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CHOWE6 SparkPoints: (7,012)
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6/29/13 4:02 P

While I agree that parents are the primary examples and guides of our children's eating habits, I've been frustrated with our schools for making snacks and a la carte available even at the elementary school level. I can send in a nutritious meal or money for lunch and talk to my kids about healthy choices, but after that, I can't control them. Nor will the school's staff.

I've complained to paid and elected school board officials, all say that the money the cafeterias' earn from the snacks and a la carte offerings keep the lunches affordable.

I'm lucky that at least one of my children prefers to bring his own lunch, but he's also the child who naturally prefers healthy and nutritious options. My oldest, I can't control at all. He makes his own money and chooses to put it into his stomach at the high school. (Fortunately, he's very athletic and burns all the empty calories.) My daughter is more controllable, but prefers to buy her lunches ... which I tracked for awhile. While the meals met the federal guidelines for calories, fat, protein, sodium and carbs, they fell far short of the other RDA for vitamins and minerals.

So I think placing guidelines on snacks and drinks sold in the schools is the first step in the right direction. I would like to see the next step of more vitamins and nutrients in the prepared meals.

THINJIM1 Posts: 3,030
6/29/13 12:00 P

It all starts at home, that need to be a junk-food free zone

ANARIE Posts: 13,200
6/29/13 11:48 A

"Making the healthier choice the EASIER choice is a good thing."

And as for the "Nanny state" argument-- you might have a point if the law said you can't send your kid to school with a MoonPie and a Dr. Pepper for lunch. It doesn't. It just says that the school, which the government is required to run, isn't going to sell those things. If that's an infringement on anyone's liberties, then the fact that Chik-Fil-A is closed on Sundays is a violation of my freedom of religion. Or to bring it back to the school level, if it's a violation of one family's rights that the school doesn't sell Coke, isn't it a violation of other families' rights that they don't provide vegan meals? No, because the vegan family can send food from home, right?

A nanny state tells you that you can't have something. Saying that they're not going to sell questionable foods to your kids, so you can make the decision about whether they eat them, is pretty much the opposite of a nanny state.

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
6/28/13 2:29 P

While I am vehemently opposed to "nanny state", I really don't see this ruling as falling in to line with that.

In my view, I don't want my tax dollars to pay for supplying junk food to kids, knowing that junk food can contribute to them requiring more health assistance in the future, and make it tougher for them to succeed in life. I have no problem with paying for nutritious food that will help them be healthy contributors to society with less potential health issues instead. This isn't a matter of the government forcing good choices - it's a matter of spending my tax dollars wisely.

As for banning junk food in private vending machines that are on school property, well, this is another area where I don't see it as "forcing good choices". I see it more along the lines of "this is on my property, and so I endorse its use". I don't want to see my schools endorsing the use of junk food, and I would find it extremely hypocritical of them to profit from the sales of it on their property.

Now, I'll grant you that I'm from Canada, and so am far more used to the intrusions of the "nanny state" than most Americans emoticon , but I truly don't see this ruling as being along that line.

THERESACHANGED SparkPoints: (39,583)
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6/28/13 2:06 P

I think I am of two minds on the ruling - on one hand - sure, it's great to get (force?) kids to eat healthier. On the other hand - nanny state! That is what scares me - the government forcing "good choices" on the populace.

CORTNEY-LEE SparkPoints: (67,852)
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6/28/13 1:59 P

When I was in school, we didn't have vending machines. We had one soda machine by the gym that was only turned on during after school sporting events.

Once we were in Jr. High and High School, most of the girls didn't eat lunch. We got a drink (iced t in a carton) or we brought something like an apple from home, but never, ever ate school lunch. School lunch was reserved for boys, poor kids, and the girls that played sports. The rest of us didn't eat.

I still stand by the fact that school lunch is not making our children obese, but rather the internet, Xbox, and the overly competitive nature of school sports is more of a contributor than school lunch.

I think healthy choices are a good thing though, and feel that they should be made available but not forced.

