Do you trust your school to give your child a healthy lunch?
Which of the following is considered a junk food according to national school nutrition standards?
A. Hi-C Blast
(vitamin fortified sugar drink)
B. Poland Springs seltzer water (carbonated water)
C. French fries
According to a USDA Food and Nutrition Service, school lunches “must meet the recommendations of the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat.”
Zach is surprised when his mom shows up in the school cafeteria to see what he purchased for lunch.
“Regulations also establish a standard for school lunches to provide one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.”
That doesn’t sound too bad. Although, trans frat and other altered fats are not identified. Vitamins are taken into consideration, but there’s no attempt to identify synthetic vitamins and whole foods. If you guessed A, C, or D you’d be wrong. Seltzer water is banned as junk food, because it doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals. Yikes! French fries, candy bars, and Hi-C aren’t officially considered junk food, because they contain some nutrients, even if they are synthetic vitamins and loaded with altered fats.
Schools shouldn’t have junk foods as an option
Students can choose food items a la carte which aren’t as nutritious as the actual school meal. Students can purchase beverages, snack items, and other junk foods which don’t meet the USDA dietary guidelines. Parents give children lunch money expecting that their kids will eat nutritious food. Instead, kids spend their money on unhealthy options. It seems incredulous that schools would even present these options to kids, who will almost always go for the least nutritious items available.
The nutrition standards for school lunches haven’t been updated in 30 years, during which time obesity rates in children have tripled. Current nutrition standards keep some junk food out of our school, but let other junk food in. Today, doughnuts are allowed but lollipops are not. Current federal law prohibits the sale of narrowly defined foods of minimal nutritional value in school cafeterias. Therefore carbonated water is banned, but vitamin fortified sugar water is allowed, because of the addition of synthetic vitamins.
Don’t expect that schools will offer your child nutritious options. Send them to school with a healthy lunch that you packed.
Fill your kids with love: give them a hug before they go off to school.
For a synopsis of Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater, Click Here.