Did your kids' school switch to the new healthier lunch menu, and did THIS happen?

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Posted 9/28/2012 by makingmemorieslast in NSBR Board
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Disneynana45
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Posted: 9/28/2012 5:48:35 PM
My friend works in an elementary school lunch room and she says it's been bad this year. She says the food dosen't smell or look good, the kids don't want to eat it and they don't. She says some kids are actually crying because they have to take some of the veggies and fruit. My grandma was a lunch room lady, say 35 years ago and I remember that they really cooked food and it was good food, like we got at home. My friends says that almost half of the kids have started bringing their lunch, most of the other half receive free lunch and can't afford to pack their own and those kids still won't eat. She said today they had a whole grain crusted pizza with very little cheese and a whole wheat grain mac and cheese and that 80% of that went in the trash cans.

rachag03
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Posted: 9/28/2012 5:50:46 PM
I don't force my kids to eat things they don't like. They have to try a bite, but they don't have to eat more than that. My son eats cooked carrots, but doesn't like peas and broccoli. I'm perfectly fine with him not being forced to eat those things if he doesn't want them. They have a pretty healthy home diet compared to most kids.

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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:01:41 PM
I can actually remember a teacher or cafeteria worker holding me in the lunch room in first grade and forcing me to finish something on my plate...can't remember what, but I do remember sobbing and begging them to call my grandma. They did, and she came up there and told them never to force me to eat anything again. I don't think it should be the job of anyone at a school to make each child eat a portion of anything. I was not a picky eater...I ate salads and veggies galore. So whatever they were trying to force me to eat must have been something I really didn't like.

tikibay
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:03:12 PM

They changed our menus too. My ds loves it. But we eat that way at home. I bet if they didn't word it as healthy and whole wheat others would eat it. lol


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Nicole in TX
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:06:38 PM
In order for the district to get credit for providing the lunch, the students have to take the veggies. That is why they are taken and then thrown away. In their little plastic cups. I have lunch room duty this year.



Aggiemom92
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:19:27 PM
They went to a healthier menu here, too. The result is that DD is taking her lunch every day because she doesn't like the new menu. I'm all for healthier food but think they've gone to far. The burgers now have wheat buns (which I agree with) and no cheese, even as an option (which I think is going too far).


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SweetiePie Pea
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:20:14 PM
This is a patenting issue as far as I see it. Obviously eating those foods at home isn't part of their daily life. I don't think the answer is less healthy food though. Maybe better nutrition education or give the kids the option not to take foods they won't eat.


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reneelcla
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:25:02 PM
I don't know if the schools here adopted the healthy lunch program but DD started bringing her lunch to school. It's healthy stuff but a little more.

DS says that to lower the calories, they just give you less food. He's starving when I pick him up from school.

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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:28:09 PM

I don't think it should be the job of anyone at a school to make each child eat a portion of anything.


This. There would be an outbreak of hissy fits of epic proportions-from kids AND especially parents-if school personnel had to start forcing kids to eat things they didn't want.

Also, due to budget cuts, we lost our lunch monitors in 2007. Teachers now have that job every single day during lunch. Every teacher must do lunch duty for their class every day. It's chaotic enough opening hundreds of condiment packets, milk cartons, fruit cups, and whatever other packages come on those trays. No way am I going to force 20+ children to eat something they don't want-even if the rare parent was ok with it.


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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:34:08 PM
I just looked at our district's menu and it's largely the same as it's been for years. A little more "whole grain" whatever, but they've had a salad bar, fruit, and veggie options for as long as I've had a kid at that school. My oldest son had the salad bar at the same school 11 years ago.

All that said, my son takes his lunch most days. I prefer knowing exactly what goes into his lunch and what he eats and doesn't. (He brings home what isn't eaten.) I've never done noon duty (they have parent volunteers/workers), so I have no idea how much is taken and/or wasted. I know that prior to this year they were never forced to take anything from the salad bar.

They can still buy chocolate milk, OJ, and apple juice too.



reneelcla
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:36:45 PM
DD loves vegetables but said she doesn't like the way it's cooked in school. She said they were cold & witty. DS says he'll eat anything but they don't give enough.

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KatieBPea
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Posted: 9/28/2012 6:37:07 PM

In some schools, students are not allowed to bring their own lunches from home, so they don't have a choice.

