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Healthy School Lunches; who’s responsibility is it?

Healthy School Lunches; who’s responsibility is it?

YHHS logoYour Healthy Home Show Listen Live - Friday 11:00am on WSAR 1480 AM or Online

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Healthy School Lunches; who's responsibility is it?

Steve and Joe talk about National School Lunch Program, Who's Responsibility Is It, Farm To School Project, School Lunch Challenge, and Organic School Lunch Ideas.

National School Lunch Program what is it and when did it start?

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946. Ref: http://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp

Early programs started in the United States in 1853. A group called the Children's Aid Society of New York initiated a program of serving meals to students attending a vocational school. There was a book written in 1904 that called "Poverty" by Robert Hunter and it really did a lot to bring awareness to the fact we needed to do something about feeding needy kids in schools. Some kids were coming to school with no food in the early 1900s. Boston and Philadelphia were the first two cities to start a school lunch program. In Boston, it was actually the Woman's Educational And Industrial Union that began serving hot lunch in all of the high schools under the supervision of the Boston School Committee which goes back to 1908.

National School Lunch Program

The 2010 Healthy Kids Act

Michelle Obama champions National School Lunch Program. On the "Lets Move" web site, she makes a clear distinction that in past, kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, and were more active. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare. Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Ref: http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity

Imagine the enormous job it would take to feed 31 million children every day. That is what our government program is doing it with a lot of people's help. It's commendable that we have a system that is looking out for all children. However, anything that is done can always be improved. The 2010 Healthy Kids Act is about putting more fruit and more whole grains into the school system lunch programs to help the kids be healthy and not to be obese. It also helps them to understand and educates them about healthy food choices. This is great and addressing the issue shows that we're moving in the right direction. In the grand scheme of things, 31 million kids are being fed every single day and that in its self is a major accomplishment. Ref: http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/healthy-hunger-free-kids-act

National School Lunch Program; Challenges

Usually whenever you get into big programs there's usually big problems that need to be dealt with such as; people who are going to say, I don't want my kids eating school lunch programs that has GMO food. (Genetically Modified Organisms) What about antibiotics that they're feeding chickens and cows? Antibiotic is actually passing over into the human stomach and we may be becoming resistant to antibiotics. It may be true that we are feeding our kids what appears to look like good food, but the truth of the matter is they are not getting what they need. (Nutritional Value is lower compared to Organic / Non-GMO Food) Ref: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/are-biotech-foods-safe-to-eat

Who's Responsibility Is It?

We want to solve the problem of kids being hungry and the 2010 Healthy Kids Act raises the requirements for a healthy school lunch. This is positive, but a recent article was published about a survey that included over a hundred thousand schools suggests negative results. Since the new healthy initiative has gone into effect, 83% of those school districts have noticed an increase of food waste. Majority of all students do not like the school lunches that are being severed. Ref: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/yuck-83-of-nations-schools-report-more-lunches-dumped-by-kids/article/2554714

Who would think that the government could change what Mom couldn't do? Mom used to tell us, eat your vegetables and fruits. Just because of the National Government wants to do it; do we think that it's going to work? Ultimately it should be the responsibility of the parents to teach their children about good eating habits. We should be thankful that the government is helping us in this effort.

Who's Responsibility Is It?

How much is the government paying for the National School Lunch Program?

It was in the1930s that the Federal Government got involved in the school lunch programs. They actually started loaning money to the states in different departments to be able to fund payroll to feed the kids. It was not until after the World War II in 1946 when the modern lunch program we have today started.

National School Lunch Budget

  • 1947 - $70 million (1st full year of operation)
  • 1950 - $120 million
  • 1960 - $225 million (doubled in size)
  • 1970 - $500 million
  • 1980 - $3.2 billion
  • 1990 - 3.7 billion
  • 2000 - 6.1 billion

What do you think the total budget of the national school program is in 2012?

  • 2012 - $11.6 billion

What Can We Do To Improve Children's School Lunches?

What are the options; if you want to improve the lunches your child is eating at school? You can start by contacting your Local School Food Director. Most schools out source their school lunch services. Ask questions.

Some questions you can ask;

  • What daily choices are available to maintain a healthy diet?
  • Does the lunch program provide organic and non-GMO food?
  • How much of the food is purchased locally?
  • What is being done to educate children about healthy food choices?
  • Is the school district participating in The Farm To School Project?

What Can We Do To Improve Children's School Lunches?

Get Your Child's School Involved; Farm To School Project

According to the USDA, $385 million is spent on food from local sources. (Community) $385 million ÷ 11 $.6 billion program is about 3.3% of the program. About 3% of the food that our kids are eating nationally is coming from local sources. Is this good or bad?

