The Worst School Lunch From Last SemesterThu 12 Jan 2012
Story by Rachel Langer
‘Whole Grain’ Corn Dogs, Tater Tots, snack crackers and peaches in syrup
When my oldest child started Kindergarten in 2009, I had all of the normal worries. Will he make friends? Will he like his teacher? Will he take the right bus home? There was one worry that I should have had, but never crossed my mind – will he be served a healthy and nutritious school lunch?
I wanted my son to take the school’s lunch. I thought a hot lunch in the middle of the day would be nice. And well let’s face it – it was much easier than having to pack a lunch every day. Just looking at the menu, it didn’t seem TOO harmful. After all there was always a fruit and/or vegetable being served. And there are criteria they have to follow.
I was helping out in the classroom early on in the year and I happened to have taken a short cut through the lunchroom on my way from the office. The older children were eating lunch and I got to see first hand what they were served. Cheese pizza wrapped in a plastic pouch with ‘cheese’ that was clearly not what I would define cheese to be. They also were served carrot sticks and applesauce, thank goodness. But I just could not imagine forcing anyone to eat that ‘pizza’. From then on, I packed my son his own lunch.
The children also must eat with their coats on, and in the winter their snow pants and snow boots. My son says they were told they don’t have time between lunch and their lunch recess to change into their outerwear. So you have a lunchroom of sweaty kids, hurrying through their 30-minute lunch, so they can get outside to cool off! My son comes home, starving by the end of the day, and brings home parts of his lunch saying he didn’t have time to eat it.
The specific lunch that I submitted the photo for is ‘Whole Grain’ corn dogs, Tater Tots that still look frozen, Scooby Doo snack crackers, and peaches with syrup. I am assuming that the vegetable for this meal is the tater tots, which are no more of a vegetable than French fries or potato chips! It would be like saying carrot cake is a vegetable. The peaches are covered in sugary syrup, which is greatly counter productive of any nutrients they have.
Food companies have been tricking consumers for years into believing various foods are healthy. And they have been successful. Words like ‘whole grain’ are slapped onto boxes leading parents to ignore the fact that the product is also loaded with sugar, and artificial colors and ingredients. I truly believe that nutrition, inside of schools and out, needs to start with education.
Do you know what food is being served in your local schools? If not, be sure to plan a visit one lunch and find out what is really on the tray.
If you have seen your school lunches and you think they need to change, then check out the Food Revolution school food page. Here you can find lots of toolkits and support tools to help you find the facts, find support and kick start a campaign! You can also check out our heroes and professional pages where you will find stories of people who have actively made change within their school systems.
Additionally check out our activist map where you can search for a local Food Revolution community group. Here you can connect with likeminded people who can help you in your revolution!
Don’t forget to post all your photos on our school lunch photo wall and share with us your revolution journey on our Food Revolution Community facebook page.
Together we can make a difference!
See The Best School Lunch From Last Semester here.
About the author: Rachel Langer from Wisconsin submitted the school lunch photo rated in to the top 10 worst school lunches on the Food Revolution Photo Wall and chosen by Jamie and the Food Revolution team as the ‘worst’ school lunch from the winter 2011 semester due to the lack of fresh food in the lunch.
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