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CAMEOSUN SparkPoints: (86,609)
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Posts: 10,425
12/27/13 5:59 P

In our state, not all schools are serving good food. Stale boxed pizza, chicken nugget [little hockey puck things, hard burritos w/dehydrated beans…]. The kids will eat their dessert and toss the rest.

However, back in the day…we had older women cooking our meals [homemade] - nothing processed, boxed garbage, nada…it was excellent.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/27/13 5:49 P

Yeah, fish is on the menu on Friday's quite often at my son's school. His school isn't Catholic either.

I remember the burgers at school and I loved them. I also recall people being 'horrified' that it wasn't even real meat, but soy-based. Soy burgers, yum. I loved them anyway.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,170
12/27/13 4:38 P

ARCHIMEDESII....I still remember my first year 1st grade... of eating lunch in school (we brought our own.)....I went to Catholic school run by Sisters of the Spanish Inquisition...{...just kidding.,,}. We had to eat in silence. And they would walk around the aisles making sure nobody talked and everybody was eating. You ate fast so you could go outside and play.
(maybe that's where I learned to eat so fast...blame the nuns)

but I was a tuna fish addict as a kid....maybe I'm immune to food poisoning

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (191,899)
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Posts: 26,599
12/27/13 4:16 P

When I was in school, back in the Dark Ages (60s/70s), you weren't given a "choice". You ate what was served and some days, you weren't exactly sure what lunch was. Example, chicken stew. I know what chicken looks and tastes like. I don't know what those rubbery cubes floating in that cream sauce were. But I can assure you, they weren't chicken !!! It was mystery meat as far as all the students were concerned.

Beef stew at least looked like beef stew. the green veggie was usually corn, peas or carrots. School lunch wasn't that dreadful, but we didn't have things like chicken wraps. We had a set menu that was carved into stone. Every Friday we had fish sticks with peas and carrots. We weren't even a Catholic school ! but we had fish sticks every Friday up until 8th grade. That's when the option of pizza was added.

I'll admit it, I get a little nostalgic for those fish stick lunches. Some days my mom would send me to school with a tuna sandwich. And like lots of people, that tuna sandwich sat IN my desk from 830am until 1130am when we had lunch. I didn't get food poisoning because the mayo was unrefrigerated for at least 3-4 hours.

oh, BTW, school lunches cost $.25 back in the day. High school is when I saw my first salad bar as part of the lunch program.

Edited by: ARCHIMEDESII at: 12/27/2013 (16:49)
KIMMAS82 Posts: 746
12/27/13 4:12 P

"Hunger is a great flavor enhancer." Sheryl, that is the best line I've heard in a while!!

My daughter started HS this year and until reading this post, I've not looked at their lunch menu. Just did and it's not encouraging. Here's a sample for the first three weeks of January:

Chicken Patty or Chicken Buffalo Wrap
Beefy Nachos or Mr. Rib (what is a Mr. Rib???)
Pasta w/Meat Sauce or Chicken Patty
Chicken Nuggets or Corn Dog
Mr. Rib (again?? Popular guy!!) or Walking Taco
Cheeseburger or Macoroni and Cheese
Beefy Nachos or Hot Dog
Cheesy Breadsticks or Hot Ham and Cheese
Chicken Nuggets of Mr. Rib (again??)
Chicken Patty or Grilled Cheese
Quesadiall or Cheeseburger Macaroni
Beefy Nachos or Cheeseburger

In addition there are "Everyday Choices" which include Salad, Sandwich, Wrap and Pizza. And the menu states that "A minimum of 6 fresh fruits and vegetables are available for lunch daily."

MOM2ACAT SparkPoints: (190,535)
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Posts: 30,457
12/27/13 3:49 P

From kindergarten through 8th grade, (way back in the 70's) I went to a small Lutheran school. We had a hot lunch program; it was very rare that a student brought their own lunch. We had a very good cook, a very sweet woman who was a grandmother; she and her assistants made much of the food from scratch, and it was very good.

When I started high school, it was a public school, and the quality of the hot lunches was not as good; there was a lot more processed food. I either carried my lunch to school, or went to my aunt's house for my lunch, since we were allowed to leave the school grounds on our lunch hour, and she lived across the street from the school.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,170
12/26/13 6:20 P

ObiesMom...I have to say I know adults that eat that way. It is as if everywhere they go, they pick the unhealthy choices over the better ones...unless they have changed their mindset. I know adults that shy away from any kind of veggie as if it were poison. But I bet if they were hungry enough and that was all that was available ... they would eat it.
The other issue is a lot of kids come home to an empty house and are on their own until the parents get they snack on junk (if available) and then they don't eat Real food when dinner comes because they are full on the garbage. Hunger is a great flavor enhancer.

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 12/26/2013 (18:21)
OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (229,144)
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Posts: 14,588
12/26/13 5:03 P

true, Sheryl. My nephew's favorite after school snack has always been raw veggies and ranch dressing. And he LOVES salad. Sure, he eats some junk. But he does like healthy food.

