Saturday, August 30, 2008

Healthy School Lunches

The kids are back in school and enjoying the famous school lunches. After eight years of "social-cut-back" government the lunches are very different than in yesteryear.

I remember when I was a kid, many, many years ago, the school lunches were pretty hardy even if they were a bit funky. Things like the square pizza slices that were different from any pizza you can imagine. What was that cheese on there? Not sure what type of sauce that was either. And my favorite, the incredible cinnamon rolls.

Over the years, things began to decline in school kitchens. Remember during the Regan administration when ketchup was being counted as a vegetable for nutritional purposes?

With all of the attention be placed on the "greening" of America, one thing that hasn't be talked about much is school lunches. Here is a an interesting blog post I ran across recently about healthier school lunches and what got me thinking about this.

The first step in nutritional lunches for your kids is really to pack a lunch for them. This works well if your kids are interested in eating healthy. And if there is not some "kid-stigma" about kids who carry lunch pails. When my children were in school they insisted they had to buy lunch.

The best answer for all school children is to work towards school systems buying locally for school lunches. I wrote an article about Consumer Supported Agriculture in which I encouraged local growers to start looking for new markets and to be creative about it. We joined a CSA network this summer that is affiliated with our local Hen House Grocery stores. It has been a great experience. It seems to me that a similar alliance could be created to develop a market with the local school systems to provide better foods for school lunches.The local school might even serve as a good CSA outlet for families to pick up food subscriptions.

There could also be some interesting educational opportunities as well. Many CSA's encourage participation of their members at the local farms. Wouldn't it be a great out-of-the-classroom experience to get the children connected to the source of their food? The lessons that would provide are multiple. You could incorporate lessons on science, writing, socials studies, business, economics, among others.

Buzz it up

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