Here's the link to the lunch menu for October. I think it's "pretty good" in that they offer fruit and veggies at all meals, use whole wheat bread, and are not overly fried ... The problem is that the kids don't eat the fruit for the most part, so it's probably more wasted than anything else.So, what do we do? Many parents choose to pack lunches, which solves the issue for their children. On a larger level, there are far too many children in our country who qualify for the school lunch program for free due to poverty, and these meals are likely the healthiest and best option they get all day. We all stand to benefit by changing school lunches for the better.
Here's our lunch menu. As far as I can see, it's "kiddie food" heaven. My son packs his lunch. I haven't made a stink about the school lunches, because I honestly think it would fall on deaf ears.
Here is our district's menu for elementary students this week. Some things on here look ok, others not so ok (pancake sausage on a stick? WTF? That is what Jon Stewart has been making fun of in recent months). Wrapped cheese dog? Etc.I love "Popular" Bean & Cheese Burrito. Is that opposed to the Outcast Burrito? Nerd or Geek Burrito? You can see a bunch of school menus from around the country at http://www.schoolmenu.com/... It's interesting to compare more affluent districts with the inner city menus, and also to check on what's available in neighboring districts.
October Lunch Menu for our district's elementary schools.
Our menus look great on paper. For example "California burger, fresh fixin's, oven fries." But there are two problems. First, every day has an alternate entree. On California Burger Day, the alternate is fish sticks. Guess what the kids choose? Also, the kids pick whichever side items they like from the lunch line, so how many of them are eating those fresh fixin's?
As for affluent schools vs. others, I looked up the menu at an expensive private school nearby. It was FAR worse than our public school. "Cheeseburger, fries, ice cream; Mac'n'cheese, corn dogs, pudding." The real kicker was the price: $4 a day! Unbelievable!
Here is ours: Nightmare!! We send lunch.
My daughter attends a private, parochial school. She doesn't yet eat lunch there, but I still get there menu. It's as atrocious (if not worse) than the one you posted: pizza, hot dogs, tacos, rinse, lather, repeat. She and her sister will be carrying their lunches.
I don't have kids, but spotted this in the local paper:
"BHS initiates fresh produce lunch program"
Overall encouraging, but for the ending:
“'We want to establish it first at the high school. We’ll see student reaction to it – if they like it; if they even notice,' said Whittier."
It seems to me that the younger you catch them, the better results you'll get. I'd hate for the program to be discontinued just because the hardened teenagers continue to choose chips and fries over novel veggies.
Of course, if you live in a different country, say one in Europe, or Australia, things are a bit different:
Last week's lunch was Moroccan beef and vegetables over couscous and chocolate cake for dessert, with dried fruit for afternoon tea. In the past, they've done baked chicken, moussaka, roasted vegetable sandwiches, etc., etc., etc. I keep wanting to finagle a lunch invite! (Australia)
I don't have a blog to post this on, but I thought you might be interested in what my son gets to eat at his public pre-school, since we live in Germany. The kids bring their own breakfasts, which consist generally of whole grain bread, lunch meat and cheese - all real, no Kraft Singles in this country, thankfully. They each also bring a piece of fruit that is shared for morning snack. Lunch and afternoon snack are provided by the school. Here's this week's menu:
Mon L: mini-spaghetti with bolognese sauce, raw veggie salad
Mon S: chocolate cornflakes with milk, pears
Tue L: scrambled eggs, spinach, potatoes, yogurt
Tue S: spongecake with fruit
Wed L: greenbean stew, 1/2 roll, fruit
Wed S: applecake
Thu L: roasted white fish with dill sauce, potatoes, raw veggie salad
Thu S: rye bread with butter, turkey salami, kohlrabi
Fri L: cauliflower-cheese medallions with carrot sauce, mashed potatoes, chocolate pudding
Fri S: whole grain bread, egg salad and chives, mandarines
The school guarantees that all the food they provide is additive-free. I'm interested to know what kids in the States drink at pre-school - do they give them lots of soda and juice? Here kids drink mainly water and herbal tea. I'm quite happy with the meals they provide and live in fear of the school lunch situation when/if we do return home to the States. (Germany)
And, of course, the menu that started this "survey," France.
Way over at the other end of the spectrum, there are schools and programs that are innovative and that bring food and nutrition not just into the lunchroom, but into the classroom. These are the schools that have gardens and hands-on food curriculum as well as those who participate in farm-to-school programs. My thought is, if a few schools can do it, the others can find a way. Especially if we push them toward it. In the coming weeks, I will post resources and information on steps to take as well as success stories and great examples you can share with your school. Until then, Bon Apetit!