Archive for April, 2010

This Food Revolution/School Lunches

April 4, 2010

……at last, TV and the masses have moved me to write.

We are hearing about, and seeing on TV, a food revolution suddenly going on in the U.S. This brings a snarky smile to my face. The ubiquitous famous cook of the moment could come to any state in the nation and find school district boards, superintendents, food service nutritionists and managers, cooks and servers committed to providing fresh, local foods to the K-12 population.

One might see completely wiped out salad bars at the end of lunch, buckets moments before filled with organic greens, cucumbers, garbanzo beans, broccoli, artichoke hearts, sunflower seeds, olives both black and kalamata, shredded cheeses, cottage cheese, sliced ham, hard boiled eggs, cooked and chilled beets, with home made dressing choices like honey mustard, balsamic, blue cheese and ranch. Add homemade potato salads, broccoli salads, Chopped Asian salads and more.

One might visit with a food service manager and discover the careful choices made when ordering the commodities products from the state agency providing this service. Many managers avoid or take lightly the canned vegetables, the prefab omelets, the chicken nuggets, the beef “dippers, the American cheese products.

Who do you think has encouraged these agencies to offer whole wheat bread flour and whole grain pastas that have appeared just this year?

In truth, I am completely excited about this new “furor” over the way we eat, this new wave that is catching up with the wave that came along about 10-15 years ago when parents and food service employees came together to make a difference. How many elementary schools now have nutrition curriculum that includes menu making for lunches? Curriculum that includes a school garden? Curriculum that includes trips to the local farm, co-op, farmers market? They are everywhere.

I believe that curriculum in the elementary classroom and enough adults spending time in the cafeteria with k-6 students, helping them pay attention to their food, as well as serving lunch after recess when children are really hungry enough to eat, all these combined will affect how they will make the right choices as they move to middle and high school. We do need parents!

I see a first day of school in the near future when fresh local vegetables are stir fried with some kind of local protein, served with fragrant brown rice to kids who just can’t get enough….and say please and thank you without prompting…..