April 8, 2010
I’ve been following a brilliant blog called Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project started by a teacher and parent who goes by Mrs. Q (anonymous for fear of losing her job). She has vowed to eat the same school lunch as all of her students every day in 2010 and blogs what she eats. She is not affiliated with any organization. Her blog is not a publicity stunt. She’s just someone using the power of self-publishing to make a point and start a conversation. Well, I’m in. And I hope you are, too.
Yesterday’s post, a guest entry from a Texas mom whose 12-month-old child is in daycare, was the most shocking yet. Maybe because I’ve been tuned into the elementary and high school lunch issue for a while now. Maybe because I have daycare-aged children. I don’t know. But I was ASTOUNDED at what some daycares are feeding tiny children (french fries, little smokies, frosted cake, corn chips… the list goes on). That alone would be worth sharing, but what really got me was the reaction from parents (please read). Parents must believe they have no say in the system. How else could they think this was okay, or that their only option is to compensate with healthier foods at home?!
We do have a say. Not only that, but we HAVE TO have a say. Children are getting sick in ways they never have before and they want to know why we aren’t doing better by them. People are dying young. This is simply a matter of life and death. For the first time in American history our children’s life expectancy may be shorter than ours.
It is part of our job as parents to feed our children foods that will help them grow up strong and healthy, with eating habits that can sustain a long, healthy life. Tight budgets, packed schedules and challenges finding quality fresh foods make the job hard enough. We don’t also need schools and daycares working against our efforts. Having the best intentions, as I’m sure they all do, isn’t good enough.
Please, learn more, find out what your kids are eating (why not join them at school for lunch one day) and, most importantly, SPEAK UP. Talk to other parents in your community. Write a blog post. Make a fuss at a PTA meeting. Write to your legislators. Sign a petition.
Let’s work together to make change.
Here are some resources to learn more about what’s going on in public school lunch rooms and with the Child Nutrition Act:
Have a school lunch story to share? Other resources to pass along? Chime in!