No good deed goes unpunished
In the first couple of weeks of the new school year, I, along with some other parent volunteers, stood in the lunch lines and helped the kids make “healthy choices”. I aptly named myself the “Fruit & Veggie Pusher” because, we all know the healthy choices were just getting more (or any for that matter) fruits and vegetables on those kids’ plates. The school lunch provider (corporate lame processed food broker) now give the kids the choice to take “as many” vegetables or fruits as they’d like (while they’re in line, but can’t go back for more) and usually doesn’t actually serve them to the kids. The children can pick out individual containers (or none at all) of the “healthy choice” stuff. Now, at the end of each line is a prominently displayed case of snack foods. I think it’s ridiculous that they have snacks at lunch.
Do you know how many kids I saw not eat their healthier foods and go get 2-4 bags of chips every day? Too many! These are empty calories that will just make most people fat. They provide no nutritional value, but there they are… at $1 a pop for the kids to buy (if their parents haven’t put restrictions on their accounts). these kids eaten enough food to go on for the rest of the day? Well, not if they’re not taking the fruits and vegetables. And then there are those kids who are already too big and they certainly don’t need any more calories, empty or not. I know that a lot of parents think that give the kids the choice and they’ll learn to make the right decisions. Well, not always.
Studies show that even adults make poor eating decisions and will overeat more often than not, and will take junk even when they’re not hungry. (Read Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink) Anyway, my kids aren’t allowed to buy the snack foods at school. I just wish it wasn’t allowed in schools in the first place. Because I feel that other parents, if aware of their children’s real eating habits and what the snack foods will do in the long run, they wouldn’t want their kids eating them as well. They care about their kids, they want them to be happy and grow up healthy. And, I’m not saying I don’t buy these snack foods occasionally, but I certainly don’t want my kids eating them daily, and especially in place of real food. So, I just seem I’m just on a rant at times… until I found out what a real rant is one day.
On Fridays the kids get ice cream. Many look forward all week to that treat. My kids are actually allowed to buy one; it’s only once a week. Anyway in our first week one parent volunteer asked me about the frozen desserts that were displayed (they weren’t ice creams). They were artificially colored, flavored stuff and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The mom thought that the food service provider had stopped using HFCS. So, when the Food Service Director (FSD) came in, I asked him about them along with numerous other things. It was one of the only things he acted on. He got rid of them, in between service. If it had been me, I would’ve sold them and then not bought anymore, but I’m not in charge.
Anyway, the following week when there was no ice cream or any other frozen treats I asked the woman in charge of the kitchen why not. She said because of the HFCS stuff taken away last week that they can’t buy them. I reminded her (since I was there during it all) that they could buy stuff that wasn’t sweetened with HFCS (I can’t get the artificial colors banned yet). “Well, I just got a list today” was her response. Well, no biggie, I thought. Ha-ha! Until the gym teacher came in. She was screaming at me, “why isn’t there any ice cream?!!” I told her that when the FSD came in last week that he got rid of them because of the HFCS. Then I told her to ask the women that worked there about it because she kept on about it. A few minutes later she came back out and got right in my face yelling, “Who says they can’t have high fructose corn syrup?! Is this a government ban?! Is it the FDA?! As a parent I want to know!!” For goodness sakes, she’s one of the ones teaching our kids’ health and nutrition. I tried to calmly tell her that it was most likely the Food Service Provider’s decision, but it may be because of the USDA’s health guidelines. I tried to tell her that they can buy real ice cream and that there is all natural pudding there. Oy. I’ve always liked this woman, and I was quite shocked at how she treated me. I wasn’t there to get rid of the ice cream. I was trying to get the kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. I would like the snack foods out, but I haven’t pushed on that yet. I really want to do good for the children. One girl’s lunch with mostly healthy choices (she ate the scrambled egg first).