The New Dealer

  • February 7February 2019 Edition

Health or Favor? The School Lunch Debate

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Health or Favor? The School Lunch Debate

Mena Matta, Reporter

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We all have the same feeling towards school lunch: It doesn’t fill us or fit us at all. Most students have gone to other alternatives such as pre-packed lunch or ordering from outside. It wasn’t like this before the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was passed by Congress in 2012. You probably don’t know anything about school lunch before 2012.  However, it’s not worth it to continue reading if you LOVE tasty, greasy, and salty food.

Students in any public school around the nation used to receive pizza, fries and chicken wings that contain a high percentage of fat. While this was a satisfying meal for almost every student, it was not deemed to be healthy for anyone. After the act was put in place, and was aided by the USDA, food in public schools had to be pre-cooked with a lower in fat, caloric, and sodium count. In addition, they were required to contain lean proteins, more fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. This meant for many students, less taste and not so desirable flavor. The end result- overloaded trash cans full of leftovers.

I personally don’t support the move the government made to provide a ‘healthy lunch for all.’ However, school officials have argued that the reason behind student opposition to the changes is due to the fact that healthy food choices are very dull to most students.  The reality is if most students are not making healthy choices at home, their taste buds would naturally resist these changes. “We have to educate the kids about healthy eating,” Ann Cooper, Food Services Director at the Boulder Valley School District said. “If a kid wasn’t reading at grade level, we would work harder to get them to read at grade level, but with food we’ve somehow abdicated that part of their education.”

France was known to serve cucumber salad with vinaigrette and salmon lasagna with spinach to students. These food choices would never be considered by public schools food plates in the US. It should come as no surprise that the childhood obesity rate in France is the lowest in the Western Hemisphere. It should also come as no surprise that United States has the highest obesity rate in the world.

Back to the root of the problem, the main reason for our tendency to eat fatty food is first: our food choices and second: our health education. Ever read the calorie/nutrition label on any packaged food? You should start reading it.  According to Ms. Le Billon, a California school teacher, “We are a culture of constant eating, and it’s not working in terms of keeping us at a healthy weight,” If we want healthy bodies, we first need healthy minds.  Just eat your lunch already!!!

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Health or Favor? The School Lunch Debate