Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

TOPIC: My Daughter's Elementary School Lunches

 
Ic_disabled_photos
Topic has been inactive for 30 days or more and images have been disabled.
Display All Images
September 6, 2012 10:28 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

This is *definitely* a government issue. Its good to limit kids options to only healthy ones, but I'm scared when they don't allow kids to bring their own lunch without a doctors note. Meanwhile they are forcing these terrible GMO's and toxins as their only option. I had to cut down my own political rant. But I'm surprised I'm the only one concerned about this part. You all HAVE to watch King Corn, and other documentaries about Monsanto. Seriously. I'm not a political person, but we ALL should be worried!!!
Do some public schools NOT allow parents to send lunch? For what reason?


There are some that regulate what you can send with your child for lunch - it must meet the federal standards. That is overreaching in my mind. I don't have a problem with the school saying no candy for lunch or something like that, but when they dictate everything that must be packed, I have a problem with it.

http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/02/14/outrage-after-school-tells-mom-her-child%E2%80%99s-lunch-is-unacceptable/
  5491015
September 6, 2012 10:29 AM
QUOTE:

I think it's great they're finally making an effort to serve healthier choices in school cafeterias. Why are people all upset that it's a government program? This knee-jerk anti-government nonsense has got to stop. I just wrote a long political rant but, but on second thought, this isn't the place for it so I deleted it.


This is my feeling exactly. I don't mind the government regulating healthier school lunches. I'm sure most people with kids would love to see a lot of fresh choices for lunches and not the processsed/can stuff that's commonly served. But then the budget would be affected and it would come down to what program do parents want to see cut for the added expense of the fresher, healtheir food? I wonder at that point whether keeping the football program would be more important to parents than the healthy food program?

My girls at 1st & 3rd grade often eat like birds. They would eat cereal three times a day if I let them, for crying out loud. So we brainstormed together before the year started and made a chart with 4 categories (Sandwich, Fresh Fruit/Veggie, Snack and Dessert). They pick one item from each category the night before. With the exception of little snack packs of cookies in the dessert category, we kept pretty healthy choices in each. So I know they're eating something healthy, and more importantly, something they requested. Hopefully it's not hitting the garbage can. And once in a while, because I remember what it was like to be a kid, I let them buy an ice cream on Fridays. wink
  19588655
September 6, 2012 10:29 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

In my daughter's first day of school package (she's in 3rd grade), we received a newsletter from Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). They've apparently developed monthly Energy Zone articles to go in the monthly parent newsletters.

Anyway, this part is interesting. They've changed the lunches to meet new federal nutrition standards based on the latest nutrition science by the Institute of Medicine and Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

These changes include:

Reduced calories based on the grad of the students
Reduced protein portions for grades K-5
Increased fruits and vegetables
A new requirement that students MUST select one serving of vegetable or fruit with lunch
Limited number of servings of whole grains - rich breads and cereals.
Choice of only fat-free flavored or unflavored milk or 1% low-fat unflavored milk.
Focus on reduced saturated fats and sodium and zero trans fats.

I think this is a good thing, but I was wondering what you guys thought. Part of me doesn't like the government making these decisions, but I recognize that too many parents don't teach their children to eat properly.

On the menu today at her school:

Taco meal and cheese sauce o ncorn tortilla rounds
Taco meat, cheese sauce, baked potato/fruit roll
Hummus Bitable
PB&J

Steamed Green beans
cauliflower w/sugar snap peas
tossed salad w/ chilled pears w/cherry garnish
fresh apple slices

Southwestern spicy chicken salad w/black beans and corn, corn tortilla rounds
Chef salad w/cheese, green peas, corn tortilla rounds

I'm not sure how I feel. I mean...what if a kid needs more protein? Or less? What if he needs the fat from whole milk? What if he just throws away the veggie?


Then his parents should pack his own lunch.

Good on the school for taking steps to improve nutrition in their cafeteria - my schools NEVER offered sides of salad or veggies, and rarely fresh fruit. Change doesn't happen overnight - it's definitely a process, so good for them for starting the process!


I agree that for the most part, it's a good thing. As I said, I'd be packing my daughter's lunches if it were up to me. But some can't afford to pack lunches. What about those kids? I like that my daughter has healthier options, and honestly, she always has, since Grade 1.
September 6, 2012 10:30 AM
QUOTE:

I see your side of the issue, but as a former teacher in a low-income school, I think providing at least one healthy meal a day for kids through the school is a good thing. Some of my kids didn't get enough to eat at home or subsisted on a diet of Ramen noodles and cereal because they're cheap. The fruits and vegetables being offered at school are the only ones those students saw all day. Most students aren't super athletic in grade school, so a reduction in their protein intake at one meal isn't going to harm their health, especially since it is in line with the new government standards. All this being said, I brought my lunch to school most everyday by junior high and high school because I realized how gross the food was. Certainly as a teacher, I brought my lunch everyday. It made me sad to realize the food I wouldn't touch was the best meal many of my students got all day.


