School is almost out here, and my son is very tired of eating his box lunch every day. And to be honest, I’m pretty tired of making it. Last Friday, for the first time in 2 years, I let him skip the cold box lunch for the school lunch. I had reservations about this because the lunch menu is rarely healthy and balanced. In this last month of school, processed instant mashed potatoes, chips, tater tots, or French fries will be served 9 times. Some kind of extremely processed meat (hotdogs, little smokies, steak fingers, fish sticks…) will be served a total of 11 times. Out of 18 school days this month, that seems excessive. I don’t want to be unfair. Milk and salad bar are available daily. Of course children can choose from plain milk, chocolate milk, or strawberry milk. Guess what the average first grader chooses (by the way, flavored milks can contain more sugar thank a regular soda).
I do see some improvement since my school days, but considering the rapidly increasing rate of obesity in children it seems that more proactive changes are needed. This article highlights the USDA’s new rules for school breakfast and lunch offerings http://www.kptm.com/story/14640042/us-pushes-school-cafeterias-toward-healthier-offerings. While I appreciate the need for taking “baby steps” in making big changes, I worry that my children will be in college by the time a truly healthy school lunch is offered.
So, my hat’s off to all you moms and dads who pack healthy lunches for your kids every day. Keep up the good work, and enjoy your summer break! I know I will!