Brown Bag or Plastic Tray?

Around these parts, a new school year is about to begin, and with it comes the discussion of what to do about lunches. I can count on both hands the number of times our boys have gone through the lunch line for their midday sustenance, but that doesn’t stop them from being completely fascinated by the school lunch. Are they enticed by the neat-o, compartmentalized plastic trays? Or is it the call of the herd? Who knows!

While I was happy to hear about the new mandates outlined by the USDA to improve nutritional standards in the school cafeteria, that doesn’t mean I’m willing to simply trust that all is well—let alone sign my kids up for the program. It seems like the people with a vested interest in these matters tend to find, or create, loopholes whenever possible. Anticipating the possibility that our youngest would soon broach the subject of partaking in the school lunch, I knew it was time to dig for the latest details.

Marion Nestle’s website, Food Politics, is packed with articles that focus on current issues in the food world, and the recent changes to school lunch programs is no exception. My main concern is the amount of processed foods they contain. We rarely serve this kind of thing at home, and I’m certainly not crazy about my kids eating it five days a week during the school year.

So what’s the scoop on the USDA changes to nutrition standards? With the information at Food Politics, you’ll find all the answers you need to inform yourself and come to an educated decision. Here are just a few articles that can help:

You’ll also find information about the effects of poor nutrition on our children’s development. This isn’t new. Dr. Royal Lee warned people about the dangers of malnutrition long ago. In Calories –Nutritional and Harmful Types, he discusses the role that processed foods play in the development of chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Mind you, this was published more than 50 years ago—talk about futuristic thinking. He was a man way ahead of his time.

Sure, I was happy to see the salad bar with fresh fruits and veggies appear in the school cafeteria a few years ago, but that’s not enough. I know our boys will still be brown bagging it at lunchtime this year. How about your kids?

Photo credit: CC/Melissa

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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  1. Pingback: How to Combat Lunchbox Envy | Selene River Press

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