You are what you eat!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Sleeplessof2, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. Sleeplessof2

    Sleeplessof2 Guest

    I volunteered at difficult child's school today. Afterward, I stayed and ate lunch with his class. As I sat there I observed what the kids were eating. Absolutely atroucious!!!! One boy ate this for lunch today: 1 hot dog with-bun and ketchup, 1 bag of potato chips. 1 bag of popcorn, 1 chocolate milk. There was a feeling of guilt that came over me as if I was watching something bad happening and not doing anything about it. Why? Because I was!!!! What is worng with our world? How can we allow our kids to have such diets??? Laws should be made. Guideline should be followed. Parents should be held accountable!!! Need I mention that this boy is overweight and has behavior problems in the classroom. Wonder why? It's just not fair to him and the rest of our children in America. I left the school today discouraged. Thanks for letting me vent.
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Have you seen the show on ABC called something like Jamie Olivers Food Revolution?

    It is about this British Chef who is on a mission to clean up the diets of people around the world. He did it in a school district in the UK and now he has gone to Huntington WV because that city was shown to be the most unhealthy city in America by the CDC. He is attempting to change the diets of all the people there starting in the schools and working outward. Its an amazing show.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Take heart, it was just ONE day. Maybe on other days he eats better. Maybe lunch is a difficult meal for his parents to control. Maybe he's a picky eater. Maybe they tried sending him in with carrot sticks and juice but he traded it away for a yodel.

    You can't control what others feed their kids - all you can do it control what you feed yours...and that only barely once they reach a certain age! I had a teacher once call me because the only thing my difficult child would eat for about 3 months was rolled up ham (hated sandwiches) and dill pickles. For lunch, I didn't argue - just packed it up for her and sent it in. For breakfast and dinner, I had enough control that I knew she was eating healthy. You just never know. Take a breath.

    PS: I would NOT want the government or school district dictating what I could or could not feed my child anyway! Really, would you?
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh this food revolution isnt dictating...they are just changing to having good healthy food in the schools instead of processed junk.

    Say real chicken instead of chicken nuggets with processed soy koi. Mashed potatoes and veggies instead of just fries over and over again. Or rice.

    No more soy burgers that pass off as hamburgers. Or mystery meat.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    While I agree that was a pretty atrocious lunch, I'm not sure what your school serves, but ours is even worse than what that boy had. He at least had some protein.

    Our school routinely serves toritilla chips and nacho cheese as the main course. With sides, of course. What I find very sad about it is the eating habits this encourages. For a nation who's parents will likely outlive its children...this is really sad.

    Thankfully, Wee eats a salad 95% of the time. He doesn't like the unpredicatility of the school food, so three cheers for lettuce, in our case. But most aren't that fortunate.
  6. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I raised my kids on a healthy diet of home grown veggies and minimally processed foods. They couldn't wait to get out of the house with their friends and head for the burger joints. Big sigh.

    When I was a kid we had large family meals where everyone discussed the smells and tastes of the dishes before us, we criticized and complimented. It was a huge part of our culture as well as our education. Peer pressure has influenced my difficult children' appreciation of food as well as their morals and drug use.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    The PTA has taken a lead role at Duckie's school to promote food education. The leadership met with the school board and got a committee going to rework the cafeteria food and encourage parents to send in healthy snacks with a focus on fresh fruit and veggies. Do kids still eat Twinkies? You betcha! But I've noticed more fresh produce being eaten by the children and the school does seems a little calmer. Now, we need to address the federal commodities program to make real headway in school cafeteria breakfast & lunch programs around the US.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I think in some cases it's a sensory thing. As others have suggested, it's possible that the child is a really picky eater and that's all he will eat for lunch.

    I think it's a "lead a horse to water" kind of thing. We can offer our children healthy choices and set them a good example by making healthy choices ourselves, but after that there's not much further we can do.

    I for one was a horribly picky eater as a child. I would go on runs where I would only eat one thing, three meals a day, for months at a time. And it was near impossible for my grandmother to keep up with my preferences. And if the preference-of-the-month wasn't available, I just woudn't eat. I think my Grannie figured that having me eat something was better than letting me starve, so she accommodated my cravings. I am lucky that I really like the texture of vegetables, so many of my cravings did turn out healthy, but not always. There was a time when I was 4 or so, when all I would eat was dry ovaltine crystals mixed half-and-half with white sugar. Honestly! If the government got to mandate what children are fed, my Grannie would have been in trouble for letting me eat that, but I literally would not eat anything else.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'd like to see the USDA guidelines modified to include healthier choices. Today the lunch choices, at an elementary school, were tacos and cheeseburgers. Yesterday the choices were cheese-stuffed breadsticks or soft pretzels. And what dummy decided french fries were vegetables? Goodbye, health benefits, once you dump them in the oil.