Edited by: CORTNEY-LEE at: 6/28/2013 (14:00)
CHELHART SparkPoints: (4,110)
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6/28/13 1:35 P

Another point I want to make is that there is a large variety of nutritional needs within a school system, especially as kids hit puberty. Some kids develop earlier than others. Some kids are at their adult size in middle school while others don't get there until after they graduate from high school. A high school boy who has football practice right after school needs more food than a high school girl who is going home to study (no gender stereotypes...just trying to make a point about caloric needs). Some schools serve more affluent communities where some schools have most of their students on free or reduced lunches. A high school student might be perfectly happy to peel his or her own orange, while the elementary students need their orange cut into quarters (which would make a younger child more likely to eat the fruit). Again, I'm all for healthy choices, but we need to be very careful about how we go about it. I've seen where efforts to make things healthier have back-fired due to lack of attention to certain details.

We also need to make sure we are providing GOOD education to both professional and non-professional staff in the schools (we coulds suggest they join SparkPeople!). Also make sure to share with school staff the research that is out there regarding the effects that a child's diet has on his/her behavior and academic performance. If I worked in the schools and I knew that a better diet would make my students behave better, I would be much more likely to be on board with the program.

CLRWILLIAMS25 SparkPoints: (34,625)
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6/28/13 11:20 A

Interesting topic. When I was in high school (not quite 10 years ago), we had a soda machine and a vending machine on the first floor, but not near the cafeteria. The vending machines would only work in the morning an afternoon, but not during class hours.
I don't really like the thought that the government is regulating food options, but the way it is going now, something has to change. I also agree that if kids want snacky items, they will get them. School doesn't need to be the avenue for that.

SANDICANE Posts: 3,400
6/28/13 10:00 A

Super idea...schools being a "junk free zone"! The things we enjoy to eat as children, often follow us all our lives....

EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
6/28/13 9:59 A

I think it is great that new rules are being implemented to make school a junk food free zone, but honestly I am somewhat opposed to an open campus policy where kids (including high school) can leave during the day without having to be picked up by a parent or guardian. A closed campus system is much safer overall, in my opinion. So I think campuses should be closed and actually guarded from kids coming and going as well as strangers coming on campus, and as a trade off, offer more on campus freedom for the kids and more culinary choices, even some we might not think are so healthy.

BLUENOSE63 SparkPoints: (108,021)
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6/28/13 7:25 A

In Canada we have very strict nutritional guidelines at the elementary level regarding "hot lunches". The ruling agency gives each school 10 "FUN" days wherein the kids can have hot dogs etc.....we use this for our big fundraising events at school as well. Now for the High School , you know they do what they can....removing vending machines etc yet kids will go off campus to get what they want and they. I think that the premise is by instilling different food values ie. good nutrition at elementary school; it may perhaps carry over to High School. I applaud this as it is an action and it does the best it can at the high school level. The cafeteria in a high school brings in a huge amount of profit for the school......

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,485
6/28/13 7:10 A

LOVESLIFE13 ....regarding new recipes

I realize that the cafeteria staff follows procedure, but my point is that the entire system should cooperate to find a solution to getting kids to eat healthy, and if improving cafeteria recipes to make them more acceptable is needed, then so be it. I'm sure there are plenty of studies already out there that have a good idea on what healthy items are accepted by most kids. I'm sure that vendors would be more than willing to follow nutrition and school administration specifications for a chance at school contracts.
The system gets better when people work towards finding solutions.

TREV1964 Posts: 5,115
6/28/13 4:48 A

Schools are places of learning. In promoting junk food they teach kids that eating this stuff is OK. In effect they are sewing the seeds of later life obesity. In banning junk food from schools the results are not instant but will be seen over the next two generations. It is the right way to go even though it is at the moment met with a lot of hostility.

KAYAHSLOANE1 Posts: 10,527
6/28/13 4:46 A

I graduated high school in the late 80's I don't recall having vending machines in high school. We had nutrition period before 3rd period classes. You could buy cookies, candy and the like then and even during lunch time. I don't recall lunches being all that appetizing or healthy but I brought my lunch some days depending on the menu. I don't eat hot dogs, hamburgers, pork or anything like that so I would bring my lunch those days. Usually salad, sandwiches or things that would hold up well. I usually brought my own water bottle and had tea. I ate good for breakfast and dinner so I did alright. A lot of time my best friend would eat my lunch with me because she didn't care for the offerings in the cafeteria or the other choices given. (Her mom was a horrible cook. I know cause I had food poisoning that lasted 3 days lol.)

