Food fight in the school lunchroom

  • Article by: MARIA ELENA BACA and HERON MARQUEZ , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: October 14, 2012 - 6:15 AM

Students don't like to be told what to eat and say portions are too small. Lunch staffers seek patience and buy-in to the goal of healthier kids.

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hobie2Oct. 13, 1210:59 PM

Yes, all kids are obese, and each kid needs the same calories as the other kid. We must crack down on this obesity, and teaching them at a young age to eat snacks to make up calories will make our society less fat. Any fool can see that the 220 lb football player and his 110 cheerleader girlfriend must be given the same portions of food at lunch, and that the snacks we teach them to eat with the needed 1000 calories are low fat and low sugar - yup, teaching kids to eat high calorie low fat low sugar snacks. That's the ticket... And we wonder why the society has obese people... What? The 6'2 220 lb 5% body fat football player is counted as obese in the stats?.. Ok, get every 6'2" male high school student down the recommended weight of 164 lbs. so we can get them off that dreaded obese-child count.

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ladyluck23Oct. 13, 1211:40 PM

Are you kidding me who are these kids? Pack your own lunch/snacks if you don't want to purchase school lunches. It's a choice. My kids did that everyday. Homemade lunches are fresh and healthier anyway.

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RanickOct. 13, 1211:59 PM

School wasn't a democracy when I was enrolled. It's about time we put healthy food into the lunch programs, if it upsets some of the kids, then so be it. Our childrens poor eating habits is causing the biggest health crisis of our generation. We can't control all the garbage they eat when they aren't in school, but we can make sure that school lunches are part of the solution and not part of the problem. If an athlete needs extra calories the school can offer high quality and calorie dense healthy snack options. I see no reason why the public school system needs to provide junk food like stuffed crust pizza, cheese burgers, hot dogs, french fries, soda and candy.

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swmnguyOct. 14, 1212:24 AM

As our society grows more insular and self-absorbed, it seems the schools are one of the few remaining areas where all kids come together, and all parts of our society mingle.

Of course it's ridiculous to assign the same calorie count to every kid. But consider the other conflicting issues that come to bear here. The schools are constantly looking for ways to do things on the cheap to satisfy the bean counters. In Minneapolis, very few schools do any food preparation on-site. The cheapest food is also the most nutritionally barren, and the most fattening. That is why in America, the poor people are fat, in a grotesque twist of irony. Also, to keep labor costs down, lunch times have shrunk to as little as 20 minutes, there's no recess, and mandatory phy ed has disappeared. If a kid isn't in a sport, it's entirely possible that walking between classes and to and from a bus is the only exercise a kid gets at all. Take a lifestyle that sedentary and feed those kids cheap food that is barely nutritious and tends to be high in fat, carbohydrates, and salt; of course kids are fat.

I'm very fortunate genetically. My kids are skinny, and active. My son is 14 and hates sports, but he also hates riding the bus so he's been riding his bike 8 miles a day to and from school for the past 3 years. My daughter plays sports, so she gets her activity. They both hate the school lunches they've been offered up to now, and insist on packing their own lunches. My wife and I grew up poor, and I lived on a farm, so we make meals out of actual food ingredients. Our kids have picked up some very good eating habits as a result. With their genes, and parental example borne of rural poverty and the do-it-yourself mentality that we adopted, our kids are doing fine.

Sure, it's silly to mandate 2,000 calories for every kid. But it's even more absurd to eliminate physical activity in the schools for short-term payroll benefits, and to use cheap fattening ingredients to make awful food for short-term budgetary reasons. Make kids be physically active. Teach them how to cook real food. Spend the money to have time for them to have supervised physical activity. We're cutting off our noses to spite our face, and then we complain that it's absurd. No kidding.

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luzhishenOct. 14, 12 2:19 AM

[Ok, get every 6'2" male high school student down the recommended weight of 164 lbs. so we can get them off that dreaded obese-child count." Better yet, ditch the high school football teams. We need physicists, not more fool-ball players.

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erikj3Oct. 14, 12 2:43 AM

This is getting ridiculous. Good, healthy food does NOT have to be tasteless and "gross"! The problem is, our tastes have been disrupted by decades of the big food companies manipulating ingredients (specifically, fat, sugar, and salt) to make food addictive. So, when you don't get that "rush", all of a sudden you find food "boring". It's LONG past time for us to get real about this and do something about it. Oh, and you don't think that our issues with food are in any way related to the obesity epidemic, which is feeding (no pun intended) our spiraling out of control health care costs? Think again. Look at what is subsidized (corn, soybeans), and then look at what is made out of those ingredients: cheap, unhealthy food that's making us fatter by the year. Enough!

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comment229Oct. 14, 12 4:39 AM

Just two comments... first, the article indicated "one meal per day." Some schools are now serving three meals a day. However, as indicated, this entire problem could be solved by giving each student a free alarm clock. Set it ten minutes earlier than you normally get up in the morning, and make your own lunch and as much as you like if you don't like the government guidelines. I was a student athlete and I do remember being awfully hungry after the classes were done in the afternoon, only to face two-three hours of intense physical activity. PS Most, if not all school lunch programs published and still do publish a menu for the following week. We ALWAYS glanced at it and planned cold lunches on days when something objectionable was served.

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comment229Oct. 14, 12 4:42 AM

Finally, and this is JUST my opinion about the school lunch program that I have first hand knowledge of. ALL of them featured dedicated LOW PAID workers and I dare ANY of you to spend a week in their shoes. It takes a special kind of person to do what these people do.

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jonahspaOct. 14, 12 5:44 AM

Yeah, but school lunches are "hot" and for some are the only food available. The point missing is that kids don't get fat from eating too much at school during lunch - they get fat from eating chips and drinking pop while at home. Too much government in this case.

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corngo4rOct. 14, 12 5:56 AM

Kudos lady luck. If the kids want to eat junk let them make the first choice by selecting to pack from home where they can choose to pack healthy, junk or whatever they want. Secondly, if the kids are given chance more than likely they will choose the pizza over the fruits and veggies, that is why they took corn syrup machines out of the schools. Lastly, for good weight management is to have your calories in consistent amounts over multiple times a day. And that starts with a good breakfast which I am sure lots of kids skip or are out the door with a pop tart.

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