School Lunches

.. ld in school during the rest of the day. Some schools as an alternative to vending machines offer ala carte consisting of potato chips, low fat and regular ice cream, snack cakes, granola bars, cookies, pretzels, hi-c drinks, and flavored waters (The 57).

These are only offered after children have been given an adequate time to eat the regular school lunch provided for them (Williams). Schools make money on the sale of candy and other foods sold in the machines and during ala carte.This money then supports school programs (McCarty 4). There are better ways for schools to fund extra programs. Unhealthy food choices could be replaced by healthy choices. This could include items such as yogurt, fruit, apple sauce, and other healthy foods (Hunter 8).

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This is more important to the childrens health then for the profit of junk food companies.The Fairfax County, Virginia School district, takes in more than $3,000 a week from vending machines stocked with healthy choices and fruit juices (Why 28). National School Lunch Program requires school food authorities to promote activities to involve students and parents in the school lunch program.

Such activities may include menu planning, enhancement of the eating environment, program promotion, and related student community support activities (Menu 8). There is a whole body of research that has determined that giving a child a good breakfast provides one-third of the energy requirements for the day and has beneficial effects on intellectual performance, social interactions, and energy levels at schools. Breakfast is an excellent opportunity for children to eat a significant portion of their daily nutritional requirements, and youngsters who eat breakfast tend to have a better nutritional intake over the course of the day (Feeding 156-157). Children whose lives are impeded by hunger and poor nutrition are not ready to learn. Schools need to provide quality nutritional content in school menus through the food service program (Sherman 18). They also need properly staffed personnel that are trained in the current body of nutritional knowledge (Florida).

All foods that are available to students should be consistent with recommended dietary allowances and dietary guidelines.When consumed, they contribute to the development of lifelong, healthy eating habits (Menu). School nutrition is also an essential portion of health education and should be connected into other health related curriculum in schools.

Dynamic classroom presentations and curriculum teach children that the same foods that are best for their bodies, are also best for the planet (Bricklin 47). Nutritional education includes a minimum knowledge on dietary guidelines, the food pyramid, and an understanding of product labeling. Although many children will continue choosing old favorites, increased choices will afford them a better chance to achieve a healthier diet.The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a new food pyramid to guide school classrooms and cafeterias to nutritional daily food choices. Starting with plenty of breads, cereals, rice, and pasta, vegetables, fruits, two to three servings from the dairy group and meat group provides some, but not all of the nutrients you need (Menu 9).

No one food group is more important than another. Good health requires them all.Nutritional education also develops critical thinking skills. This skill provides support for all nutritional information and assists individuals in making appropriate food choices. Good nutrition is a critical component of overall wellness(Center). It improves childrens nutritional status and helps to increase their overall physical, mental, and developmental health. It will improve school performance and overall cognitive development.

Eating healthy early on, helps children develop good habits that will stick with them and undoubtedly lower their risk of heart disease in the long run(Kowalski 29).In the short run, a nutritious diet will positively affect performance in school work. To meet the requirements of the National School Lunch Program, a school lunch must contain a specified quantity of each of the food components such as meat or meat alternate, vegetable or fruit, bread or grain, and milk (Menu 12). The current pattern of food based menus for school lunches has changed from the past. The meat requirement was three ounces, but now is two. Fruit and vegetable requirements have raised from cups to one cup, the bread and grain requirements changed from eight servings per week to 12 to 15 servings per week and a minimum of one serving per day (Menu 14).Students claim that school lunches are lukewarm, tasteless, and soggy (Sherman 18).

The government needs to recognize the importance of providing high quality foods that promotes health in both the short and long term. Today the National School Lunch Program is an atherogenic atrocity, contributing to future heart disease (Menu 6). The educational system needs to modify fat, sodium, cholesterol, and sugar levels in the commodities donated to the schools for lunches and to teach students good nutrition in the classroom.

The menu is the focal point of the school lunch and breakfast programs. It is the basis to have ultimate satisfaction of students appetites. Abstract School lunches and breakfasts have been in schools since 1946 when the National School Lunch Act was established.The program was started to ensure the safeguard of the health and well being of children.

It was designed for the means of three things: to provide nutritious and reasonably priced lunches to school children, contributes to a better understanding of good nutrition, and teaches good food habits. The school food service has become a basic part of the nations schools. The national government needs to realize the importance of school meals and what they contribute to children. Bibliography Works Cited Bricklin, Mark.Fixing the School Lunch Crisis. Prevention (April 1994): 47-48.

Brus, Brian. Free Lunches Offer Chance for Problems. The Daily Oklahoma July 5, 1995: 1.Cornell University. New School Lunches. Healthwise September 14, 1996.

Florida Center for Technology in Physical Activity. School Nutrition Coalition. Internet.

Healthier School Lunches. Parents Magazine. August 1994: 24.

Hunter, Beatrice Trum. Upgrading School Lunches. Consumers Research October 1996.Is School Nutrition Out to Lunch? Education Digest. November 1993: 54-56. Kowalski, Robert E. Cholesterol and Children.

New York 1988: 27-32 Krizmanic, Judy.Going Vegetarian. New York 1994: 13-42. Meek, Barbara.

Personal Interview. 4 March 1997 Menu Planning Guide for School food Service, Program Aid No.1260: 4-16 McCarty, Colman. The School Lunch Program. Surviving at School: 22; 44-46 Pratt, Steve. Ready or Not, Schools Have to Adapt to New Lunch Guidelines. Chicago Tribune August 23, 1995: 3.

Sherman, Heidi.Healthy School Lunches. Sassy November 1996: 18. The struggle to Make School Lunches Nutritious. Education Digest October 1988: 55-58.

Thompson, Courtenay. Cafeteria Cuisine.The Oregonian November 1995: BO2. Why is Everyone Griping About School Lunches? Current Health 2 January 1995: 27-29. Williams, Debbie. Personal Interview. 1 March 1997.Education Essays.