USDA has a program called Farm To School Project that encourages school districts to source more food locally and to provide complementary educational activities to students to teach that why they need to eat vegetables. If you're concerned parent and you want to make this your school lunches in your community better, you can do it. There is a 53 page book step-by-step on how to implement the Farm To School Project that any parent can volunteer and work with the schools to help implement the program. Ref: http://www.massfarmtoschool.org/

The federal government can provide grant money of $20-$45,000 for a school system or school district to develop a farm to school program where they can bring in more local foods into our school systems. Is your school involved in the Farm To School Project and if not why not. Why can't we get this grant money? Why can't we get enough parents to say yes I want to do this? We see that some schools have choices such as organic milk they can shoot for a dollar extra they can get organic milk vs. non-organic milk. These a positive steps and it's showing the need because some people feel that all the heavy metals, pesticides, antibiotics are being delivered into a children every day. It is not the government's responsibility to feed the kids. It's you as the parent that should determine what goes into your child's body (what food they eat).

The National Food Lunch Program was started for the needy, free lunches and low reduced lunches for the poverty level. This is a great it's a minimum standard. It is over a minimal standard, but it's not for everybody. Is it possible that all this GMO food could be affecting us? Maybe 15 years 20 years from now we're all going to know and in the meantime, 31 million children a year of being the test laboratory. If you decide that you don't want your children to be a part of that and you want to feed them real food, you will have the same challenge as the government. The government reimburses $2.93 to the local school system for each lunch in Program. Most of us spend that on a coffee and donut. How are you going to give your child an organic healthy non-GMO meal for only $2.93. It isn't going to happen and that's the challenge!

Parents have to ask themselves; is it worth me spending four dollars a day to have a healthy lunch for my child to eat in school?

If you want more information about the Farm To School Grant Program or the school lunch program in our state? You may want to contact:

Simca Horwitz - Massachusetts Farm to School

Phone: 617-239-2574

Email: simca@massfarmtoschool.org

Kathleen Millett - Department of Education

Phone: 781-338-6479

Email: kmillett@doe.mass.edu

School Lunch Challange

School Lunch Challange

What can we as parents do to help the children make healthy choices and eat healthy food?

Join the "School Lunch Challenge". We want to start getting people to go to the Your Healthy Home Show - Facebook page and post what they think would be a good balanced healthy lunch that parents could make for the kids that is a healthy. (Eating healthy organic non-GMO food for under $5) Click Here to submit your ideas!

If you want your kids to eat the lunch that you make, the first step you have to do is get them involved in the process. If you can get them involved in the process as far as planting and preparation, and process of making their lunch and then going to eat it. School lunch challenge: 10 days where every day the child and the parent or grandparent is involved perhaps the night before maybe even the shopping. A budget that you could limit to no more than $40 for two weeks of lunches. Small budget, but that's less than four dollars a day for your child's lunch.If you shop smart, you can do it!

Organic School Lunch Ideas

Organic School Lunch Ideas

Get your kids involved in the planning and preparation of making their lunch and they will be more apt to eat it. It's also a perfect time to talk to your child about the importance of a healthy meal. The knowledge and guidance you provide will help them choose items based on nutritional value now and into their adulthood.

TIPS: Organic School Lunch ideas Ref: http://www.inhabitots.com

Rollups (Wraps) - Roll ups are nice and reasonable. Your child will come up with all kinds of ideas of what to put in them. Wraps are highly customizable with (Organic) vegetables, cheese, chicken and more.. Salad is also makes a great rollup.

Make your own lunchables - Healthy lunchables with no artificial coloring and preservatives such as organic whole-wheat crackers with fresh fruit and vegetables can make a great lunch.

Vegetable and Fruit Muffins - A great way to add fruit and vegetable servings to your child's meal.

Pita Pockets are great for school lunches - Pita Pockets can be packed all kinds of healthy ingredients.

Panini Sandwiches - Panini Sandwiches can be made the night before and serves a s a great way to get healthy ingredients into child's lunch

Cup of soup - Homemade organic soup can serve as a nutritious lunch. The nice thing about soups is that it can be made in large quantity and served for dinner and and school lunches. Keep it warm in a thermostat for school lunches.

Healthy left-over meals - Incorporate healthy left-over meals that your child enjoys from the night before when ever possible. Heat leftovers and store them in a well insulated lunch pack to keep the meal hot.

Resources:

Inhabitat Web site

With the motto "Sustainable design for the next generation", Inhabitots is the baby / parenting focused website.

Web site: http://www.inhabitots.com

Customized Meal Preparation

In-home personal chef services and on-site cooking lessons.

Lynne Spear-Hargrove

Email: yourpersonalchef365@gmail.com

Massachusetts Farm to School

Connecting Farms to Cafeterias, Classrooms, and Communities. Lisa Damon As the Farm to Cafeteria Coordinator Lisa works with farmers, food service operators, food distributors, and farm to school advocates in central and western Mass. to assist in local food procurement efforts.

Lisa Damon

Phone: 617-239-2574

Email: lisa@massfarmtoschool.org

Web Site: http://www.massfarmtoschool.org/

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