I dated a guy when I was in my early 20s. He would eat: pizza w/ground beef, steak, hamburgers, fries. That's IT. I don't know how in the world he didn't get bored, but we dated for almost 2 years and that's all he ever ate. If none of those items were available, he just didn't eat.

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,170
12/26/13 4:20 P

I don't have kids ... but
of the kids I am close to ...the earlier you teach them how to eat healthy, the more they are willing to make those choices on their own. When kids are given the choices of junk, a lot of them will go for it. The interesting thing is when you compare our western culture to Asian culture....their kids are very willing to go for the fruits and veggies because that is their natural way of eating.

BLUENOSE63 SparkPoints: (108,021)
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Posts: 2,954
12/26/13 4:07 P

My son prefers to make his lunch yet his school only offers hot lunch on Fridays wherein they pick everything at the beginning of the year. It is a treat to have Hot Lunch, not a normal way of life.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/26/13 2:41 P

Haha, corn with pizza, yep. Seems to be the norm.

At least corn is one of the selections my kid will actually eat.

LADYCJM SparkPoints: (57,456)
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Posts: 2,545
12/26/13 12:51 P

Yes, they have really changed!
If the school takes federal "lunch money", they have to follow the guidelines which include certain amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc.

I think the meals are a little healthier but the question is how to get kids to eat the healthier foods?

FAMILY7771 SparkPoints: (1,301)
Fitness Minutes: (480)
Posts: 12
12/26/13 12:08 P

I work in a cafeteria. Our recipes have changed for the more frying and wheat bread...but the school still sells candy and snacks to raise money. Seems like we're fighting a losing battle.

SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
12/26/13 10:49 A

I volunteer in school cafeteria, whichever school I'm sent for the day K-12. Something healthy is served along with the pizza or whatever else is being served. Most of raw veggies, fruit and untouched items left uneaten is returned to kitchen, rewrapped, to be redistributed to other children.. portions need to be exact measure so very small amount of food to kids. The area I serve to is poor and school lunch is some childrens only meal for the day. Some of the older kids skip lunch and go to Wendy's or Burger King after school for a "double", fries and coke.

12/26/13 10:07 A

At my school (elementary grades 1-6) I have seen a rise in "packers" and in those lunches I see many bad choices....way too many.

OBIESMOM2 SparkPoints: (229,144)
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Posts: 14,588
12/26/13 9:54 A

I don't recall ever eating school lunches. Once I got to high school, I didn't even go in the cafeteria. The smell made me feel sick.
I made sure my lunch time class was as a teacher's aide. I either ran errands off campus for the teacher and ate while I was out, or stayed in their room with my lunch from home.

and why did they always serve corn as a side with pizza???

12/26/13 9:48 A

Same here -- when I was little, the hot lunches were really good and well balanced. Agree that it is hard to get kids to eat fruits and veggies, but they are more likely to eat and enjoy them if they are cooked properly and offered in unique recipes. For instance, apples always got thrown out, but most kids would eat fruit cocktail or fruit salads. Carrot strips were never a favorite either, but carrots cooked and mixed with corn were not a problem with most kids. Involving kids with planning their own lunch menus and recipes for lunch foods also helps them to be more interested.

I, generally, always made lunches myself. One day, one of my daughters told me that the cafeteria was offering large pretzels with cheese dipping sauce for a lunch option. She got it, and the pretzel was moldy on the bottom. Can you believe that first, they would offer this high-carb option with fake cheese, let alone serve a small child rotten food? Complaints were filed against the restaurant staff (a contracted local business), and it was later found out that they were skimming a lot of money off the top of what was suppose to go to the food itself. I was glad to see the school let them go and found another company to take their place. The food got better, but I continued to just pack lunches.

ANDILH Posts: 1,543
12/25/13 10:37 P

Because so many schools serve food prepared off-site by the time the food gets to the kids, the hot food is cold or the cold food is gross. My friend's daughter's k-8 building has food delivered from somewhere more than 2 hours away. How fresh can their food really be?
The kids I nanny for attend a school in a well to do area which is fairly concerned about offering nutritious foods. They were offering fresh fruits, vegetables, and vegetarian options long before it was required. These kids seem to eat the fresh stuff for the most part, although the kids I nanny for take lunch from home everyday. Their lunches consist of healthy, tasty, edible foods that the kids always enjoy.
While I appreciate the ideas behind serving more nutritious foods to children, if the kids won't eat it, it's not helpful. However, if the schools work to incorporate knowledge about good eating habits the fresh food tends to go over better.

JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (524,575)
Fitness Minutes: (331,607)
Posts: 14,484
12/25/13 12:33 A

I know, school lunches have changed a lot!!!!

12/24/13 11:28 P

School lunches today are a business revenue source and not about educating kids on nutrition. The older the kids, the more free are the choices. Our high school puts several hundred kids through the lunch line every day, we do not allow kids "off campus" as others do. They can enter one of six food lines: cold sandwiches, 2x pizza, salads, regular hot lunch, a la carte. Most schools also have multiple vending machines, and our school also has a culinary program which operates a restaurant during school hours. Do not expect nutritional education to come from this source, it is not their goal or expectation.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/24/13 7:28 P

I always got nutritious food at home. But left to my own vices, I still ate junk. Maybe I ate so much junk when my mom wasn't around because I was never allowed it at home. Who knows.

EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
12/24/13 5:36 P

Ditto on school lunches being cooked on site when I was in elementary school, at least. We just ate whatever they cooked.

Had choices in junior high but that was a pretty new idea back then (lol, no spring chicken here) and the choices were for things like hot dogs or tacos, etc., probably which were much healthier than the processed things now available under those categories.

In high school, the campus was open and we wandered wherever we wanted for lunch. I mostly just took long walks to get out of there lol. Pretty much the same way I live nowadays, taking long walks to get outta someplace.

LOLA_LALA Posts: 659
12/24/13 5:19 P

School lunches were actually cooked on-site when I was a kid, too. It was pretty simple back then: Fred Flintstone would just club the daily brontosaurus and we'd enjoy Dino-Fingers for lunch. Good eats!

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,070
12/24/13 5:17 P

When I was in school we had a salad bar. I remember I would get pasta and ranch dressing. Not my mom's fault, she tried so hard to teach me about nutrition.

MISSSVJS SparkPoints: (39,625)
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Posts: 1,388
12/24/13 4:47 P

When I was in school (and I know I'm probably dating myself here), the cooks actually COOKED instead of heating stuff up like most do now. We had good meals, although we complained about them. We always had delicious homemade rolls, often had delicious chili and homemade cinnamon rolls - I remember rarely ever having pizza (when we did it was a special treat) or any of the other junk that many schools serve now. Most of the cooks in our school were farm wives who knew how to cook and they did!

Unfortunately, most kids nowadays don't get nutritious food at home so they have no idea what nutritious food is and don't have a taste for it, which is why so much food is wasted in schools. It's too bad, but unfortunately society has set them up for failure with all of the processed foods available in grocery stores and the drive-throughs at the fast food restaurants. I'm not sure what the answer is - ideally it's having parents who care enough to take the time to prepare proper meals, but that's likely not going to happen.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/24/13 3:02 P

Yes, schools are required now to offer healthy options. And I think it's great. Sadly, though, many of the kids don't eat them.

At least the schools are trying.

ZZYYGGY3 Posts: 2,291
12/24/13 2:15 P

I don't have kids but I sometimes look at the local lunch menus for ideas. They do look a lot better then the good ole days when I had lunch, and catsup was considered a vegetable lol, but kids will eat what they like unfortunately, and when the parents aren't around they do chose the bad stuff unless they were brought up with good eating habits. My neices and nephews who are of school age say they eat the healthy stuff because that's how they were brought up.

MLEHTO Posts: 734
12/24/13 2:15 P

I frequently ate hot lunch when I was in elementary school, mom just wasn't into packing a lunch. I ate what was served as I was a member of the "clean plate club" (hence my weight problem but that's another story.) I didn't necessarily like it, but I ate it. When I got to junior high and high school I ate what I wanted which was usually junk.

These days I think schools are required to offer certain items such as vegetables and fruit regardless of whether or not the kids eat them.

LYNNIEV Posts: 394
12/24/13 2:00 P

Not just since I went to school, but over the last couple of years alone. For the better, of course, but there's a sad ending to these menus. Here are a couple of examples from my son's lunch menu:

Turkey and ham wrap
Green beans
Baby carrots and hummus

Orange chicken
Black beans
Carrot sticks
Fortune cookie

They still serve things like pizza, hamburgers and breaded chicken sandwiches, but even those selections are served with things like spinach and romaine salad, celery sticks, green pepper strips, grape tomatoes, broccoli and also sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. Now the sad part - a family member works in the school cafeteria and says it's heartbreaking to see how much of the healthy stuff that comes back to the kitchen. The kids eat the burgers and the pizza and the orange chicken and even the wraps, but the fruits and vegetables are rarely touched. She says she's glad that our school is serving healthful foods to the kids, but almost feels it's a waste of time, effort and money because more than half the kids don't even eat it.

Nice idea, but it's not really working.

I'm sure there are some kids who eat the stuff, but if more than half of the fruits and vegetables go back to the kitchen and ends up thrown away, how can it be profitable? That seems like an awful lot of wasted food to me. The kids also have the choice of picking another item to replace one they don't want and the selections are bags of chips, Pop Tarts, cookies and I can't recall what else. According to Cheryl, 6 or 7 out of 10 kids will choose the chips to replace the vegetable and cookies to replace the fruit. Bananas are also available most days, thank goodness. It's a fruit most kids will eat.

My son can buy his lunch twice a week and the rest of the week I pack it. He can choose two days and he usually chooses the days that offer things he'll actually eat, like the tossed salads and carrot sticks, which he loves. Any other days, I know he'll choose chips over broccoli.

When I was in school (high and vocational) we had ala carte every day. The main course changed daily, but some things were offered all the time and I remember what my lunch consisted of - a plate of french fries with ketchup. Every. Single. Day. My mom loved cooking and always made great, nutritious homemade meals. But when I was on my own, I ate junk.

What are your kids' school lunches like? And what did you eat in school when you had your choice of items?

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