American school lunches have become notorious for their poor quality. In most schools, none of the dishes are made in house, and most are notably lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables.
The rationale for this comes from the ill-conceived plan to restrict your child’s fats — especially healthy fats — with complete lack of regard for sugar. The USDA believes substituting sugar for healthy fat in milk is “worth it” to get kids to drink milk.
However, adding sugar and removing healthy saturated fat is a recipe for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases, which is what we’ve been seeing in children at increasingly younger ages.
In the 2006 book “Lunch Lessons,” Cooper and Holmes write that, under the current school lunch program, French fries represent 46 percent of “vegetable servings” consumed by children ages 2 to 19, nationwide.
Packing a healthy lunch for your child is probably a good idea, as the federal lunch program is in dire need of an overhaul. Any system in which pizza and French fries qualify as “vegetables” is unlikely to offer much nutrition.
High School Students Boycott School Lunch
As reported by the Chicago Tribune1 on December 7, students at Albany Park’s Theodore Roosevelt High School decided to boycott the school lunch program in hopes of inciting change.
If the boycott were to catch on in other school districts across the country, it could be a game-changing event. The lunch program at Theodore Roosevelt High School is administrated by Aramark, and:
“‘The students found that if they boycotted lunch, that Aramark wouldn’t get paid, and they saw that as a means of forcing the company and Chicago Public Schools to provide higher quality food,’ civics teacher Timothy Meegan told Chicago radio station WBBM-AM.”
An estimated 80 percent of the students took part in the three-day long boycott, which arose from a civics class project. As reported in the featured article:2
“In Civics we are working on project based learning. We brainstormed a list of potential issues to work on, narrowed the list to three, and finally voted to work on improving school lunch,” the students explain on their website, ‘The School Lunch Project: Culinary Denial.’
The site outlines concerns by students about the quality of their school lunches, complete with photographs of food apparently being served at the high school.
On the site, the students complain that they are offered either hamburgers, chicken patties, or pizza on most school days. They would prefer salads, sandwiches, and fresh fruits.
‘We remember Michelle Obama wanting to get CPS [Chicago Public Schools] students to eat healthy. What we are eating is not healthy; sometime it’s exasperating,’ the site states.”