Wednesday, February 17, 2010

school lunch

In the seven minutes I have before my morning meeting I had to make an entry about school lunch. No my kids don't participate, but I'm still cringing at what people think is a healthy school lunch and what the Lunchbox "Healthy Tools for all Schools" a partner of the Slow Food organization is perpetrating to be a healthy lunch. 

They are also using the standard food pyramid and "stellar" representations of the SAD (Standard American Diet). Oh by the way - we're fat folks, yes, we are - I'm not judging you, and there's many reasons we're fat - but we don't have to be - no, we really don't. We choose to be what we are, we pass it down to our children and it is depressing. Our bodies need good nutritious food to get our brain to work properly, sending the messages to our nervous system that help us perform higher functions needed to be intelligent and informed beings. Did you know one of the factors that changed our early primate selves into who we are today? Yes, it is the foods they chose. And, dear readers, it was a mix of plants and animal choices that made us successful. in fact - MEAT was a turning point - at this time it was raw meat but i do think we learned how to create fire for a reason.
Back to the School food...
For instance they recommend the following:
Lean Protein: BBQ Chicken, BBQ Chicken Sandwich, Bolognaise Sauce (Turkey), Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas, Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry, Chicken Barley Soup, Chicken Caesar Wrap, Chicken Fajitas, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Salad, Chicken Tacos, Ground Turkey, Cooked, Hard Cooked Egg, Boiled, Hard Cooked Egg, Steamed, Oven Fried Chicken, Oven Fried Fish, Pasta with Turkey Bolognaise Roasted Chicken, Spicy Chicken Drumsticks, Tandoori Chicken, Tuna Salad..
Excuse me - no freaking way is most of that healthy - especially created in the mass quantities it takes to feed the children in the lunch program. They use the Souffers, Taco Bell, (list any other packaged or fast food here) method of preparation - the only thing that looks at all lean is the Chicken Barely Soup (if the sodium content is LOW) - maybe the eggs....
And even better the calcium recommendation:
Cheeseburger, Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Macaroni and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese Sauce, Veloute
For those who don't know what Veloute is: Flour, butter, 'chicken base', water and black pepper - WHAT?
Vegetatable listings (
bolding the things that are actually healthy vegetables): Bean Burrito, Boiled Potatoes, Bolognaise Sauce (Beef), Bolognaise Sauce (Turkey), Brown Rice, Uncle Ben's (Rice Cooker Method), Carrot Ginger Soup ,Chicken and Vegetable Stirfry ,Chicken Barley Soup, Cider Glazed SquashCorn and Summer Squash, Cuban Black Beans, Hummus, Marinara Sauce, Mashed Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato, Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Red Potatoes, Oven Home Fries, Pasta with Beef Bolognaise, Pasta with Turkey Bolognaise, Pinto Beans, Pizza Sauce, Uncooked, Refried Beans, Roasted BroccoliRoasted CarrotsRoasted CauliflowerRoasted PotatoesRoasted Sweet Potatoes, Shells with Marinara Sauce, Sloppy Joe Sandwich, Steamed BroccoliSteamed CauliflowerTomato Salsa
Last thing I'll mention, but certainly not least; Vegetarian: 
I'm no vegetarian - but this is sort of important. There are some kids who are bought into this and they need whole balanced choices - not a bean freaking burrito, cheese (which isn't really vegetarian anyways), "sauteed" veggies in oil, on a white flour tortilla = 1200 calories.
A word about dairy - cheese tastes good. Milk tastes good. Yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, sour cream - yum, yum, yum. Alas - when you process it the nutritional value decreases. Please - why would they need to add vitamins BACK into the milk? why does yogurt need MORE sweeteners? i love the pro-biotic thing - so I'm not knocking it at all - i'm hitting vitamin fortified milk and over processed colored cheese!
Why in the WORLD is it that people insist on stuffing processed dairy down our kids gullets? Really? I am appalled. Here's a list of things that have high calcium + other things that are better for our kids to consume in large quantities:
Glass of milk: 1 cup, 300 mg calcium
Piece of Cheese: 1 oz., 270 mg calcium
Black Beans 1 cup, 120 mg calcium
Navy Beans 1 cup, 130 mg calcium
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup, 130 mg calcium
Bok Choy 1/2 cup, 80 mg calcium
Kale, cooked 1/2 cup, 90 mg calcium
Corn Tortilla 1, 6 inch, 50 mg calcium
Greens, mustard 1/2 cup, 100 mg calcium
Canned Salmon w/bones 3 oz, 180 mg
Greens, mustard 1/2 cup, 100 mg
Almonds 2 oz., 150 mg
Oysters 3 oz., 80 mg
So if I had a cup of black beans with chopped spinach, almonds and a corn tortilla = 450mg
How about some oysters and braised greens = 450 mg
Let’s go with the black bean meal for the sake of argument - I’d be full, happy and get all of these other nutrients as well: Black beans - Magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, vitamin A, various amount of other nutrients but suffice it to say the beans alone are a great whole food. Spinach has many of the same minerals as the black beans but also important Vitamins – Carotene, Vitamin A, Lutein + zeaxanthin, Vitamin K. And the almonds? Healthy lipids, a good dose of minerals and vitamins. What about the oh so misunderstood and abused corn tortilla? Low fat, dietary fiber, some iron, selenium, B vitamins, etc. 

Doesn't that look lovely? a little celery, a little butternut squash - maybe even mango salsa and homemade corn tortillas? WOW. Serve me that for lunch mum!

I'm not saying milk doesn’t have magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, folate and other vitamins, minerals, aminos, lipids etc – but I'm getting more variety and more dietary satisfaction for my body out of finding alternate sources for my calcium. Plus – my digestive system thanks me.
The government isn't ever going to support RAW milk products - why? Well it changes their subsidized methods. I'm not getting into it today but they are the root of many of our agricultural evils.
Speaking of - a friend of mine refused to eat half of an ear of fresh corn out of my garden. She said, "corn is what they feed cattle and pigs to fatten them up". Okay. Yes. But corn is only in season in my garden from May - July and that is when we eat it - maybe 1 ear a week per person. Cattle eat a mixture of corn, soy and other grains for 6-9 months on a feedlot and get little to no exercise when they are being commercially raised. Half a freaking piece of fresh corn isn't going to make you fat. If you don't like corn just say so, don't make up some excuse.
At our house we use the LapTop lunch system - I make lunch the night before or in the morning using a bento like box. My Child likes it and his lunches look something like this:

Interested in a laptoplunch?
I'm linking to another blog - something I'd never tell my clients to do but somebody did this work for are some photos of school lunches from around the world:

1 comment:

Mrs. B said...

Love your blog I wish I could write as well as you. Love the info!!!