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May 13, 2008 09:08 AM

Changing school lunch food

Has anyone tried to get your local schools to serve better food? I'm pretty fed up with what they offer our children. My kids regularly pack, but it sickens me to see the preprocessed food that is made in a central kitchen and shipped to each school. I would like to change it, but not really sure how to go about it. Also, just out of curiosity, do any of your local schools have a peanut, tree nut ban on foods? And, how do the families deal with it?

BTW: Here's a link to our monthly menu. Please note it is the same thing month after month, week after week.

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  1. Boy, kinda heavy on the junk food offerings, isn't it? I don't have any children in or out of school (all my kids have 4 paws and tails lol) but my bakery has the contract to provide rolls & bagels for a few area school districts. We have a long-term (5+ year) plan to make the stuff healthier. Each year we add more whole wheat flour and grains to the mix to make it more nutritious. We started off with basically a white dough with a little whole wheat thrown in. Each year it gets better, and the students are loving it. The school boards felt that to suddenly change from white to wheat would set off a student revolt. *G* Anyway, that's my little contribution to school lunch nutrition!

    1 Reply
    1. My Mother changed our county's school lunch program, but she was on the Board of Education and Director of the Wellness Together program at the hospital. Of course with rising costs of food right now, your battle may be even tougher than before. I would say to schedule an appointment to talk to people on the board or the person at the Board of education in your area who may be in charge of that Asst. Superintendent normally whereI am from. And go to Board meetings, most school boards are required to have monthly meetings open to the public.

      1 Reply
      1. There is a small but growing Farm-to-School movement in pockets around the country. A beacon of hope is Alice Waters' connections to the school community in her neck of the woods. There was a great article about it in the magazine Rethinking Education about two years back.

        1. I have two children at an EXTREMELY SMALL parochial school. I had an eye-opening experience when I started volunteering in the school cafeteria. The school lunch program infuriates me.

          I have heard about the "Food is Fundamental" program, but I haven't investigated it. As a food lover, I would like to bring the program to our school.

          I'm sorry I don't have any answers to offer, but I'm with you in the fight!

          1. USA Today wrote about the difficulties in producing a nutritional and appealing school lunch under the financial constraints. Basically, it said that after covering costs and wages, the average school district has less than 30 cents for the actual food put on the tray. Gone gone gone are the days of someone's Mom or Grandmother standing in the school cafeteria with a hairnet on, dishing out hot and wholesome food. Wichita's school lunch program is assembled off-site and miles away from the schools and trucked in, and then re-warmed on site. Because something like 2/3 of Wichita public school students get free or reduced lunches, the district can't afford to staff cooks in every elementary school, middle school and high school, and what is served as a result are things like cold sandwiches, chicken nuggets and pre-packaged pizzas and hot pockets. I sometimes wonder if they don't feed the inmates in the county jail better food.
            One of my daughter's refuses to eat school lunches, the other only eats when they serve delivery pizza, so they carry their lunches most days -- sandwiches, roll-up sandwiches, chef salads, etc.
            Oh, and regarding the peanut/tree nut ban, none of our schools have one, although one of my daughter's had a classmate who's mother requested no strawberry-based treats for class snack days. I don't think it was a potentially-fatal allergy, more of a uncomfortable hives sort of allergy.

            4 Replies
            1. re: podunkboy

              As a pediatrician, I can say there is no such thing as a "merely uncomfortable hives sort of allergy." If an allergen causes hives, it is the beginning of an anaphylactic reaction that with repeated exposures can get worse and become fatal.

              1. re: podunkboy

                Actually, Sodexho, one of the major suppliers of school lunches nationwide, is also a major supplier of meals to many of the nation's prisons and jails. What does that tell you?

                1. re: trishyb

                  That a non-sequitor (as well as a red herring)..

                  Most food service operators run food service operations in a variety of institutions and cater to the level that meets the need of the client.

                  1. re: trishyb

                    And? I supply wedding cakes to upscale weddings. And also to prisoners at our local correctional facility. Does that mean that my baked goods are inferior because I also deliver to a prison?