schools aren't partially responsible not only in the problem, but also in the solution. I don't think it's fair to judge the situation without knowing what the specific school is dealing with, and what else they've tried to do to address the problem.

I do wonder if the school tried less severe measures first (sending home notes with food guidelines). And I also wonder how widespread and severe the problem was before the school took this drastic a measure. If 90% of the kids were eating 90% sugar and fat lunches then I think this might have been the better option.

I agree that schools are in a no-win situation. I don't feel comfortable with the banning of home lunches, but I also don't feel comfortable with growing children eating only sugar, salt, fat and caffeine and calling it lunch.

If parents aren't addressing the problem, maybe schools need to. I don't know.

It's hard to say without seeing what the "before" lunches looked like, and how widespread the problem was.

True, I was talking to my dh wondering if they even tried sending a list of nutritional food items to pack their kids lunches with. I remember going to JH School and watching practically the whole school go off grounds to buy chips and coke from the near by circle K. Which seemed a lot better then eating green hot dogs. LOL
I've learned a lot from a friend that works with CPS and I'm in shock of the stuff she's told me of the living conditions she's seen. So as you said, I would assume the lunches wouldn't be that bad since I packed lunches for my dd1 when she was little. She always wanted PB&J, I would throw in carrots and raisins with a capresun drink. Now if parents are sending their kids with a slice of cake? wow, that's unreal. :( Might as well send them with a bag of sugar.

mandalinn82
04-13-2011, 04:10 PM
Here's the menu for my childhood school district (click to open the PDF).

http://www.nusd.org/files/_PIFKx_/cf6f396b45e879613745a49013852ec4/Menu9.April.2011_Menu__New.pdf

I'm actually pretty impressed. Look - included nutrition info, a veggie of the month, etc.

That said, they still shouldn't be able to tell parents they can't pack healthy meals from home. But I do think schools CAN and SHOULD put limits on what can be brought...formulating those limits to include all kinds of healthy eating styles might be tricky, but again, having a friend who teaches Kindergarten and hearing her tales of what is brought for lunch (1 student had a 3 serving bag of doritos and a liter of coke, another had literally just a piece of coke and a pepsi, and one student brought ONLY a 2 liter bottle of pepsi. For lunch), I think some guidance and restrictions from the schools might be helpful.

XLMuffnTop
04-13-2011, 04:25 PM
Here's the menu for my childhood school district (click to open the PDF).

http://www.nusd.org/files/_PIFKx_/cf6f396b45e879613745a49013852ec4/Menu9.April.2011_Menu__New.pdf

I'm actually pretty impressed. Look - included nutrition info, a veggie of the month, etc.



That link takes me to a sign in page so I couldn't view the menu.

But, I think something everyone can agree on is soda. No child needs soda especially a 1 liter for lunch. My son might get a Sprite if we're on a road trip and absolutely nothing else is available but that's like, what? Once a year?

Beyond that, it gets tricky. Everyone can agree there are some crappy parents sending kids to school with crappy "food" but how much do you interfere without interfering with those who are taking care with their childs nutrition. As a parent, I'm torn and certainly don't have the answer.

mandalinn82
04-13-2011, 04:32 PM
Weird! I didn't log into anything.

Does this work?

http://www.nusd.org/GroupHome.page

Click on "April 2011" to see what I was looking at.

XLMuffnTop
04-13-2011, 04:34 PM
Weird! I didn't log into anything.

Does this work?

http://www.nusd.org/GroupHome.page

Click on "April 2011" to see what I was looking at.

Weird. it keeps redirecting me to https://www.edline.net/Index.page to sign on.

Edited to add: I was able to get there through their main website nusd.org and click through the options. Very odd though!

Edited again: The menu does look very decent. I will note two things:

1. Those lunch prices are more than double our lunch prices and does not include milk (which seems to be extra)
2. They offer farm to school options but we do not live near many farms. Unless you want to eat cotton of clear out the very few farmer's markets, items are going to be shipped in from farther distances which limits what will be used.

I do wish our school districts menu looked like that. I might not feel the need to send them with a packed lunch. It would certainly make mornings easier!