I was just about to say the same thing! In my school district, 53% of the children are on free or reduced cost breakfast and lunch. Sadly, it is often the ONLY meals they will have all day. We also offer a summer feeding program where anyone 18 and under, regardless if they attend or live in our district, can come in to the school and eat free breakfast and lunch.
That being said, I have to pack my youngest son his lunch everyday, because the cost of his lunch kept going up and we asked him why (traditionally you could choose what you want and pay for those items only) and he told us the lunch ladies told him he HAD to choose a vegetable, which they charged extra for. Which always ended up in the garbage anyways. And he's not even that picky of a veggie eater, but 'waxed yellow beans' and mushy broccoli doesn't sound particularly appetizing to me either!
  25198158
September 6, 2012 10:30 AM
I have 3 kids, from 11th grade to 3rd grade and since the changes in the food menu they refuse to eat hot lunch. But it's not really the dietary changes that they object to, it's the fact that the food is no longer prepared at the school. It's prepackaged by a company and sent in. Many times (last year) they complained because the food was cold or the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were mainly bread with a scrape of peanut butter on it. This year we've been brown bagging it. They get a sandwich, water, one 'unhealthy' snack and one healthy snack. The unhealthy snack is a single serve bag of chips or oreo's, etc, and the healthy one is usually an orange or an apple.

The other thing I've noticed, and I'm not sure if it's changed this year, but they counted the pizza sauce as a vegetable...ummm, really? A tablespoon of tomato sauce is a vegetable? And the corn..omg. My high schooler is allergic to corn, so we have to be extremely careful with what she eats since it's in everything! Even generic ibuprofen and zyrtec. Nice since it's an allergy med! We can't really know what's in the food from the school so it's better for her to brown bag it anyways...:)
  8581872
September 6, 2012 10:31 AM
QUOTE:

The only thing I really disagree with in regards to what the OP stated as the lunch options is the fat free milk.

It is a well known, well documented fact that milk fat is one of the best fats available for brain development, especially from infant to 6 years old when the brain is developing the fastest.

Our government has been really working hard to cut out this fat from the diets of our children. Government programs such as WIC that subsidize groceries for families with children up to 5 years old no longer give allowance for whole or 2% milk.

Studies have also shown that raw milk from grass fed cows is more beneficial to the body because it has not been pastuerized, which beneficial enzymes and bacteria. It is easily digested by people who have experienced issues with lactose intolerance.

Something is terribly wrong with this picture. Next thing you know the government will try to regulate home grown produce.. oh wait, they are already trying to do that!

That's exactly what bothered me about it. Why should kids be drinking fat free/low fat milk? Fat is important, especially for brain development. This part of the menu seems completely unnecessary and possibly even harmful.
September 6, 2012 10:31 AM
If you don't want the government making the nutrition choices for your family, then don't rely on the government feeding your family. You don't see cigarette machines in schools, do you? Do you not have a problem with the government making the decision to not make cigarettes available? Make your kids bring a lunch to school and give them candy bars and left over pizza. No one will stop you.
  27438273
September 6, 2012 10:32 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

The only thing I really disagree with in regards to what the OP stated as the lunch options is the fat free milk.

It is a well known, well documented fact that milk fat is one of the best fats available for brain development, especially from infant to 6 years old when the brain is developing the fastest.

Our government has been really working hard to cut out this fat from the diets of our children. Government programs such as WIC that subsidize groceries for families with children up to 5 years old no longer give allowance for whole or 2% milk.

Studies have also shown that raw milk from grass fed cows is more beneficial to the body because it has not been pastuerized, which beneficial enzymes and bacteria. It is easily digested by people who have experienced issues with lactose intolerance.

Something is terribly wrong with this picture. Next thing you know the government will try to regulate home grown produce.. oh wait, they are already trying to do that!

That's exactly what bothered me about it. Why should kids be drinking fat free/low fat milk? Fat is important, especially for brain development. This part of the menu seems completely unnecessary and possibly even harmful.

Plenty of fat in the meals already.
  27438273
September 6, 2012 10:33 AM
I think that it is a good idea to make the lunches more healthy, however, as usual the government's involvement in the schools has not addressed the issue appropriately. The kids are now required to have one fruit and one veggie on their plate or they get sent back to the end of the line. The new requirements take forever to get the kids through the lunch line and then they end up only having a few minutes to scarf down what they can in order to enjoy part of thier only recess. How about we go back to having 2 to 3 recesses a day and give the kiddos a chance to get the ants out of their pants so they can focus in school. Kids need more exercise rather than a diet. The fruit is generally sugared and the mandatory salad is generally thrown out, since Ranch is no longer allowed. However mayo and other full fat dressings are available at the condiment table which makes little to no sense. They want the kids to eat their veggies but take away Ranch and give them full fat Italian. Wouldn't a lite Ranch be a logical step in the right direction? Fruits and veggies can still be a bad choice if they are full of sugar and fat and they are still served along side pizza, hamburgers and tacos. Just another time the government has failed to improve an important issue.
  18877710
September 6, 2012 10:35 AM
Let your daughter be the judge of the new food - its her body, not yours.
One thing i noticed is that it says the student MUST take 1 fruit or veggie - well no one can FORCE the child to EAT the fruit or veggie.

Parents need to step it up - to rely on the government and schools to teach children about proper eating habits is disturbing. This is the job of the parents.

Though - I think this is an excellent thing because its better than french fries and french fries.
  12704620
September 6, 2012 10:36 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

This is *definitely* a government issue. Its good to limit kids options to only healthy ones, but I'm scared when they don't allow kids to bring their own lunch without a doctors note. Meanwhile they are forcing these terrible GMO's and toxins as their only option. I had to cut down my own political rant. But I'm surprised I'm the only one concerned about this part. You all HAVE to watch King Corn, and other documentaries about Monsanto. Seriously. I'm not a political person, but we ALL should be worried!!!
Do some public schools NOT allow parents to send lunch? For what reason?


There are some schools that require that school lunches brought in by the child meet the same standards as the school-prepared lunches. There have been a few well-publicized cases of school employees supplementing lunches and/or taking away what they consider unhealthy choices, and charging the parents for the alternatives provided.

The only problem I have with that is that there's apparently been no clear expectation set beforehand, and/or in cases where the parent was never contacted prior to the replacement. If you want to mess with my kid's lunch, call me first. There might be some specific issue that I can help with, or an allergy you are unaware of.

Our daughter's school DOES set clear nutritional standards for what is expected to be in our kids' lunches, and particularly what is NOT allowed (sweets, candy, cake, etc), and all of the parents have received the standards and have signed off on them with an exceptions process (classes that have kids with severe allergies might receive specialized standards based on the class, for example, and kids with specialized nutritional needs fall under standards agreed to by the parent and teacher).

But that's a discussion we have at the class level, and our school is too small to have a lunch program. The federal mandate is included in the discussion, but parents meet with the teacher in a group setting to discuss dress code, nutritional standards in lunches, and behavioral expectations before class starts each year.

It really frees the kids up to actually spend their time learning, rather than worrying about the fact that someone else has nicer shoes, or one of the kids "is allowed to bring in cake every day, so why can't I?"

It's all in the presentation - if the parents are included in the conversation and understand why the standards exist, it seems to be more supported. The parents who never show up to the parent meetings are generally also the ones who gripe about it.
Edited by myfitnessnmhoy On September 6, 2012 10:38 AM
  20407831
September 6, 2012 10:39 AM
I guess it's ok that they have adjusted the lunches but it is a parents responsibility to feed their children properly. If they have an allergy, it is definately the parents responsibility, not the schools. Everyone seems to forget that we had children to take care of them, not force others to do so. It's not like the lunches were huge. One slice of pizza and low fat chocolate milk is not going to kill you. I think the government needs to fix itself before it starts nosing into our lives.
  9138073
September 6, 2012 10:42 AM
So before the government stepped in to "enhance" the nutrition at the school's cafeteria, who watched over the nutrition content of the school's lunch?
The lunch lady? Does she have a degree in nutrition?
The govt looking over the school's nutrition options is better than no one at all!
When I went to school, all that was served were french fries, burgers and fried chicken and coca-cola.
The only thing I can remember that may have had some good nutritional value was 2% milk and the soup of the day.

Beats my old cafeteria.
September 6, 2012 10:44 AM
And to add, my youngest eats healthier than my other child but do you want to know why he's healthier overall? OUTSIDE TIME! Another poster mentioned extending recess time. Much better idea than cutting as they have been.
  9138073
September 6, 2012 10:45 AM
I find the whole obsession with milk in school lunches depressing.

Who cares if the milk is lowfat or fat free, if it's full of sugar, hormones and artificial color/flavor?

