In an effort to curb childhood obesity, the New York school system banned most baked goods. The ban includes fundraising and was communicated to parents in June though it`s become a hot topic as the impact to the schools, teams and intramural groups is felt much stronger. Apparently California has done a lot of this in the past.
The original memo is here.
It`s easy to pick things apart and simply protest. When I first read about this, my reaction was decisive. I`ve had a chance to count to 3, hold my breath and consider the intent and understand more about what they are trying to accomplish.
Where I continue to struggle is the two main areas children receive food in school (other than from home): the vending machine and the cafeteria.
Vending machines have a new supplier and schools must procure their snacks from them. The options will include calorie-controlled portions, baked chip-like products, sugar-free granola and the like. Commercially produced products with `regulated` calorie counts are considered more favourable than homemade food for health. If we are concerned with such limits why not educate students (and their families), how to calculate calories and portions of their recipes. Think of the life lessons, impact on family diet and learning that could occur in math, science and health around all of this. Why can we not hold home chefs accountable to the same standards we apply to commercial producers of food?
When we message that prepackaged food is the only safe way to control caloric, fat and sugar intake, we are in trouble.
The cafeteria also leaves me wanting. If you were studying in Manhattan this month and a member of the Junior High School or High School Trend lunch menu, you could eat the following diet over the 23-days of March:
- 9 days of hamburgers
- 11 days of pizza
- More choices include tacos, mozzarella sticks, fish nuggets, and chicken tenders.
You can browse all of the school menus here.
It all reminds me of Jamie`s Schhol Dinners (Jamie Oliver) from the UK: