Spring is in the air and our thoughts turn lightly to…school lunches?? Well, spring or snowstorm, with kids around food is always paramount so I have been reading about the school lunch program this week. A lot has been said about the need to fix the lunch system and get healthy food to our kids but then comes the news that Jamie Oliver’s attempt to do just that in his reality show, set in a school in West Virginia has not been a resounding success. One of the reasons might be that kids like to eat what they like to eat: and no amount of lecturing or demonstrating what is healthy will have an impact. So if we want the kids to eat their veggies we have to do it with them. Eat healthy meals together and kids will make healthy choices when they are on their own as well. Fixing the lunch program is a complex and mammoth task. The D. C. school system has taken an innovative approach to it by hiring a former restaurateur.
The first step would be to actually cook the food at the schools which might pose some problems as school kitchens are not equipped for cooking. Yes, you read that right! There are freezers and steamers galore but no stoves or ovens. Then there is the question of sourcing the produce: local? organic? And , of course, the old,old question of the funds to make the changes. So what can parents do in the meantime? An easy answer: go over the lunch menu with your child and encourage him/her to make good choices. And also consider this: fixing a sandwich and chopping up some fruit or vegetables for a side is not an impossible task. Yes, it might make your mornings even more crazy but hey, it’s for a good cause!