School Lunch Secrets

Being in different schools throughout my time from Kindergarten to my senior year of high school, I was always aware that different schools had different quality of lunches to give to their students, even within the same State. Why that is, is frankly beyond me. Regardless, I stumbled across a blog website that depicts a teacher’s experience with school lunches for a year – which is not an attack on the school she worked for, but simply serves as a reminder that the nation’s children deserve better and healthier lunches.

My plate needs more veggies! (photo by Yuya Tamai)

My plate needs more veggies! (photo by Yuya Tamai)

Thankfully not everyone’s experience is the worst. In Illinois in November of 2002, students reportedly ate USDA approved chicken nuggets – and within minutes were vomiting. Even though students had been quoted to have said that you could see the meat was red and smelled like Windex, they still ate it. Why? Because no child assumes that school food is going to poison them – that because it’s government regulated, they won’t throw it up in sickness.

As it turns out, no one followed proper procedure – no one was notified that a pipe ruptured and spilled ammonia on thousands of pounds of food that were to be delivered to Illinois schools.

But that’s not even the worst of it. In India, twenty-two children died after eating school lunches that consisted of rice, lentils, soybeans, and potato. What happened to them? The food given by the school was somehow contaminated by insecticides. The food was given as part of a program to give less fortunate students in Bihar one hot meal a day. Now, even though that may not necessarily be the case in our country, it’s still shocking. These are kids around the world who are given misfortunate circumstances as a result of someone else’s folly.

Does that mean that we should be passive because the food our students are eating right now aren’t being thrown up? That the students aren’t dying? That’s not the case. They still deserve better. They deserve something that is going to make their bodies happy and healthy. They deserve something that is going to teach them how to take care of their bodies for the years to come. And frankly, that’s not the case. Why? Because if you know anything about fitness and health, you know that the systems they have in place, from the old Food Pyramid to the new Choose My Plate plan, don’t exactly work too well considering you can’t regulate what these kids are eating at home. Nutrition starts there.

I just can not get over the fact that the school would not let me, personally, have more than one side of vegetables. My advice: you want to eat healthy, take care of it yourself. Yes, the government is trying to get better, but they’ve got a lot of reformation to do in regards to nutrition. And our health, and our children’s health is far too important to bypass even just one year.

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