Natural milk already has a TON of sugars/carbs in it, anyway... perhaps not table/cane sugar, but lactose itself is a sugar. If you chill out on the sweets for a couple of weeks, then have a taste of plain milk, you will notice how sweet it actually is. But I digress...

This may sound like a radical idea, but instead of offering flavored milks, offer whole or low fat, natural milk. If the kids don't drink it, they drink water or regular milk. And the kids who won't drink unflavored milk? They will be fine. The benefits from sparing their endocrine systems the the hormonal assault caused by drinking flavored milk will outweigh the costs of not drinking the flavored milk.

I'm horrified by the state of nutrition in public schools. It was awful when I was growing up, and it's awful now.

I'm just glad I don't have kids, so I don't have to worry about this.

So depressing.
September 6, 2012 10:45 AM
To get certain funding, schools have to abide by gov. guidelines. And due to the current epidemic, I'm personally happy, as a tax payer and someone who has to pay for their own insurance that they're at least attempting to promote healthier food in schools.

Now, my daughter is in a very small district. So it's hot lunch or from home. There are a few different choices for hot lunch and they send home a menu you for you to fill out for your child in the elementary school. Their main choices are a joke at my daughter's school. Pizza, popcorn chicken, corndogs, bosco stix, hot pretzel....um really?? heh
They also off basic sandwiches, salads and her school still offers PB&J
Plus the fruits & veggie options.
September 6, 2012 10:46 AM
There is a growing concern of childhood obesity in the United States as well as other developed countries.. You can blame most of this problem right on the parents, and now with schools turning to healthier alternatives for their kids to eat at school parents can no longer say "Oh my kid goes to school and eats chicken nuggets and french fries".... Now parents say the Government shouldn't be telling my kids what to eat.
If they don't start this now, and parents don't start being responsible for their kids, those kids are going to grow up to be obese, have a ton of health problems, be on disability or generally increase Health Care rates (insurance companies look at this kind of stuff and increase everyone's rates because of health of the nation).

I know alot of house holds both parents work, and the quick dinner is McD's or Pizza/Takeout or anyother fast food option.. it really rests on the parents.. If you don't want your kids eating whats offered at school because you don't think the government should be involved.. Pack a lunch.. And if they need to meet a standard, I am sure you aren't giving your kid 3 pieces of pizza, 2 candy bars, bag of chips, and a can of soda for lunch.. if you are, well you know the answer to that.
September 6, 2012 10:47 AM
I have mixed feelings on this too. My daughter is lactose sensitive (as am I) I discovered this after she told me that at school they ONLY let her get milk to drink and every day she would either have an upset stomach or throw up. I took her to the doctor and he recommended that she only drink soy milk. So I told her to ask for juice at school or soy milk and they straight up told her she can only get chocolate milk or regular milk. I went down to the school and complained so fast! they now have a note attached to her lunch card staying she needs an alternative drink. I just think in situations like this it shouldn't be a fight to get a replacement. Though I do support them not serving junk food for lunch, I also think it's important to serve things the kids can and are willing to eat/drink. Maybe even have bottled water as an option? Since at my daughters school they must raise there hand to get up and can only get up one they are finished eating so she can't really go to the facet.
September 6, 2012 10:48 AM
I think in the end...your child will eat how YOU teach them. Packed lunches are always best because you can control your own child's needs. However, your child needs to learn to make good choices themselves as well and have responsibility on what goes into their mouth. If a child takes a veggie just to throw it away doesn't matter. There's no lesson learned. The lesson learned needs to be from the parents at home as to why those veggies are a good choice!
September 6, 2012 10:51 AM
Oh my gosh. I am so thrilled with the healthier options for school lunches. Last year, my son went to a small school that only offered one meal option per day, and it was NEVER healthy. Hot dogs, chicken nuggets, grilled cheese... blah. I understand they have limited resources, but seriously.

This year he is at the public school, which is much bigger and obviously has more money to spend on lunch. Every day they offer 2 different hot entrees, an entree salad, or a sun-butter sandwich. Surprisingly, he chooses the salad at least once a week - yay!

As for the government forcing the kids to take a fruit or veggie, I think that is great. My 6 year old does not eat vegetables, except for salad, but if they are on his plate and he is still hungry, maybe he will try a bite. If he had the choice, he would just go through the line and not get them. I put veggies on his plate every night too, knowing full well that they will most likely end up in the trash (and he will lose a privilege for the 300th night in a row).