ANOther
04-13-2011, 07:26 PM
Forgive me if I'm not the first person who's made this point (I only just saw this thread), but isn't a ban on ALL packed lunches throwing the baby out with the bath? The idea may be to keep parents from packing junk food, but a blanket ban bars packing good food as well.

cbmare
04-13-2011, 07:36 PM
Forgive me if I'm not the first person who's made this point (I only just saw this thread), but isn't a ban on ALL packed lunches throwing the baby out with the bath? The idea may be to keep parents from packing junk food, but a blanket ban bars packing good food as well.

You aren't the only one. I think someone also brought up the fact that the teacher or school whatever might also think that what we may consider healthy (fresh fruit) would be no allowed by them because of the sugar or a sandwich on whole grain bread might not be allowed because they oppose carbs. Of course, I would have to let my militant mouth loose if that were to happen with my kids. Boy, it is a good thing they are both grown with childrenn of their own now. LOL.

I also object if they don't allow a small piece of candy every now and then considering the highly sugared cereals they serve and those pudding cups probably have more crap in them than a single bite thing of chocolate.

I hope they offer something other than just cows milk. Almond milk maybe? What if someone is allergic to milk?

kaplods
04-14-2011, 04:44 AM
I just got another perspective on this situation, last night in my TOPS group.

One of the members brought it up from something they'd read in the paper about schools in Chicago banning backpacks and lunch bags/boxes because of weapons, drugs, alcohol and other contraband being smuggled into the school that way.

It makes me wonder if the "home lunch" ban has a lot more to do with the drugs, alcohol and weapons issue than the nutrition level of the home lunch.

And in some schools, they actually don't allow the children to take books home because of the number of books that aren't returned. And some schools are loading the text books onto computers, because it's cheaper to give the kids a laptop computer with the textbooks loaded onto them because it's cheaper to replace the computer and the software than to replace the actual textbooks.


I'm only 45 years old, but these issues make me feel ancient and out of touch.

Coondocks
04-14-2011, 09:30 AM
Just out of curiousity, are peanut products banned in schools in the US?
They are in a lot if not most schools/daycares in Canada now.
I can't help but wonder if that can be banned for the safety/health of other students, why can't 'food' that is quite obviously unhealthy be monitored as well?
Sodas, tubs of icing for lunch, ridiculously large amounts of sugar, unhealthy fats etc?

fitness4life
04-14-2011, 09:36 AM
I just got another perspective on this situation, last night in my TOPS group.

One of the members brought it up from something they'd read in the paper about schools in Chicago banning backpacks and lunch bags/boxes because of weapons, drugs, alcohol and other contraband being smuggled into the school that way.

It makes me wonder if the "home lunch" ban has a lot more to do with the drugs, alcohol and weapons issue than the nutrition level of the home lunch.

And in some schools, they actually don't allow the children to take books home because of the number of books that aren't returned. And some schools are loading the text books onto computers, because it's cheaper to give the kids a laptop computer with the textbooks loaded onto them because it's cheaper to replace the computer and the software than to replace the actual textbooks.


I'm only 45 years old, but these issues make me feel ancient and out of touch.

The schools are always going to be one step behind in preventing drugs and alcohol from entering schools. It seems dumb to me to ban home lunches for this reason because the kids can easily smuggle those items in their book bag.

Remember the days when we could wear hats in school? So some gang banger "represented" his gang with a hat. Now kids can't wear hats. I used to teach at a school near Chicago - not inner city but a really rough suburb - and I watched the kids "represent" without wearing hats. Now I work at a rural school. There isn't a gang within a 200 mile radius and these kids are banned from wearing hats. WTH? Just who would these kids be "representing"?? lol

I guess my point is, if prevention is a reason for banning home lunches, the administrators are a lot more stupid than I thought. Even if the ban was about nutrition, just stupid! Educate the parents! Assist them and don't dictate in a way which has obvious consequences.

kaplods
04-14-2011, 01:21 PM
The schools are always going to be one step behind in preventing drugs and alcohol from entering schools. It seems dumb to me to ban home lunches for this reason because the kids can easily smuggle those items in their book bag.

