I recently looked up the Long Beach School District’s lunch menu online. I clicked on the link for the nutrition facts and my jaw dropped.
Pizza, bean and cheese burritos, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, hot pockets, hamburgers, tacos and corn dogs are the “nutrition” options our schools (tax dollars) give our kids. Is it any wonder why kids are always askingfor fast food? These options are what shape the future health of our children. This is why we have staggering childhood obesity rates.
The irresponsible producers choose to make “food products” with addicting ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate. It makes sense—as in dollars.
After all, how would you market an ordinary apple? Maybe that’s why they chose to use genetic modifications—a bigger, redder, apple to appeal to their consumers.
Schools are on a tight budget. However, getting into contracts with food producers that base their value on quantity at the price of quality is unacceptable for our growing kids. If we fail to invest in our kids’ nutrition now, we pay for it eventually with health care costs.
We can do better.
5 Lunch Packing Tips:
Focus on pairing protein and carbohydrates with fiber to keep energy, mood and blood sugars stable. When picking them up from school, come armed with snacks so you don’t have a terror on your hands.
Designate the fruit as the mid-morning snack. Students are more likely to eat their fruit at snack time than they are at lunchtime. With those tiny tummies they run out of room!
Variety is as important to them as it is to you. Pick a range of colorful fruits and vegetables and different meal options.
Pack sandwich in a box instead of a bag to keep it from getting squished. Eliminate soggy bread by applying spread or vinaigrette between the slices of meat or meat-less options.
Get your little one in the kitchen with you and prepare together. Make it a fun, teachable moment. They will develop a healthy connection with food.
From the Magazine City Beat – Long Beach’s Mind.Body.Spirit Column written by Shannon Paul & Jo Hendrix of LBBC