The website www.bloggymoms.com has a feature called The Blog Dare or writing prompts for your blog. Today's post prompt instantly reminded me of something I have been wanting to write about on here anyway.
Schools should......not worry so much about what kids eat or don't eat and focus instead on their education. With that said, I know it isn't that easy. Our district has a large number of families on free and reduced lunches which means, this may be the only "good" meal a child gets during the day. I get that. But, unfortunately, with our new school food regulations put forth by President Obama, there is a lot of grumpy, hungry kids.
Schools are required to meet a certain guideline of calories and nutritional requirements. Unfortunately, that is difficult to do with a limited school food/nutrition budget. My children have frequently come home from school hungry and frustrated. Yesterday, one of the sides was sauerkraut. How many of you ate sauerkraut when you were a kid? I like it now, but certainly not when I was in 2nd grade or 6th grade and I have good eaters. I am willing to bet that a great majority of sauerkraut was thrown away yesterday. Is that a good use of my tax payer dollars? The school often serves cooked spinach or pinto beans. How often did I eat those as a kid? Nope, not again. I have been in school and eaten lunch on days that these items were being served and I couldn't eat them.
I run an after school program at our church once a week. We serve kids a snack and in the beginning when we started 5 years ago, we would serve goldfish crackers, apples, and maybe a cookie and juice. Or pretzels, fruit and cheese and juice. Since the new lunch program has been in place, we have noticed that kids are coming to our program....starving! Never before did we hear, "I'm hungry." Can I have seconds, thirds, fourths? We have changed our snack to actually be a meal. Lunch meat sandwich, fruit, cheese, and juice. Grilled cheese, fruit, juice. Pizza, fruit, juice, cookie. Even with this meal, the kids are wanting more. I can speak to this in my own home as well....my kids come home hungry.
I don't know what the answer is, but what I do know is that I am not sure it is the schools job to count calories. Make food the kids will eat. Encourage them to try new foods by exposing them on a daily basis to fruit and vegetables. And then, let the parents take over. There is only so much you can do 180 days of the year.
I realize I may get flack for this post, but this is just MY OPINION. As an employee of a school district, I am well aware of the difficulties of balancing all the needs of a student...physical, emotional, educational, and personal. Schools are being asked to provide more and more services with less and less money. The balancing act isn't easy and continues to get harder when the government likes to stick their nose into it. My beef here is with all the government red tape, and not our school. I know they are doing the best they can with the resources they have.