From what the TOPS member was saying, the schools have banned book bags and backpacks as well. In essence, some of the schools are not allowing kids to bring in anything from home except what they're actually wearing. It doesn't prevent kids from carrying stuff on their person, but it does make it harder.

It's true that no matter what you ban, the risk is still going to be there. Some ingenius kid will find a way around the rules.

School administrations are in a tough position, because they're blamed for being ridiculously overcontrolling, until something goes wrong, and then they're blamed for not doing enough to have prevented it.

I do wonder if homeschooling is going to become more and more common at all income levels (there's even an online-only public school option I keep seeing advertised on television).

fitness4life
04-14-2011, 09:21 PM
From what the TOPS member was saying, the schools have banned book bags and backpacks as well. In essence, some of the schools are not allowing kids to bring in anything from home except what they're actually wearing. It doesn't prevent kids from carrying stuff on their person, but it does make it harder.

It's true that no matter what you ban, the risk is still going to be there. Some ingenius kid will find a way around the rules.

School administrations are in a tough position, because they're blamed for being ridiculously overcontrolling, until something goes wrong, and then they're blamed for not doing enough to have prevented it.

I do wonder if homeschooling is going to become more and more common at all income levels (there's even an online-only public school option I keep seeing advertised on television).

Seriously? I guess my 6 years in the sticks makes me backwardsarse. How does one get educated without bringing stuff to and from home? NM. I don't wanna know.

This is why I live where I live.

shannonmb
04-15-2011, 08:55 AM
Just out of curiousity, are peanut products banned in schools in the US?
They are in a lot if not most schools/daycares in Canada now.
I can't help but wonder if that can be banned for the safety/health of other students, why can't 'food' that is quite obviously unhealthy be monitored as well?
Sodas, tubs of icing for lunch, ridiculously large amounts of sugar, unhealthy fats etc?

My daughter's preschool had a peanut product ban, but her elementary school does not. I was actually surprised when I found out she could bring pb to her school. I think she said they have a special table that the nut allergy kids sit at for lunch. Which weirds me out a little, but I guess they need to stay safe. I sure hope all the kids with nut allergies like each other since they have to sit together!

xgaynicole1984x
04-17-2011, 04:56 AM
Hello,

I don't think schools should ban homemade food.
I watched at one Jamie Oliver's show that school made food is really unhealthy. When I watched that film I really felt bad.

I think schools should support homemade food.

I'm not at school anymore, but for breaks I buy and eat salads, bananas and apples.

Depends on the parents of each child, they should buy healthy food as well, if they already have overweight children.

best wishes

MoveMoveMove
04-19-2011, 07:05 PM
I work at a school and am amazed at what we are allowed to serve as a healthy meal.

Breakfasts:
Honey Buns, Breakfast Burritos, Pancake on a Stick, Waffles and Sausage, Fruedels, Breakfast Pizza, Kolache, Pancakes, Yogurt and Animal Crackers, Fruit Muffin, Pop Tarts, Breakfast Pockets

Lunches:
Chicken fried steak, green beans, dinner roll, chilled fruit*
Salisburuy steak, mixed greens, cornbread
(*chilled fruit is available everyday and no it's not fresh fruit)
Chicken quesadillas, spanish rice, refried beans
Teriyaki chicken, steamed rice, oriental veggies
Pepperoni pizza, sweet peas
Beef burrito, refried beans
Chicken nuggets, steamed brocccoli, dinner roll
Grilled cheese, steamed carrots
Meatballs, spinach, cornbread
Fish sticks, mixed veggies, dinner roll
Chicken nuggets, green beans, dinner roll
Pepperoni pizza, sweet corn
Hot dog, baked chips, pinto beans
Cheeseburger, sweet peas

Low fat white and flavored milk is available for all meals.

Most of these items are heat and eat; very little is actually cooked by the staff.

All of these items are on a rotating basis and are selected partially based on what the kids will actually eat. We've had site visits by all the overseeing agencies and these meal have been approved.

Now, one reason the school may be trying to force the kids to get school lunches is because they will only be paid for actual meals served. Not eaten but served.