I remember someone sharing a news story about a district that did this, but does anyone have personal experience with their child not being allowed to bring lunch from home to a public school?



emmafrost
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Posted: 9/28/2012 7:08:14 PM
My sister works in a school where they gave each child a pint of raspberries at lunch Those kids were not eating that fruit and either dumped them or put them on a table designated for items that they don't want. There is daily heartbreak about the food wasted in that school.

Healthy foods need to be introduced to children in a way that encourages consumption before it hits the lunch plate. Grow it, pick it, prepare it, serve it, learn about it survival game style. Some of these kids may even like the healthy foods, but they will also do what their peeers do and dump it.







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Posted: 9/28/2012 7:16:35 PM

But that's not about the guidelines, that's about how it's prepared. Schools try to hire the cheapest food service companies to run their cafeterias and this is what you get. There is nothing preventing them from going back to lunch ladies cooking or spending more on the quality of food but then you'll have parents complaining that it costs too much.






No it is about how to we get kids to like and eat vegetables. Preparing them in a different way may make a difference.


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BlarneyGirl
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Posted: 9/28/2012 7:19:52 PM
My son's menu hasn't changed much, except for smaller portion of protein, more whole grain, the selection of fruit or vegetable is mandatory. If the student opts out, they are charged more. He will not take a piece of fruit because he says it's in a big bowl on the lunch line and it's handled, coughed or sneezed on. I appreciate that he is attentive to that.

He is a good varied eater at home. I serve whole grain, beans and a variety of fruit and vegetables (among other foods as well) so his disinterest in the vegetables at school is not because he is not presented with it at home. The preparation of the vegetables at school is not to his liking.

If he doesn't want the fruit or veggie at school, I'm okay with it. I know he has a complete and balanced diet at home. I resent the federal government sticking it's nose in.

I would be interested to know if there are other school systems requiring a financial penalty if the student refuses to take the fruit or vegetable.

This year my son has opted to being his lunch daily, opposed to other years it was about 50/50.

-Kathryn

justalittletike
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Posted: 9/28/2012 7:33:28 PM
I can't imagine not bring able to bring your lunch.

What about children with allergies? Why wouldn't they allow you to send your child with safe foods..

Weird.

On this topic, I think it is sad kids are wasting food but what does that say about how they are being fed at home?


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carole2k
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Posted: 9/28/2012 7:43:23 PM
I am a "lunch lady" at my middle school and we adopted this program this year. We started transitioning middle of last year. Beside the main course usually including two items, the children HAVE to have at least 1/2 cup of fruits or vegetables on their tray. They can bypass all the other stuff if they want but if they do I guarantee they will be hungry. A lot of the children just don't eat vegetables or fruit and it is painful to see how much food is thrown out every day. Such a huge waste. Although I am glad we are trying to give children healthier meals, something different needs to be done. A lot of money is being wasted on food that goes right into the garbage and I don't think such a low calorie count is necessarily good for the children. Especially those who are very physically active like the football players. Just my opinion from the inside.

melanell
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Posted: 9/28/2012 8:19:43 PM

In some schools, students are not allowed to bring their own lunches from home, so they don't have a choice.




This throws me right over the edge.





As for the idea that if the kids toss healthy food at school meaning that they don't get it at home, I don't think that's always the case.


I think it has a lot to do with how it is presented for some kids.


For instance, my son would eat a whole apple if you gave him one, but if the school handed out those bags of sliced apples, he would toss them. He says they don't taste like real apples.


And he prefers raw carrots to cooked. So he might toss cooked carrots.

And we never, ever eat canned vegetables here at home, so if he was offered canned veggies, he might toss those, too.

And he doesn't want things like grapes or tomatoes to be soft. They have to be firm, or he'll skip them.

We don't butter or salt vegetables at our house, either. So if anything like that was served to him, he might not want it.

And quite honestly, I pretty much feel the same way about all of those things except for the cooked carrots. So I wouldn't blame him.


But luckily, we can send lunch to school, so we do that, and I don't have to worry about him tossing 75% of his lunch in the trash. We have always had a rule that he just brings left-overs home. That way I know how much he had to eat and I know which foods he doesn't like to have sent to lunch.



rachag03
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Posted: 9/28/2012 8:24:51 PM
I agree with Melanell. My son does not like raw carrots. They make him gag. He does like cooked carrots. So the fact he would toss raw carrots does not mean he's eating like crap at home. School lunch can sometimes be prepared in a pretty unappetizing way. I wouldn't want limp steamed veggies or veggies out of a can, either.