I've not heard of the whole milk vs. FF milk debate. The AAP recommends low fat or ff milk for children over the age of 2 who are within normal weight limits.
  2462832
September 6, 2012 10:53 AM
it is good they are thinking about health, but I don't like the government to tell me how to parent and raise my kids. That's not the gov'ts job, to be my kids' parent.
  26252353
September 6, 2012 10:53 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

In my daughter's first day of school package (she's in 3rd grade), we received a newsletter from Food and Nutrition Services (FNS). They've apparently developed monthly Energy Zone articles to go in the monthly parent newsletters.

Anyway, this part is interesting. They've changed the lunches to meet new federal nutrition standards based on the latest nutrition science by the Institute of Medicine and Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

These changes include:

Reduced calories based on the grad of the students
Reduced protein portions for grades K-5
Increased fruits and vegetables
A new requirement that students MUST select one serving of vegetable or fruit with lunch
Limited number of servings of whole grains - rich breads and cereals.
Choice of only fat-free flavored or unflavored milk or 1% low-fat unflavored milk.
Focus on reduced saturated fats and sodium and zero trans fats.

I think this is a good thing, but I was wondering what you guys thought. Part of me doesn't like the government making these decisions, but I recognize that too many parents don't teach their children to eat properly.

On the menu today at her school:

Taco meal and cheese sauce o ncorn tortilla rounds
Taco meat, cheese sauce, baked potato/fruit roll
Hummus Bitable
PB&J

Steamed Green beans
cauliflower w/sugar snap peas
tossed salad w/ chilled pears w/cherry garnish
fresh apple slices

Southwestern spicy chicken salad w/black beans and corn, corn tortilla rounds
Chef salad w/cheese, green peas, corn tortilla rounds

I'm not sure how I feel. I mean...what if a kid needs more protein? Or less? What if he needs the fat from whole milk? What if he just throws away the veggie?


Then his parents should pack his own lunch.

Good on the school for taking steps to improve nutrition in their cafeteria - my schools NEVER offered sides of salad or veggies, and rarely fresh fruit. Change doesn't happen overnight - it's definitely a process, so good for them for starting the process!


I agree that for the most part, it's a good thing. As I said, I'd be packing my daughter's lunches if it were up to me. But some can't afford to pack lunches. What about those kids? I like that my daughter has healthier options, and honestly, she always has, since Grade 1.


Answer your question. What about those kids. You can't expect a school to cater to each individual kid. They are trying to do the best for the kids as a whole. If there are special needs, the parents just need to talk to the school, they'll work with them. I love hypothetical "one-offs".
September 6, 2012 10:54 AM
It seems to be the problem is with the word 'Government'. Parents have never had much say in what schools served. So someone else was choosing what the kids got before. Someone else is choosing now. Nothing has changed. I fail to see how the "who" is doing the choosing, matters.
  26444224
September 6, 2012 10:54 AM
I live in Canada, and a few years ago BC put down rules about what schools can serve. I was thrilled. Everything has to be under a certain sodium, fat, sugar and calorie limit. No more pop, candy bars, chips, prepackaged crap.

We don't have cafeterias, just a canteen, but everything is made at the school. The older kids each get a chance help through the year, there is always fresh fruit avaliable interest office and at the canteen, drink choices are white milk or water. It's up to the kids what they buy. A few times a year they have pizza day and twice a year they make hotdogs. They also do smoothie day, with the option of a soy smoothie.

If parents don't like what's served, make meals yourself. My daughter rarely chooses to eat at the school, I make her lunch every night. My little two both have allergies, I will make them lunch too. Today my daughter (grade 5) took water, 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 mini pitas with cheddar, turkey and lettuce, an orange and a few mini wheats as a treat.

There is also a free lunch program for kids who need it. They get a sandwich, a price of fruit, a bottle of water, and a granola bar. I believe they altogether soup.
September 6, 2012 10:56 AM
Public schools are run with government money, so why shouldn't the government have the freedom to impose guidelines to make the food healthier?

When I was in elementary school, my parents gave me money every day to buy lunch. Those lunches consisted of chocolate milk (with high fructose corn syrup), pizza, etc. Everyday I was eating high-fat, highly processed, low nutrition lunches. So, basically, if you wanted a decent lunch you had to bring your own. The government isn't mandating that your kids CAN'T eat those foods - if you want to serve your kids junk food for lunch, send them with a packed lunch full of chips and pizza. But as childhood obesity continues to rise and be an issue, isn't it an ADMIRABLE thing that the government is addressing this issue by saying that if kids are going to eat at government-funded schools, they should at least be eating healthy and nutritious lunches instead of the schools contributing to the problem?
  15815986

Message Boards » Food and Nutrition

Posts by members, moderators and admins should not be considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy.