Thursday, March 25, 2010

The forced school lunch program

I am a homeschooler, and have been one for my son's entire educational career. We began with preschool when he was 3 yrs old and have continued ever since(15 years now). My son has never experienced a mainstream school and I have never had to deal with any of the issues that parents of main stream schools deal with. I have nothing against main stream schooling. Homeschooling is not a choice that would suit every family and not everyone wants to do this. It is best if we are all allowed a choice in education. It has proven to be the best choice for our family, and every now and then I get glimpses into that other world that remind me of why. Such happened yesterday and it also involves a food matter. I came across a story about the Chicago Public Schools revamping their lunch program, and amongst the changes came a policy that no outside food could be brought into the school. No child would be allowed to brown bag their lunch any more, but instead would be required to buy a lunch from he on site food service.

Considering what most school lunch programs are offering, this is a fast track to increase a lot of health problems ! That is simply on the surface. The district argues that the main reason this policy is in place is to cut down the likelihood of violence in the schools. Students cannot sneak in weapons or drugs with their lunchbags. Problem is not only is the food service devoid of any real nutrition, there is no alternative meals offered for children with dietary restrictions of any kind ( allergies, intolerance, religious conviction, ethical belief or so forth). I was really shocked at this move- especially within a week of a new campaign nation wide to combat childhood obesity. I was concerned for my nieces and nephews who do attend mainstream schools and several of which have become vegetarian for health reasons. I discovered through talking with one of my sisters that this is already the policy for their district because too many students were sneaking alcohol in water bottles and re-usable drink containers. Pound head...pound head... it seems that the causes for childhood obesity, like weight loss attempts, are a lot more complicated than you first realize. It just made me glad I made this choice for my son and gave me a real shot of encouragement to keep pressing on when the going gets tough !

Thanks for the sympathies on my toe- I really HATE stupid injuries. I have broken bones stepping on an empty blech bottle, torn ligaments stepping off a curb, thrown my back out while turning to grab toilet paper and other death defying actions. I have broken my collarbone while skiing but lived through a bear attack and being thrown over a waterfall with just a scratch or two. I have a special talent it seems ! I was determined to not let the stupid toe slow us down so we got in a LOT of hall walking( thank you thick socks) and playing with the Wii Resort cycle. The skin is starting to form on he wound , bypassing a scab all together , and I am hoping that I will be able to put on shoes come Saturday.I have to ! Gotta do grocery shopping for the big event. Nick will turn 18 on Sunday and we want to celebrate !

Food offerings- or should I say our school lunch program for the day included:

Oatmeal with apple, blueberry, flax and almonds for breakfast

Southwest bean salad ( black beans, corn, red peppers, zucchini, cucumber, cilantro and salsa) on a bed of baby greens for lunch. A Tangelo joined in the fun.

A salad of romaine, watercress, dried cranberries, blood orange , apples and walnuts with Creole chicken ( tomatoes, celery, peppers, spinach and yellow squash) over brown rice for dinner. This one was so filling that no one could finish the portions. Next time I will cut this one in half !

It really saddens me that there are people in the world who for whatever reason are not given access to honest to goodness real food that nourishes the body. Good nutrition makes a world of difference in your health and performance- physical, spiritual and mental. It angers me that we live in such a world that requires policies that keep people from this basic human right established due to concerns of safety and ultimately determined by profit.

Time for a dandelion break.


Marisa (Loser for Life) said...

I love YOUR school lunch program! The kids get fed such crap in school, that's why I make their lunches every day. Healthier, cheaper and more nutritious for sure!

Yikes - 18!!! How do they grow up so fast :(

Jeremy Logsdon said...

It is amazing to think they are going to forbid students from bringing in outside food. I don't know what I would have done, as I brown bagged it through all my years of public school.