“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.” — Guy Fieri
School lunches are delicious! That statement will probably never be uttered by students in any school. Take a moment and reminisce about your childhood days waiting in line to receive your nutritious, balanced, nutrient-filled lunch. That wonderful, variety-filled plate of meat, veggies, and fruit. It’s perfectly balanced by the federal, state and local government to fire up your brain and give you the energy to make it through the day. Yum, it’s so amazing! You should be laughing at this time. If not, you have no sense of humor. Over two decades ago, I recall school lunches being analogous to a science experiment gone wrong. My tenth-grade biology class could have concocted something tastier. After reflecting, I’m led to this question, “what the hell is in the coleslaw?”
The website, freshfromflorida.com, has an abundant amount of information about school lunches and other nutritional requirements of schools. However, without researching and reading about various provisions embedded in each category, the content is vague at best. Literature within the website even suggests limiting water intake of the child because they may become too full to eat the “nutritious” foods provided. For clarity, they aren’t withholding fluids during lunch.
It’s possible that I’m being a little harsh on the state and federal government. After all, they provide lunches for our children and I guess something is better than nothing. But ultimately, these lunches are purchased with our tax dollars. Personally, I’d like my tax dollars providing a better quality of food for students. But for now, the attitude of ‘something is better than nothing’ is why school lunches suck in America. We must change this mindset. Buzzfeed created a short video of school lunches around the world you may enjoy. You can click here to see it. While I can’t speak to the authenticity of the video, I hypothesize most schools around the world provide a minimally diverse plate of foods. In affluent areas, there are probably great lunch options for students because they receive more funding, which leads to more questions you have to ask. Why aren’t schools equal? But, that’s another blog.
Our government, federal, state, and local should ensure that all students have the option and are encouraged to partake in a calorie sufficient and nutrient diverse lunch each day while attending school. The argument that will always arise is, “where is the money going to come from?” Well, it comes from the tax dollars of citizens, who currently have no control over how the monies are allocated. Any change starts at the local level. If you aren’t happy with something in our local schools, like school lunches, attend board meetings. Don’t be afraid to state your position. Your voice is equally important as others. But ultimately, by creating positive eating habits at a young age, we will correlate and see a reduction in adult-related medical issues. It’s like any good investment, you put the money in on the front end and the rewards come later.
To answer the question I proposed earlier, I think no one knows what’s truly in the coleslaw.