I don't understand why this wasn't implemented a long time ago though. The obesity epidemic in this country is pretty tragic. Children don't need to be eating king sized candy bars, sugar laden soda or energy drinks, giant cookies, big bags of potato chips every day sometimes 2-3 times a day etc...Never mind the state of how the cafeteria serves the food to the children in public schools a lot of the time! Not sure if the diet drink option is any better. Water or flavoured waters, low sugar yogurts, granola bars, cut up fruits would be the better alternative.

If this helps improve the eating choices at school I'm all for it. Serving salads, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, good dairy, and the like I'm all for since there are a lot of poor children in this country who eat horribly at home.

MOMMY115 Posts: 48
6/28/13 12:32 A

We've become junk food addicts. Kids have enough opportunities to eat junk outside of school. Maybe healthier choices in the school machines (juices, bottled water, granola bars, etc.) would be a small start for kids to recognize that they don't need so much junk in their diet. If pot was legal, would we provide that in school?

JANIEWWJD SparkPoints: (588,894)
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6/27/13 11:53 P

It's good that there's not too much junk food in the machines, but let's not go over board.

ANDILH Posts: 1,543
6/27/13 11:12 P

I'm with Chelhart on this one. We had vending machines in my high school (graduated 2000), however they were only available for use after school. My school is in a very rural area with absolutely nothing but homes and farms for more than 10 miles in any direction so there were no options to go somewhere else. However, the vending machines slowly began adding things that had more sugar than soda, even though they were supposedly healthier than soda. Also, why diet drinks specifically? Why are artificial sweeteners suddenly okay?
I agree that children need healthier options available to them to enable them to make better choices. However when some schools and states count ketchup with a hot lunch as a vegetable, there is still a long way to go. I never ate at school, and when staying after school I brought my own snacks because of food sensitivities. Today I nanny for a family who takes lunch to school every day because they are vegetarian. Their schools, in a city of healthy choices, don't offer vegetarian options although their lunches are fairly healthy and well balanced. Most kids in their schools carry around reusable water bottles. However, I don't think schools are at fault for this one. Often the districts make the deals with the vending companies so individual schools generally have little say.
I disagree with rules such as this one on principle because I don't believe that the personal lives of adults and the minor children they are responsible for should be as closely governed as this. On the flip side, I also know that sometimes a kick is needed to help people move in a better direction. I wish there were a better compromise.

LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 9:44 P

We can,'t do new recipes , they are government run. I saw that show

Edited by: LOVESLIFE48 at: 6/28/2013 (07:52)
SHERYLDS Posts: 17,485
6/27/13 9:39 P

I don't want to hit a nerve but when Jaime Oliver did his show THE FOOD REVOLUTION he got a tremendous amount of resistance from the cafeteria staff, the school administration, and the district supervisors, because people don't like change. ...and everyone passed the buck.

If the overwhelming opinion from the kids is that they don't like the taste,
maybe people should listen and try a different recipe.
If the majority doesn't eat certain foods,
then people who order the food should find healthy alternatives.

If everyone starts cooperating solutions are possible...and will reap the benefits and get better headstarts in life. A lot of kids from all over the world eat what is given to them...and many have diets far healthier than our kids...even with our abundance.

HAPPYTUHA SparkPoints: (16,381)
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6/27/13 9:38 P


LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 9:32 P

We still have fries. We bake them. We have regular , sweet potato, and tater tots.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 9:22 P

But this legislation impacts only the "junk food choices" in the schools, i.e. full-sugar sports drinks, pop, candy, and "junk" items on the cafeteria menu like french fries. It won't impact the delivery of non-junk food... so again I say, if your school is already "doing it right" then you probably won't notice a change at all, as a result of this legislation! Just keep doing what you're doing.

When the kids can't just walk down the hall and buy a bag of Doritos, they'll be more likely to eat what you prepare for them without snarking about it being not-what-they-want.

LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 9:12 P

I work in a school cafeteria, for 15 years. We never served junk. The kids ate there lunch before all of the changes. I'm sick of the kids complaining about not getting enough food,the way it taste now and I'm sick of everyone saying the school food is, was so bad!

FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,045
6/27/13 9:11 P

Those were removed awhile ago where we live. My kids don't eat at school. Their choice. They said the food is awful and they prefer a cold lunch. Hmmmmm! I am glad of their choices. Nice though, it's mandatory now!

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 9:04 P

I'm honestly baffled by the hostile reaction towards the mere thought of "taking junk foods out of the schools."

Maybe you don't see the need for it - fair enough. But what would your argument be, for keeping junk foods IN?

JEFFGIRL Posts: 11,265
6/27/13 9:03 P

Schools have a responsibility to offer nutritious food and NOT have unsuitable ones. Parents have the responsibility to check in on what is offered and instruct their children in good foods. It's a win-win situation. I have never understood why schools would not not place a high value on what our children eat. Everyone has children-most everyone, that is.

HAPPYJAY SparkPoints: (17,353)
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6/27/13 9:01 P

sounds great

LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 76,924
6/27/13 8:58 P


SHERYLDS Posts: 17,485
6/27/13 8:56 P

Schools are a big part of a kid's world and they should have healthier options than junk food vending machines and cafeterias that resemble fast food joints. The fact that some parents don't make good choices is sad...but at least providing a healthy school environment should be what our society strives for. And it drives me crazy when people use the excuse that fast food choices are the only food kids will eat. When they don't have junk available to them, and they are hungry, then will eventually learn to eat better choices.

You have to start somewhere to make a difference

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 8:49 P

Then this change in policy shouldn't affect you too much, if the school your child(ren) attends is already doing things well.

LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 8:46 P

There are fruits and vegetables every day.The kids won't eat it!!
I've never seen garbage served at school!!!!

Edited by: LOVESLIFE48 at: 6/27/2013 (20:47)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 8:40 P

I disagree.

I mean sure, parents have a role to play - and a significant one, at that.

But exactly what is a parent supposed to do, when the school lunch is chicken-nuggets and fries and nary a vegetable in sight? How exactly does the parent control a child's use of the school vending machine? And, most tragically, why would a parent expect that school is an UNSAFE environment, NOT providing proper nutrition... many people go on the assumption that school is a nurturing place, that the school environment can be trusted. There is an expectation that the school is part of the POSITIVE influences in a child's life, and not the enemy of the child.

Why should we not expect - demand - that the schools live up to a minimal standard of nutrition when feeding the kids (or the staff for that matter)? Maybe it is up to us to "teach our kids to make the right choices" but then we send them off into an environment devoid of healthy choices? That makes no sense.

I will also note that even if the schools shall be held blameless and the parents shall shoulder the full responsibility for every environment to which their child is exposed from the age of birth to 18..... that is a different topic altogether than the topic of Better Foods In the Schools. Regardless of "responsibility for the child's choice of food" - there is NO justifiable reason why the schools should be offering garbage for free or for sale.

LOVESLIFE48 SparkPoints: (0)
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6/27/13 7:44 P

I'm so sick on hearing about what's being eaten in schools. PARENTS ARE MAKING KIDS FAT!!!! NOT THE SCHOOLS!!!!!

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 5:55 P

" When did it become necessary to have vending machines in schools? And why?"

Well... it is not necessary. BUT the schools, I believe, get a fair bit of revenue from them..... sooooo.... they have been infiltrating the schools bit by bit over the years.... until they have become "the norm."

High school was in the 80's for me. There were no vending machines. If we wanted snacks, we crossed the road to the donut shop at lunch. We couldn't just grab a 400-calorie Gatorades and a Snickers bar while walking between classes. In fact, we weren't allowed to sit in class and consume snack foods? That was what Lunch Break was for....

GARDENDIVA2 Posts: 612
6/27/13 5:36 P

I know that I am old so maybe my memory is gone, but I do not remember having snacks available at school. In Jr High(middle school) we had a school "store" that opened after school once a week and there you could by a candy bar, chips or juice. No soda. In high school I think we had the same but I was never around after school.

