Tammy Thomas Garnes

Parents Vs School Lunches: The Battle Continues

In Uncategorized on January 5, 2010 at 6:27 pm

One thing you can say these days about parents is that we are well educated on all things kid!  From the best 3d sonograms to the top of the line cribs.  Babyfood to tutoring, after school enrichment and standardized tests…there is no end to the amount of information swimming around in the head of today’s parent.  But one issue or wall that many of us cannot seem to break down, is our unhappiness with school lunches and our inability to seem to fix the problem at many schools.

Yes, I know all of the fabulous stories about schools with organic gardens (our school has one) and local produce, fish and meat being brought into school cafeterias, but every single school district sets its own standards when it comes to where food is purchased and how it is distributed, and even within those districts you will find school taking different approaches to the ill fated school lunch.  Mix in the variables of public vs. private, inner city vs. suburban and you’ve opened a can of worms (pun intended) when it comes to the nutritional value, taste and presentation of school lunches across the United States.

If you are a parent out on the front lines, fighting for better school lunches, you are not alone.   Read below about what’s happening in Illinois.  ”Brunch for Lunch?”  Sometimes you have to wonder who is in charge…the children or the adults.

School lunches: Push for healthier foods faces barriers

By Monica Eng
Chicago Tribune reporter

On a frigid February day last year, Michele Hays filed into Evanston Township High School with other concerned parents to talk with district administrators about school lunches.

One specific target of the parents’ ire was a cafeteria meal called “Brunch for Lunch.” As luck would have it, administrators brought a sample of the meal with them.

“When I actually saw it, it was so much worse than I thought it would be,” she remembered.

“So I got up at the meeting and said, ‘You may be meeting all the guidelines … but I think it is unconscionable that you are serving pancakes, a tub of maple-flavored high-fructose corn syrup and a side of cookies for lunch.’”

Even for parents in relatively small suburban school districts, such as those in Evanston, the school food system can seem too big to change. Despite Hays’ unusually open access to administrators and legislators, her yearlong effort to cut back on the weekly “Brunch for Lunch” offering in Evanston’s elementary schools has failed so far.

But a Tribune examination of school food in Illinois’ 10 largest districts found small positive changes are possible. Several districts serve only fruit for dessert four days of the week; some restrict nachos entrees to once a week; one has done away with breakfast Pop-Tarts; and some offer daily cold bars full of sliced fruits and vegetables.  READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

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