Do school lunches include a sweet dessert or just fruit?
I don't have kids but I was looking at the lunch menu for my town schools and every day listed some kind of fruit for dessert. No cake, cookies or any sweet desserts. As a child in the 60's and 70's I remember having a sweet dessert available most days. I found this menu online for a school from 1965 and this represents basically what lunch looked like in my time. Dessert was always my favorite, especially cake! Probably why I've always had a weight problem. ;-) Wish they had only served us fruit!
Monday: Beef goulash, green beans, peanut butter cake
Tuesday: Pizza pie, tossed salad, fruit jello
Wednesday: Bowl of chili with crackers, cole slaw, cherry cobbler
Thursday: Oven-fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered corn, peaches or applesauce
Friday: Tuna and noodle casserole, peas and carrots, assorted desserts.
Bread and butter and milk served with all lunches.
I work at a private boys' school with hot lunch served daily (plus dinner for boarders). There's always a fruit salad in the salad bar, plus lots of fresh fruit available. That said, there would be a riot if they got rid of the additional sweet dessert that is also served alongside each day's menu. They are always kept in pretty small servings (one to three bites maximum). Examples I can think of are cookies, brownies, lava cakes, squares, pound cake, etc.
I don't really know either, but I imagine if they don't include them, it's due to budget constraints. Canned/frozen fruit is much cheaper and easier to prepare than making baked goods, especially in large quantities.
I was in elementary in the late 80s/early 90s and from what I recall, dessert was mostly fruit in syrup. I didn't eat the school lunches all that often though, usually only on pizza day :)
I work at a school and things have changed a great deal since the 90 s. There are regulations that say the children can not have as much sugar and fat as they could in the past. Mostly the have fresh fruit, canned fruit,and dried fruit. They have options like snacks that they can purchase with or with out a lunch purchase. They have a lot of different choices in snacks,like cookies,ice cream,baked chips and pretzels.
Growing up in the 1980s-1990s (in NC and VA), we mostly had fruit for dessert. "Real" desserts for only served once a month or so, and were usually ice cream. I remember having to finish everything else on my tray before the teacher handed out the dessert (in elementary school). By middle school, there were cookies/cakes/ice cream for sale in addition to the standard meal, but my mom never gave me money for those.
￼My son goes to private school and they get a lunch 4 days a week. There is also full salad bar with fruit available on it
3 out of the 4 days they offer assorted fruit after the meals. This week they had fresh apples, fresh pineapple, fresh strawberries, fresh grapes, canned peaches (in juice) and canned mandarin oranges. One day a week they offer a more traditional "dessert", this week it was assorted flavors of ice cream. Other weeks it might be freshly baked cookies or brownies, apple tarts, a sundae bar, cupcakes and the like. Servings are small but not skimpy.
I like this approach because it the same as it was (is) at home. Sweets/dessert are a "sometime" food.
Schools lunches have changed a lot since the new federal standards came down. It's been good and bad. The nutrition and variety are lots better. The kids are getting lots more fresh fruit and veggie options. The entrees tend to be real food like lasagna, baked chicken, salisbury steak, etc. and not just fried foods, burgers, and pizza. One of my students had okra for the first time and couldn't believe what she'd been missing out on. The downside is portions. Lots of students (my own son included) complain that there just isn't enough to last the day. Many students are growing and very active in sports and the portions just don't fill them up. These types of lunches are more expensive and the budget has not increased for this. Drink choices are limited to skim milk or water. No more juices or chocolate milk. Desserts are not served often. In fact, our cafeteria has cookies maybe once a week and that's it.
I think the intentions are good, but schools need some room for judgement based on the students. Plus this is just one meal a day. Hopefully, this will transfer to home, but most of my students tell me they still eat the same fast food and junk food as always. Many kids at our school bring a lunch or someone brings them a fast food lunch daily. The fast food lunch has become a bit of a status symbol since it is expensive and usually it's families that can afford to have someone not working.