Archive for September, 2011

School Lunch September 13 and 14, 2011

September 15, 2011

Here it is, the LaConner School District lunch for September 13, 2011. The menu is described as a chicken caesar salad, whole grain biscuit, chocolate chip cookie, grapes, and choice of milk or juice. The chicken is baked, sliced, boneless, skinless chicken we prepare here at school. I used to bake the biscuits, however this purchased product is pretty good, the students like them. We serve cookies about once every two weeks, when our carbs for the day are on the low side. We serve fresh fruit at least three times a week, with a bowl of apples, oranges, bananas out on the counter as another option. Notice that the beverage of choice here is a plain milk. We also offer lactose free milk, apple and orange juice. We have taken the chocolate milk off the menu except for Fridays for this year. There are some expected and understood complaints about this.

My plan has been to discuss the fact that a 8 ounce chocolate milk has the equivalent of 3 Tablespoons of sugar, and that it isn’t just sugar, it is high fructose corn syrup. I say, look it up, high fructose corn syrup has been studied for a while now and is linked to our rise in diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. When you realize that this stuff (not food) is going into little bodies, when you realize that most of the high school boys take two chocolate milks (1/3 cup sugar) for lunch, no wonder they have trouble staying calm right after lunch, and fall asleep as their metabolisms crash 6th period during algebra. It is time to realize that manufacturers (not farmers) can purchase real food and by the time they are finished with it, there is no longer any real food there to sustain a person.

So, ok, yes, we serve cookies sometimes for lunch, or a really nice apple crisp with a buttery, crunchy topping. This is called dessert and we all need dessert sometimes. These foods are not trying to be something else, we are not conning children into eating these foods by making up what they are. Chocolate milk is not really milk if you understand me. We’re going to call it dessert.

Lunch for September 14, 2011

This menu is described as beef nachos, re-fried beans, fresh made salsa, and apple crisp. The student decided to add the apple from our fruit bowls and milk. We make the cheese sauce from scratch using mild cheddar cheese. The next time we make the beef nachos we will be using beef we purchased this summer from Skagit Angus Farms up off of Cape Horn Road. They have cows grazing in meadows next to the Skagit River. These are our neighbors and we are so glad to support them. We make the salsa with fresh tomatoes, green onions, lots of cilantro, garlic and honey. Sometimes we add in a can of diced green chilies, sometimes we add a few diced fresh red peppers. The first few times we made it fresh instead of the prepared stuff many students balked. Now, they love it and are happy when leftovers are sent to the salad bar the next day with a bowl of tortilla chips. And the apple crisp is made with Washington grown apples.

If you are interested in what we are doing at LaConner Schools go to the school website and click on the lunch menu, then click on the welcome page. There is a mission statement and information about how we started changing our menus and recipes, and what steps we are continuing to take today. If you are wondering why we began this project, I would say that our school board and superintendent have a collective conscience about walking our talk. We cannot be educating kids with one side of our mouths and shoving chicken nuggets in  the other side. (although we do still serve chicken nuggets once in a while)

This is a teachers lunch. this  guy has a tremendous schedule and needs all the calories he can get.

This next photo made me really happy. The student was not prompted in any way. There are always going to be 14 students who are your bell-weather eaters, who are the first to complain, first to verbalize their fears about new foods. These students are my friends and are on my mind all of the time. There are familiar, friendly foods for them most of the time. But we really need to be motivated from our hunger, not what is cheap, not what is flashy on TV. This is what I tell the elementary teacher who sees a kindergarten student who eats nothing on the tray but would have drunk the chocolate milk: hunger will take over soon and the child will try the foods. It just takes some time and a few kind words from an adult.

As far as the home garden is concerned, we have been picking some sweet one million cherry tomatoes, cucumbers for pickling and a nice lemon cucumber. The white carrots are fun, they are not parsnips, which I am not fond of. Green beans are still coming. the corn is late. we are hoping for next week. It’s been a rewarding summer after some difficult starts/stops. Tell me about your garden, what flourished, what tasty new varieties have you tried? Watermelon radishes?  Sunflowers are finally blooming! Rain is predicted for this weekend.

could someone help me with these photos? I don’t know how to crop them or flatten them horizontally. there is no lunch tray in the universe that looks like these!