Again, I don't think our meals are the greatest healthwise but the sad thing is that the two meals served during the day are the only meals some of our kids eat all day.

I remember hearing a story on the radio about a lady in GA, can't remeber if she was a Superintendent or a Principal, who banned all sugar in her school/district, no matter who supplied the meal. The parents, vendors, and others complained to beat the band but she held her ground. Guess what, by the end of the year the kids' health and test scores improved immensly and they got off her back.

There's also a school in New York run by Geofrey Canada that insists on feeding its kids healthly meals. I sometimes have dreams of opening my own charter school and he runs his much like I think of setting mine up. Their food program is run by a chef and they actually cook their food. He talked about how many of the kids had not even heard of some of the veggies they serve. It took time but eventually the kids caught on and started to eat more healthfully.

I also went to a training/presentation by a company associated with Dr. Oz. They go into middle and high schools and teach nutrition/home ec courses. Their goal is to teach the kids to like healthy foods so that they can take that idea home to their families. For the most part it seems to be working.

WebRover
04-19-2011, 09:28 PM
If my daughter were required to "buy" school lunch instead of bringing in her own, she would not have time to consume sufficient calories. She's a slow eater. By the time she would stand in line to get her lunch, she would not have enough time left to eat the items in her lunch she would be willing to eat. She won't drink milk (I won't either so I wouldn't be interested in forcing her to do so), doesn't like corn, won't eat foods that require substantial chewing, hates Cheerios (and went to a Day Care that served them 2x a week). I remember in day care there was one lunch that showed up on a three week rotation, where the only thing she would eat was the gravy. This is a 120 pound 5' 5" young adult that absolutely won't eat food she doesn't like and won't eat if she isn't hungry. I send in a protein based entree, a vegetable and a fruit for her for her lunch. If she were forced to eat school lunches, I'm afraid to think about how few calories she would eat.

My son, who burned off calories wrestling, played football and competed in track and field & weight lifted nearly daily could have eaten two school lunches a day and not have had enough calories.

With all the confusion over what constitutes "healthy" food, it's hard to comeup with a program that fits everyone. I think we're all in agreement that white flour and sugar aren't healthy for anyone. But I still see foods based on white flour and sugar promoted by the school menus.

MindiV
04-25-2011, 12:55 PM
A FB friend posted this today...his daughter's friend brought a lunch to school. The kid is in first grade. The friend's lunch: a four-pack of Chip's Ahoy cookies, a Star Crunch, a Little Debbie jelly roll, a bag of potato chips, a carton of chocolate milk and a PBJ sandwich.

Sometimes you have to wonder about parents who do this stuff....

iaradajnos
04-25-2011, 02:44 PM
American schools are packed filled with the full spectrum. To deny my kids their meals, we'd really be unhappy and pull them out of the schools. To allow families to serve unhealthy stuff is really doing a disservice to their education as well as their health.

I get that it's very complicated. I just don't want the schools to be dumping grounds for left over beef/dairy products or the worst animal byproducts that can't be sold anywhere.

I have a friend (a nurse) who used to be very concerned for her youngest of three sons. The boy was thin (but so was their eldest son and their father). She felt that it was much more important for him to eat anything than eat something healthy. For me that was a very slippery slope. I saw some of the meals that included fluff (marshmellow cream) and a little Skippy PB, choc. milk, and Pirate Booty veggie sticks.

Alternatively, my older son's lunch is raw tofu, raw broccoli, an apple and 1% milk. My younger son has brown rice, lentil soup, curried goat meat, and curried veggies with an apple and soymilk.

By the way, I'm not some great goddess of food nutrition. My older son prefers raw tofu and broccoli because my non-American husband served it not knowing that I would never have fed them that. My son asked me for raw broccoli & cauliflower and I had no idea you could eat those raw. My kids eat really healthy because their dad grew up on a remote farm in a remote country forced to eat healthy veggies and home-raised meat. I've learned alot from living over there and picking up info from 3fc.

helwa588
04-26-2011, 06:15 AM
this is ridiculous. most school lunches are unhealthy. kids get better nutrition from home. i'd be pissed if my kid's school told me i couldn't send them food from home.