Luckily he takes a healthy lunch from home more than he buys....but if he wants to eat pizza and fruit on pizza day I'm okay with that. His breakfast and dinner make up for that day's lunch.

I do still think the waste is terrible...I just wanted to say I also don't think all the kids tossing veggies eat like that at home.

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Posted: 9/28/2012 8:39:41 PM

Schools try to hire the cheapest food service companies to run their cafeterias and this is what you get. There is nothing preventing them from going back to lunch ladies cooking or spending more on the quality of food


My mom the lunch lady knows how to cook well and loves it -- but when the district is in a phase of going mostly pre-made, she's not allowed to use her talents. They have a sparkling new kitchen with awesome ovens, etc., that was purchased with special funding during the last phase of from-scratch-cooking and now it all goes unused because they're back to a pre-packaged phase.

Nothing the lunch ladies can do about it -- it's all set up by the food service coordinator and/or the school board or whomever is higher up the totem pole.

chocluver
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Posted: 9/28/2012 8:44:50 PM
Didn't read all the posts, but I'll add my 2 cents worth. A lot of it is the way that it's presented. I bet that if they started with elementary school kids and presented the foods in an appealing way, they would get a better response. Carrot sticks = boring. But if the cafeteria workers walked around and gave out samples like they do in the food stores it would work. Tiny cup with lowfat ranch dressing and the sticks sticking up in the cup. Once they got a few kids to try it, the others would also ask for the free samples. Put some broccoli over potato wedges with a bit of cheese sauce and I think they would go for it. Of course, I was a home ec. teacher for years so I do think that I know lots of tricks. And yes, it does start at home. If parents would start cooking and eat less frozen, take out etc. we'd be a lot better off. (I could go on for hours. Don't get me started

carole2k
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Posted: 9/28/2012 8:48:39 PM
We don't contract out our food. Everything is pre made at central kitchen and sent to the different schools a little before service. I wish we could offer more varieties of foods but we can only do what our budget allows. If we had an unlimited amount of money, sure, we would offer the freshest of meats and vegetables steamed to perfection but we don't. We do the best we can. I will say we do not offer any canned vegetables or fruits. We have them on the shelves for emergency purposes but they are not part of our menu.

amblet
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Posted: 9/28/2012 9:00:10 PM
My mom runs a community garden, they have teamed up with the local elementary school and have the kids 1-5 grade helping out in the gardens daily. These kids get to help plan what they will grow, plant the seeds and care for the vegetables as they are growing. You know what they eat their vegies. I have seen some of the cutest pictures of 2nd graders eating fresh picked peas and carrots, and 5th graders preparing a meal with what they have harvested from food they helped to grow themselves. Kids will eat vegetables it is all in the presentation.




mom2mykid
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Posted: 9/28/2012 9:20:50 PM
My son's school has always had a great lunch, which surprised me because they had to prep it at the middle/high school and deliver it to the elementary and intermediate schools. In fact, he's gotten ME to eat more veggies because of what he's tried at school. For example, I thought I hated broccoli, but it turns out I like it raw. He likes it steamed, plain--no cheese sauce. I also thought he didn't like chili, but when I finally asked him why, he told me it was because I didn't put enough veggies or kinds of beans in it. I started loading it up with veggies and beans, and he'll scarf it down. That being said, he's a middle schooler, and he's not getting enough to eat without buying extra stuff, which is kind of annoying, but I'll deal. I won't like it, but I'll deal. I DO like that it's made him more willing to try stuff, and he now loves to go the farmer's market because I give him 20 bucks and let him buy anything he wants. What he buys hardly ever makes it to the car because he eats it. Before, he never wanted anything but raspberries. Now he'll buy all kinds of stuff.

That being said, I think it has more to do with his school's commitment to buying local and fresh whenever possible, AND the community's support in slightly higher lunch prices--I pay almost $3.



KristinL16
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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:16:16 PM

I can actually remember a teacher or cafeteria worker holding me in the lunch room in first grade and forcing me to finish something on my plate...can't remember what, but I do remember sobbing and begging them to call my grandma. They did, and she came up there and told them never to force me to eat anything again. I don't think it should be the job of anyone at a school to make each child eat a portion of anything. I was not a picky eater...I ate salads and veggies galore. So whatever they were trying to force me to eat must have been something I really didn't like.


