By The Food Revolution Team
Do you really know what your kids are eating at school?
School lunch is a hot topic right now – everyone should know what our youngest generation is, or isn’t, getting to eat at school each day.
While school lunches differ from country to country due to government regulations, economics, growing seasons, climate and geography, it is also important to remember that school lunch at a local level is served under constraints including budget, staff, ingredients and food availability, and that under the same regulations some kids are getting amazing school food while others are not.
We are not just talking about the type of fruit, vegetables, protein or grain served on the lunch tray, but the nutritional content — the way food is produced and served, and additional and often artificial ingredients that can end up in school cafeterias.
Do you know what your kids are eating at school? Have you been to see what’s on the lunch tray and investigated the ingredients that go in to these lunch items? Do you recognize the ingredients? Would you find them in your store cupboard? Or are they un-pronounceable, unknown and unnatural, and filled with added salt, sugar and flavorings?
These are just some of the key questions you need to ask when considering your kids’ health and the impact their diet could have on it. With 1 in 3 American kids and teens overweight or obese, childhood obesity is the No.1 health concern among parents in the US, topping drug abuse and smoking1. While this is a major issue facing the US, they are not alone. 2.8 million people die every year as a result of being overweight or obese2.
Their Daily Bread
For many, school food makes up the majority of their daily food intake and therefore fresh, nutritious and wholesome foods are vital for our kids. Ensuring nutritional and dietary requirements are met is essential for health, adequate growth and development, academic success and to prolong their life expectancy.
Our children are the future, and the future needs to be fresh and nutritious – not full of pre-made, processed junk that is high in trans fat, additives and flavorings. Thinking we need to serve kids food filled with sugar and flavorings in order to make them eat it is madness. They need REAL food and we must be prepared to persist in making this change even if the kids themselves say no at first.
The Food Revolution School Lunch Photo Wall
School lunches differ across the world and the Food Revolution is on a mission to highlight these differences – to shine a spotlight on what is really on the lunch tray, to celebrate innovation where it is happening and light a fire for change where it is needed. Our school lunch photo wall is filled with photos of lunches, not only from all over America but also from countries all over the world including Canada, Costa Rica, Kenya, Japan, Chile, Australia, Greece and Hong Kong.
If you don’t already know what is on the lunch tray in your local school, or in your kid’s school, NOW is the time to find out. Make an appointment at school, and see and taste for yourself exactly what is being served. Decide for yourself whether it is good enough. Add photos of your school lunches to our photo wall to compare with meals both locally and from around the world before it closes for the holiday season on December 19th (we’ll let you know when it re-opens in the New Year).
This is not about criticizing school nutrition staff – they do an amazing job serving so many meals each day – but rather an opportunity to start a real conversation about school food, to encourage people to visit their schools, try the meals and connect with other parents, lunch staff and nutrition directors.
Following last week’s news on Congress messing around with school lunch standards and changing the rules last minute to allow unlimited pizza and fries on the menu, now is the time to find out some more about what is really being served for lunch in your kids schools, compare it to others across the world, and ask if it is good enough?