July 23, 2006
A Healthier Cafeteria for Everybody
Many school districts are taking concerns about food allergies and poor eating habits together and developing healthier menus in the school cafeteria and in the classroom.
Many a district's primary concern is food allergies, with peanuts being at the top of the list due to its well-known serious reactions.
And what's a party without a few of mom's homemade cupcakes? If parents want to bring in a plate of brownies or cupcakes for Harvest Day (aka Thanksgiving where we are still able to give thanks), then at least include a list of the ingredients. And here's a hint: peanuts shouldn't be on the list. From a parent's standpoint, I still wouldn't want my child to eat the homemade treat. Mistakes happen and that's just life.
I would rather see parents provide packaged goodies instead, so that teachers can check for food-allergens on the ingredient list.
High-fat snack foods such as chips and processed baked goods are being replaced by baked chips, granola bars and fruit snacks.
And what about soda? In our over-sugared, over-caffinated culture, its no wonder kids in the U.S. are so heavy. Why not just bottled water in the classroom, and water and fruit juices in vending machines at lunch? We should do this because it would benefit the students - both allergic and non-allergic.
Some districts have a wellness committee that includes school board members or administrators, a district food service representative, parents, students and community members. Many districts have gotten a head start. Food service managers and dietitians have been adding healthier foods in cafeterias and vending machines. Students, teachers and parents are being encouraged to change the kind of treats offered at classroom parties and sold in fund-raising events.
We should all be committed to developing healthier food choices and school officials can work alongside teachers and parents to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Posted by David at July 23, 2006 3:20 PM