When I was in elementary school we had to get permission to be done from the lunch monitor. I remember being told that I had to finish my milk or some other item before I could be done. I wonder if parents threw a fit about it then? I was going to say that they probably wouldn't now, either, until I read a lot of the posts on this thread complaining about "how dare the government step in and force those kids to eat their veggies". Seriously, people. If you are complaining about that then you have a problem. It seems that some of the schools have some areas that could be improved in terms of taste and preparation, but for people to complain that the schools are even offering healthier food in the first place is insane.

As for the calorie count...I am curious how many calories people think a child (of various ages) should eat? When I read the calorie counts at the beginning of the year I thought they actually seemed a bit high compared to how much an adult would eat. But, that is also assuming that they are eating the food not just throwing it all away.



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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:23:38 PM


Yes, my daughter complains about it daily. She is always starving when she gets home. I may make her start packing her lunch. They have some nasty whole grain flatbread pizza, and they only get 3 or 4 chicken nuggets and those are nasty as well. French fries count as a veggie so the kids just eat those. Lots and lots of food is getting thrown out PLUS it cost at least $5 per day.


What is stopping you from sending a lunch from home? You don't like what's offered from the school? Pack a lunch!


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KristinL16
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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:31:40 PM
Here is a link to my kids' menu for the week (elementary school). I don't think it looks bad. I have eaten there in the past and everything was good. Of course, not every kid is going to like every food item, though.



Pea-T-A-Mom
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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:35:24 PM

I saw where some high school athletes in Wisconsin were complaining about the low-calorie lunches. They are starving with the new menus and the concept to have teens eat less.

The football players burn a ton of calories at practice after school, and apparently are boycotting the school lunches altogether.

In some schools, students are not allowed to bring their own lunches from home, so they don't have a choice.

There has got to be a better way.


Again, if they are not happy with the school lunch, why don't they bring a lunch from home?

My daughter has been packing her own lunch this year, and she has been making very healthy choices. She pads my grocery shopping list with lots of fruit, veggies, rice, and Lean meat options. And she always brings a reusable bottle of water to drink.


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crimsoncat05
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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:40:01 PM
It is a symptom of how central planning just doesn't work. The federal government is micromanaging every school lunch and it is leading to rebellion in some cafeterias.



^^^it certainly doesn't sound like this is the case, since there are posters in this thread who are giving their personal accounts of lunches in their kids' schools, and there are SO MANY variations on what is- or is not- being served.





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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:43:08 PM
Nothing stops me from sending her with a lunch from home, however I would say that 95% of kids in middle school buy their lunch. I expect that to change in the near term.

Like I stated earlier it isn't the healthy food issue but rather quality issue. Here healthy isn't being done well. Per my dd kids are just not eating, that isn't healthy.



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Posted: 9/28/2012 10:57:50 PM

When I was in elementary school we had to get permission to be done from the lunch monitor. I remember being told that I had to finish my milk or some other item before I could be done. I wonder if parents threw a fit about it then? I was going to say that they probably wouldn't now, either, until I read a lot of the posts on this thread complaining about "how dare the government step in and force those kids to eat their veggies". Seriously, people. If you are complaining about that then you have a problem. It seems that some of the schools have some areas that could be improved in terms of taste and preparation, but for people to complain that the schools are even offering healthier food in the first place is insane.


I have no problem with schools having healthy food...in fact, I'd fight for it. I do have a problem with people thinking the solution to less waste is forcing the kids to eat it. I realize the schools might make them take it, but if lunch monitors were making my kid eat something he didn't like...yes, I'd take issue with that. And we don't have a problem eating healthy in this house.

My kid picks a couple days a Week he wants to eat at school, and the other days he takes a healthy packed lunch. If he doesn't want broccoli with his grilled cheese, I don't want someone forcing him to eat it. He's tried broccoli at home, he tries it again whenever we have it and still doesn't like it. That's good for me, he can have other veggies at home.

