Healthy school lunches are increasing in popularity, thanks in part to chefs like Jamie Oliver.
I’m just a little in love with Jamie Oliver. First of all he’s pretty sexy. Second, he’s a chef and foodie. Third, he’s passionate about what he believes in.
As a teacher, I’m well aware of what’s served in school cafeterias. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution focuses on changing the food that is served in school cafeterias all over America. With rising childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes becoming epidemic in the United States, we need to be more aware about what our children eat, both in and out of the home.
The problem with school lunches is that the government has implemented many restrictions, regulations and rules, (I guess that would be the 3 R’s?) on what can and cannot be served in school cafeterias. Schools must follow these regulations or lose funding. Jamie’s Revolution encourages parents to fight to take back control of the lunches served in their school cafeterias.
Kids will eat healthy school lunches, but they need to be guided to make good choices.
My 5th grader, Sophie, who we also call the “air fern”, eats 1/2 of everything we give her. She likes bean and cheese burritos, quesadillas and peanut butter and Nutella or jelly sandwiches.
Another favorite lunch for both girls is the lavash roll-up, with hummus instead of mayo, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and tapenade. (I get the tapenade and hummus at Trader Joe’s.)
So that there isn’t complete anarchy in the household, I buy bagged chips and pudding cups from Costco, but limit them to 2 per week. The new craze that’s replacing the chips is seaweed. The girls have been known to fight for the last bag of seaweed. Go figure.
I try to think outside the lunch box when it comes to packing healthy school lunches. Kids don’t need meat for every lunch. Sometimes just hummus with cut up veggies, a cheese stick and a piece of fruit is just fine. If kids go through stages when they don’t seem to be eating very much, so what? I think that kids have a much better barometer of what their bodies need. They eat when they’re hungry!
On a timely note, I read in the paper yesterday that Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school menus. Earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture proposed limiting potatoes, increasing the use of whole grains. The new bill would “allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable.”* I’m a little torn on this issue, since the school I teach at has free and reduced breakfast and lunches for the majority of students, paid for by you and me!
So I guess if you don’t like what’s being served for lunch at your child’s school, you can either join the “Revolution” or pack a lunch!
*Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press