    I've been watching Jamie Oliver, too, and was floored when the district lunch lady said the veggie stir fry didn't have enough veggies, but it was all right on the burger/fry line because a salad existed, even though the kids didn't have to take any salad. What a waste of food.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    When I was in high school I helped out in the cafeteria.

    OK, this is 20 years ago. But I helped MAKE hamburger patties out of ground beef and a press. I washed the potatoes they used for fries - and they baked those. (Yuck, in my opinion.)

    We had pretty good salads, lots of fruit. I remember spaghetti day because all the kids loved it. Canned tomato sauce, yes - but you could get it with or without meat sauce, or meatballs. Also handmade. I hated making those.

    Now before? In junior high? We hand foldable rectangular pizzas. However... They were probably healthier than they are now.
  11. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I taught school for a lot of years and I noticed a definite deterioration in the quality of the food served over the years. Granted, when you are cooking for several hundred kids (or more), you can't please everybody. Also, school lunches have to be affordable; that means using lots of government commodities and keeping costs down otherwise. But the lunches they served in 1969 when I first started teaching were definitely healthier than the ones they serve now.
    I certainly don't want the government or anybody else dictating what I can eat or what I can feed my kids but I do think that they have the ability to see that school lunches meet a certain standard, limiting fat and junk and providing decent nutrition. But then the problem becomes getting the kids to eat it.
    Our whole culture has a schitzo thing about food; all of the models and actors we see and nearly or really anorexic, yet the majority of our population is overweight and the average is getting heavier. Portions are getting bigger and people are more interested in convenience than in nutrition. I am fully convinced that at least 90% of the fat kids we have now will grow up to be obese adults and will die young after costing the system megabucks for health care for conditions they brought on themselves. I have basically been on a diet or at least conscious of what I eat since I have been 12 years old. I've never been skinny but I've never been obese either. I've learned to live with being the size I am (I finally got to the point about a year ago where my body mass index is within the normal range, but just barely); I don't plan to get any smaller but I'll be darned if I'll get any bigger either. I've learned that the best way to maintain a decent weight is to eat healthy portions of healthy food. Yes, I splurge on occasion;life is too short not to but there is no use making in shorter by poor eating habits day after day after day.
    I worry that the generation we are raising is not going to live as long or have the quality of life that even my generation has and I think it is mostly related to diet. We can't force people to do what is good for them but we can provide healthy lunches for our kids and we can provide a decent example for them to follow.
  12. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Muttmeister- I agree completely. I also believe, as a taxpayer, that tax $$$ are being spent ineffectively in a program that subsidizes the meals for the nation's poorer children. We're fortunate that I can send Duckie to school with a healthy lunch. There are other kids who don't have that option. There's way too much fat, not enough fresh produce, fiber or lean protein available. Ketchup is actually considered a vegetable! Also, in our district, the kitchens are run by a major corporation under contract. They make most of their profit by pushing the extras: cookies, chips & ice cream. I actually placed a restriction on Duckie's account that she can only buy snacks by paying cash, no charging. But most parents don't realize they can do this.. so the kids buy their lunch for $1.65 and spend another .75 on chips or ice cream, or .50 for cookies.
  13. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    When husband and his ex split, easy child 2/difficult child was a tiny little thing. Actually talll for her age, but very thin, active outdoors and in sports. She wore a size 5 when I came into the picture, but they were too short for her. His ex pulled her out of all activities (because husband went to them and she proceeded to keep easy child 2/difficult child from him for over a year). She stopped doing outdoor activities at all.

    In 2 years, she was wearing a size 12.

    Then she got to the point in school she could have ala cart items for lunch (5th grade) and she has simply ballooned. She is 12 years old now, 5'3" tall, 175 pounds, and gaining, about a jeans size every 3 months for the past year or so (currently wearing woman's 16 jeans). It just makes me ill to have watched this happen to her as she will fight it all her life and it didn't have to be this way. They say belly fat is the most unhealthy, and that's where all of hers is. She has heart disease and diabetes and morbid obesity on both sides of her family tree. Its not uncommon for her to spend $5 a day on "lunch" at school, and there's not a dang thing we can do - as long as she buys a tray lunch, she can have as many cookies, chips, and chocolate milks as she wants...and she does. What 5th grader is going to reject those options?
  14. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    A DOLLAR AND SIXTY FIVE CENTS????? TM, can I send my kids to you please????? At least for lunch?

    Jett, in 5th grade, is $2.50 per day. Onyxx (in the alternative school) is $2.75. The junior high and high school are $3.25. And we make too much to qualify for even reduced price lunches. I tried having them pack, but gave up when they (OK, mostly Onyxx) began eating EVERYTHING I BOUGHT FOR LUNCHES... The Monday I came home to discover she's eaten an ENTIRE CASE of applesauce cups, I gave up. (In that case, that was 36 - 6-6packs). And, yes, I tried locking them up - I just don't have THAT MUCH ROOM in my bedroom.

    Jett has an account, which is good because he loses money. He doesn't get to buy extras. However I discovered he was trading things... Sigh. I can only try. And since when are cheese-filled breadsticks with marinara or nacho cheese sauce HEALTHY???

    They are supposed to take snacks to school for mid morning, so I was sending him with a Capri Sun or other juice box and something healthy-ish. NOT ALLOWED TO SEND JUICE - too sticky. Apples/oranges? Too sticky and messy. Their suggestion is... GET THIS... CHEEZ ITS or other snack crackers. And water. (I actually got a nasty email from the teacher the day I tried to send celery with cream cheese - apparently Jett made a mess.)

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It really is hard to watch the kids eat what most schools serve for meals. We are blessed to be in the district we are in. A few years before we moved back to town the lady who babysat Wiz as an infant started really LOOKING at the school lunches. She was very active in both the school PTA and the citywide PTA (not available in most districts). She worked with 3 other women to campaign to change school food. Somehow they were loud enough long enough to make big changes.

    Now all the bread, cookies, etc are whole wheat. Every lunch has at least 3 and usually 4-5 fresh fruits and veggies to choose in addition to cooked veggies served as part of the meal. The fresh fruits and veggies are cleaned and cut into bite size pieces then portioned in paper cups. Kids are strongly encouraged to take several. Fat has also been lowered. At first the parents had fits. HOW could kids be asked to eat cookies made with whole wheat flour?? Or pizza made with whole wheat flour and low fat cheese and sausage? The kids were excited because the teachers put in educational programs to explain things. At this point it is just how it is. when I have been at school during lunch the kids almost all seem to take 2-3 different fruits/veggies and about 15%-20% of them ask if they can have more. Similar offerings are at breakfast.

    This is all within the federal lunch guidelines and done on a low budget.

    It takes parents to stand up and speak out, to organize and petition, but changes CAN be made.

    I think Jamie Oliver is on a wonderful path and I hope and pray that more of us join him.
  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    As soon as I began reading this thread, I was thinking about Jamie Oliver's campaign also.

    It does vary though, depending on how meals are organised in schools in your country. I gather in England, and also in the US, there is a common practice of kids being fed at school in the cafeteria. In Australia our kids can get fed, but the school cafeteria is more a counter and nothing else - the kids buy their lunch from a range of available foods, then take it outside to eat it.

    What Jamie Oliver was doing, was on multiple levels. First, he worked to make sure the school canteen had only healthy options available; but also staying within the budget. He then worked on the kids themselves, to make sure they understood about healthy eating. One really effective way to do this in Australia especially, has been to include gardening, cooking and other related topics, into the school curriculum. So the kids themselves grow the food, they are involved in it, they learn about what they are doing and then they get to harvest the food and learn how to cook it. When they have some ownership in it, it's amazing what the kids will happily eat. If they've grown it themselves, they'll even eat broccoli and brussels sprouts.

    There's nothing in Jamie Oliver's programs that dictates what parents can or can't do. What it does, though, is make sure of several things:

    1) The schools and school staff have to ensure that the kids are only given access to healthy choices, because they have a duty of care which they violate if they do not ensure that the kids are looked after in this way.

    2) The kids themselves are taught about healthy choices and encouraged to make these choices a part of their lifestyle; families can be brought in to learn also, and given useful information about how to eat well AND do it without it costing any more.

    3) Kids are taught hands-on how to recognise the food as well as how to prepare it so they actually like eating it.

    One of the really sad things about the British program when I watched it, was the number of kids who didn't recognise the raw vegetables Jamie showed them. It wasn't obscure stuff, either. He also taught them about herbs and other flavourings as well as how to use them. There was a lot of resistance to begin with, especially form the boss of the school canteen who was very determined that this little Cockney upstart wasn't going to make HER budge on anything! She was determined to keep feeding those kids the pre-packaged fried potato stuff laden with additives and rubbish, as well as fish fingers (also laden with rubbish) and chicken nuggets (have you seen what goes into those things?). So he had to prove to her that he could come in under budget AND prepare food that was easy, as well as acceptable to the kids.
    At first the kids wouldn't touch food they didn't recognise, but once Jamie taught them about where the food comes from and involved them in preparation, these kids really changed.

    The thing is, kids learn what they're used to. And what they get given every day is what they get used to. Plus, school canteens do what is easy and cheap. If they really don't care about nutrition, considering it's the parent's job to make sure the kids eat right while they're at home and what they have at school doesn't matter, it can actually perpetuate the problems and make it more difficult for families who do try to feed the kids right. So this sort of issue has to be handled on a wide front, if there is going to be success.

    In Australia, we now have strict rules about what schools are permitted to have on the premises, in terms of food choices. It's not law, but it IS Dept of Ed regulations. There is still a lot of room for improvement.
    We do have an increasing number of schools that are following the Jamie Oliver model, where the kids grow the food, they harvest it, they cook it and then it is sold in the school canteen. And the canteen can still turn a profit, as well as ensure that healthy choices are there.

    When the food is really fresh and you know where it has been grown, it is also doing a lot of good for the environment because the food hasn't been picked for days or possible months, plus it hasn't been trucked half way around the planet before being consumed. Eating local food means no greenhouse debt due to the travel cost.

    It's win-win-win in so many ways.

    If you can do some digging on Jamie Oliver and what he does, you might find it very interesting. I did.

  17. Trinity,

    You really do give me hope for difficult child. Like your grandmother, I gave up the food battle long ago. There are still times when he goes way too long without eating because nothing is "right". This is definitely abnormal for an adolescent male, and his lanky, skinny frame shows it.

    That being said, if you take away the sensory issues - we are in serious trouble with the eating habits of our entire nation, but especially our children. Children can either eat what they are offered , or like difficult child just not eat. You get what you pay for, and as a culture, we are not willing to pay for good, nutritious food in our schools. in my humble opinion it's all about the money. Unfortunately, this is penny wise and pound foolish, because the costs get you one way or another - payment for good nutrition now, or payment for treatment of nutritionally caused diseases later. It's really that simple.

    Years ago I worked in a program promoting healthy habits for low income families. I used to try desperately to encourage the moms to pool together, hire a taxi, and travel four miles to wonderful local farmer's market with great, low prices on fresh, locally grown food. These ladies were using food stamps, and the market accepted them. I simply could not get them to so, as they preferred the small, local mom and pop market with sky high prices and no fresh fruit or veggies! Their money would have gone at least twice as far at the farmers' market and there was no processed food there. Your taxes at work!

  18. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    This is a really huge pet peeve of mine.

    I grew up in the Era when school lunches were real meals (balanced) made of real food (homemade right at the school). And no, I'm not as old as you might think. lol I grew up dirt poor. My mother thought spaghetti ingredients consisted of spaghetti noodles and of our main meals was fried potatoes, mac and cheese, and rice......this could be several times in one week depending on her budget. At school I learned about delicious things such as salisbury steak, fish fillets, beef and noodles, chicken and noodles ect. (no my Mom isn't much of a cook lol)

    Our school lunches consisted of something from each of the food groups and not a bit of it was junk food. We used to fight over their homemade bread! We'd sit in class all morning and smell the delicious aromas of it cooking and be drooling by lunchtime. I don't recall a single kid skipping lunch or not eating their lunches, unless they were sick. Some things were traded, not everyone likes everything, but for the most part you ate what you got because it was delicious and hot. And I still think if it weren't for those lunches I'd have been in heap big trouble nutrition wise.

    About high school some moron got the idea in their heads that kids refused healthy lunches. (in other words someone wanted to cut the budget and junk food is cheaper than healthy 4-5 course meals) Next thing we knew we were getting pizza 3 times a week, hamburgers that were inedible once or twice a week, and tacos the rest of the time. Cookies and brownies were sold extra and everyone started buying them because the junk food not only got old fast, but most of it was disgusting. Ever ate a soggy taco that has sat there waiting for someone to pick it up for 45 mins?? eww! Student body complained LOUDLY. Parents complained LOUDLY. We were told to shut up this is the stuff we like to eat and it was "balanced". HUH??

    And it got worse from there.:(

    My kids NEVER ate school lunches because of the menu choices. (that and the crazy prices) I packed them leftovers from our home cooked balanced meals instead. They might have sandwiches, but they were roast chicken, roast beef, tuna and the like. Rarely did they have chips. They had corn bread, fresh veggies or fruit, muffins and such. I used to worry they'd get laughed at for what they ate until they had a parent eat with your kid day. Kids would line up around them and BEG for their healthier foods!!! Often I'd send twice as much so the kids could share with their friends. Not a problem because I grew up in a large family and cook for an army. lol

    easy child packs Darrin's lunch for the same reason. lol

    Money. That's what it's all about. But I do know there is a motion going on to return school lunches back into the healthy meals they used to be.
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Lisa... I wish my kids were like this. But they go so used to a lot of ramen noodles, junk food... That when we packed lunches, a lot of it got THROWN AWAY.

    I wouldn't know except one of the teachers went to the trouble of emailing me (finding out my email, then actually sending the thing) and asking if I was aware that Jett was throwing away most of his lunch. I asked her what... He would eat the sandwich - SOMETIMES - and chips/goldfish crackers, drink the capri sun, but throw out the applesauce or pudding (!!!), celery/carrots/grapes/apple... He didn't even try to trade. He later told me he didn't like my bread... This is the same wheat bread he had always had at home... And did not explain the other stuff.

    So I carefully asked him and Onyxx about BM's meals.

    Oh my. She loved to make pot roast, but Onyxx said (point blank which was amusing) that mine was better 'cause it wasn't greasy. Bulgogi and egg rolls. OK, so far, reasonable... BUT.

    Snacks for kids: processed cheese, chips (potato, dorito, cheeto, frito - all the o's), peanut butter and fluff, cocoa krispies and fruity pebbles. CANDY. Dinner included a lot of mac 'n' cheese, wienies, canned spaghetti (UGH). Then I got a GREAT story from Onyxx about going to the grocery store with BM, and Jett begging her to buy brussels sprouts "cause we had them at Daddy's and they're GOOD!" (LMBO!!!!!)

    Last fall I made homemade spiced applesauce. Jett's not terribly interested, but Onyxx LOVES it. Good thing, too, because I can't stand applesauce any more... Made too much.

    I was thinking about this and I remembered when BM submitted 80+ pages of receipts saying we agreed to pay 50% (technically in a way true - we paid for what the kids had at our home, including clothing, and a lot of school stuff) - this included, and I kid you not, a hotel room, prophylactics, Victoria's Secret, and thousands of dollars' worth of groceries. These groceries? One that I will never forget had our part circled - 25 bags of assorted chocolate candy, 10 bags of cheetos, doritos, etc., and 8 cases of pop. For a birthday party. In June. Onyxx's birthday is in March, Jett's is in August. Never did figure that one out, considering the kids had no idea when we asked - this was about a month later.

    So anyway... Fact is, kids DO like what they are used to. Jett makes a lot of peanut butter and american cheese sandwiches and eats a lot of dry ramen. (UGH!!!!!)
  20. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    When I read your post, I admit that I ddin't get what you were so upset about. I actually figured - Heck! The kid ate from the meat group, the breads group and the dairy group - that's pretty good....compared to what my difficult child will eat at school.

    At home, our kids eat healthy. Dinner is usually home-made (and I don't mean home-made as in I whipped up a package of mac-n-cheese). The kids eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies...drink milk. Soda is an occassional treat.

    Both kids buy lunch. My son will trade parts of his lunch for different snacks from other kids. Sometimes he trades the school lunch drink for another kid's fruit juice or not too bad.

    difficult child? She will trade the whole lunch or skip it entirely and opt for a candy bar and soda for lunch instead. Frankly, I have a huge problem with candy and soda machines in the school. There is also a lot of fundraising going on where kids will sell candy to raise money for this club or that.

    If kids wanna eat hot dogs, that's OK in my book. But lose all the candy, soda, and other vending machine junk. There's just no excuse for it.