Last night I watched Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" and LOVED it. For those who aren't familiar, Jamie Oliver is the "Naked Chef" He helped reform the school lunch program in England and is now on a crusade to help in America. He went to the unhealthiest city in America and is trying to help them get on track so their children won't be obese adults with a multitude of health problems.
I won't go into it further except to say that watching it last night, I kind of came to the realization that this is NOT a school problem (totally) it's a PARENT problem. These kids don't want brown rice and oven fried chicken drumsticks-why? Because they don't eat that sort of thing at home. Oliver asked the kids "what did you have for dinner last night?" Chicken nuggets, pizza, and cheeseburgers all topped the list
(a disclaimer: Friday nights in the Wit house are reserved for McDonalds-a bad habit, for sure, but we bowl and it's our "treat" for the kids. They eat well the rest of the week and are both healthy and happy-if they were overweight and had a multitude of health problems, then we'd talk about the problems with McD's once a week)
The schools give these kids "crap" food because their PARENTS give them crap food; don't get me wrong, chicken nuggets and french fries are NOT the devil, but they ought to be treated like other junk food-a treat, a once in a while food, not two to three times a week food. A lot of people say "well my kid won't eat anything else" (and I have a kid with food aversions, I get that) but there are simple changes you can make to healthier food choices.
Gabe doesn't eat a lot of meat, but he does eat beans, cheese, and low fat cottage cheese. His iron levels are great and he's probably eaten three chicken nuggets in six years. We love to eat spaghetti, but there's a ton of veggies in the sauce and we use fresh Parmesan for flavor rather than a ton of the canned stuff (which Geo loves, poor poor Geo his awful wife won't buy Kraft Parmesan canned cheese LOL) Quesadillas are a HUGE favorite around here---and they have grated veggies, lean meat, and vegetarian beans put into them to reduce the amount of cheese and up the nutritional value. Unsweetened apple sauce with a shake of cinnamon is a favorite around here, juice made from 100% fruit juice is all we drink (and even then, it's watered down) Potatoes are baked, not fried, including french fries. Veggies and fruits are a MUST at meals. The kids have their own water bottles and carry them around all day drinking from them. They drink 2% milk, chocolate milk is a treat and even then, it's not the premade stuff, it's what momma makes at home.
Until parents start accepting the bulk of the responsibilities for their childs' poor eating habits, the schools are NOT going to change what they are doing; they are simply feeding children what they are used to and what they'll eat...and what does that say about the parents of today?