We had only one lunch line in Jr High. They served the standard lunch and dessert was jello, pudding, fruit cup and on Fridays they served chocolate cake. However, they only had one dessert per day, not a choice. Milk was the only beverage. White or chocolate in the pint containers.

In high school we had 2 lunch lines. The standard lunch and the ala carte line. In the ala carte line they had what was left over from the prior day and burgers and fries. Desserts and beverages were the same as Jr High.

We had drinking fountains but no vending machines. When did it become necessary to have vending machines in schools? Any why? I guess I just do not see the purpose.

07SOJO Posts: 1,652
6/27/13 5:35 P

Interesting. I think it will help not to eat the junk food when it's not readily available to buy/eat.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 5:21 P

When my son was in elementary school, the Parent's Advisory group got it in their heads to offer Healthy Foods at events like sports day and other community-bbq events.

They came up against a wall of criticism... "the kids LIKE hot dogs!!! and it's the summer bbq, what's a bbq without hot dogs!!!!" sooooooo they compromised, and agreed to serve hot dogs (in whole-wheat buns) AS WELL AS offering up ham-cheese-lettuce sandwiches. The naysayers predicted they'd be throwing out a lot of ham sandwiches....

Wrong. The kids saw the boiling vat of weiners... and then beside that, a display of nicely wrapped yummy looking homemade sandwiches... and they totally snapped them up. They ran out of sandwiches.

So much for our adult-understanding of what kids "want" ??

SHERYLDS Posts: 17,485
6/27/13 4:24 P

I curious what the 'Maverick' Sarah Palin is going to do with this one.
I remember when Michelle Obama was pushing for healthy foods and Sarah Palin criticized proposed school nutrition guidelines in Pennsylvania (Nov 2010) which would limit the sweets allowed for classroom and holiday parties at school, and which would encourage parents to serve more healthy snacks like fruits or vegetables.

Zip it Sarah

And I hope this starts a new push for better dietary school lunch guidelines that are nutritionally based instead of budget based.

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 6/27/2013 (16:26)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
6/27/13 3:52 P

I applaud that decision.

I realize that some will argue "the kids will just get the junk they want anyways; they'll just leave school property and buy it at the convenience store" - and that may well be true - BUT at least they'll have to work a little for it, it won't be *right in their faces* all day every day.

Making the healthier choice the EASIER choice is a good thing. It's like an extension of the idea that we should "remove cookies from our home cupboards and make sure healthy snacks like carrot sticks are prepared and easy to grab in the fridge." This makes it easier to make the healthier choice... so the healthier choice will be made more often.

I also feel that when the *school* offers food (i.e. in the cafeteria, in the hot lunch program) that sort of ascribes the food with "health" right there (i mean, surely the SCHOOL will give the children healthy food? the SCHOOL isn't going to give them garbage cheap junk crap?) and this has perhaps contributed to the acceptance of certain foods as "healthy" that really don't deserve the "healthy" label (yes, chicken nuggets and frozen french fries, i'm looking at you).

CHELHART SparkPoints: (4,110)
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6/27/13 3:45 P

Overall, I agree with that decision. HOWEVER, I think they need to be careful what "replacements" go into those machines. Back when my brother was in high school (he graduated 2010), they had taken out soda, but "replaced" with juice and those flavored milks...which actually had more calories and sugar than soda. I'd be in favor of Sprite Zero, flavored waters (Dasani Lemon is good!), Propel fitness water, etc. I'm just afraid they'll replace candy bars with those over-processed apple things McDonalds now puts in Happy Meals, etc. Just saying.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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6/27/13 3:43 P


SHERYLDS Posts: 17,485
6/27/13 3:38 P

High-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines as soon as next year, replaced with diet drinks, granola bars and other healthier items.

The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation's 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day.

That includes snacks sold around the school and foods on the "a la carte" line in cafeterias, which never have been regulated before. The new rules, proposed in February and made final this week
to read more-- click below


thank you Jamie Oliver

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 6/27/2013 (15:40)
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