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Posted: 9/28/2012 11:06:31 PM
They have always done it different here - after the main dishes and drinks - they kids go through a fruit and veggie bar where they choose from a variety of fruits and vegetables. They can also choose a salad, chicken salad, or yogurt and string cheese, hard boiled eggs, in place of a main dish. I like that each child can choose his or her own fruits and veggies- so a kid might toss peas but likes carrots - so with this program he can choose whatever veggie he likes. Also they are allowed unlimited trips to the fruit and veggie bar - (not other choices). Our lunches seem to be be pretty healthy - or at least include healthy choices


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Posted: 9/28/2012 11:15:09 PM
We used to have healthier food at the elementary school than we do now.
They used to serve
Vegie and hummus plate
Salad with tuna and vegies
Garbonzo beans
Broccoli
Kiwi
Turkey roll ups on whole wheat
Yogurt and string cheese

Etc

The kids loved that stuff

Then they changed the company and menu to what they claim is healthier.
They serve frozen burritos (served in the plastic wrapper from the market)
Hot Pockets (not the light ones)
Pancakes with a sausage and at least a 1/2 cup of syrup
Fake cheese sauce and a bag of chips

The kids don't eat as much of that stuff as they did the actually healthier stuff they used to get.

Usually they choose the pizza, which is nasty nasty nasty.
It's not hard or more expensive to serve healthy choices


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Posted: 9/28/2012 11:26:58 PM
I love the above posters school fruits and veggies bar! Fabulous!


Here's what I put on my S/O thread, I think it's really relevant to the conversation...


About 2 years ago we began a program in our school (public charter) where every other week we have a school wide snack. The purpose is to introduce kids to different kinds of foods or different ways to enjoy them.

We have a very small budget and I work very hard to make it stretch. I am regularly applying for grants, working with local farms, etc. and I balance out a more expensive sample with an inexpensive one or the occasional donation from a local farm.

So, here's what we do in a nutshell:

We set up a series of foods to be sampled over the course of the year, with some openings for spontaneity or donations, looking primarily at what we can purchase through local farms, what's seasonal, what ties into our teaching theme for example, if it's compatible. We are looking to expand to personalize for specific classes so if say, 5th grade is studying an area where hardtack was appropriate we might make hardtack for that class to sample. If the 3rd grade is studying New Zealand we might bring in some kiwi. We are also looking at cultural things like black eyed peas at the New Year.

Every other Friday a group of parent volunteers come in and prep whatever the sampling is and distribute it throughout the building. We serve 368 staff and students. This year we added stainless steel condiment cups to cut down on waste and we just ordered real silverware to use for bigger samplings. Again, cut down on waste.

I spend time in different classes getting feedback from the students about their thoughts on the foods as they are tasting them. It has been really interesting to see the difference in the student's perspectives on foods they didn't think they liked or had never tried or never tried fresh from a farm.

Examples:
One week we ate cantaloupe from a local farm. I would guess the majority of children have tasted cantaloupe. What was interesting was the responses from kids who had never had one fresh from a local farm. I heard that kind of comment over and over (was with middle school students that day). They couldn't believe how juicy and sweet it was.

Last spring we served hummus, freshly made, with pretzel sticks. Many of our students had never had hummus. It was a huge hit. I was with second graders that morning. They were asking for more, licking their cups, asking for the recipe, etc (we do send recipes home).

We did green smoothies - spinach, pear, apple, kale, etc. Looked disgusting, we knew the kids would be motivated to try that one. HUGE hit. One of my 8th grade classes kept coming back into the prep area asking if there would be extras (we put all the excess in the middle school wing in my office on the conference table and the kids can come help themselves as they move through the wing between and sometimes during classes a teacher might send someone to check if there are extras and kids come grab. Lots of great feedback as the kids come in and out for more!

We have also done air popped popcorn. Completely different from microwave popcorn. This one was another huge hit! One of our middle school teachers now has an air popper in her room and popcorn snacks appear randomly for the middle school.

We also have a salad bar (part of a grant we were awarded). It is offered daily. We have used the samplings to help pick items to stock on the salad bar. Red peppers are a hands down favorite, but so are black beans and cottage cheese. Next week we are serving a chick pea salad with black beans, tomatoes, onions and parsley. If it's a hit it will become a featured item on our salad bar.

The philosophy was to give them a taste, change an opinion, etc. We have seen that change. Our hope is that as we explore other foods we will continue to see a shift in the choices these kids make. Our kids eagerly look forward to what the next one will be and several of the older students have given me suggestions or requests.

Recently a middle school class asked if I would make them fruit and veggie smoothies one day just because. I said yes as long as I can throw in spinach and kale! They agreed!



~~Cynthia~~


t.f.l. charter member #10 (finally, I am a perfect 10!!)

"To make the dream a reality you must step out in faith, confident in your strength and abilities and put one foot in front of the other until you reach your goal." -Me

crimsoncat05
PeaFixture

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Posted: 9/28/2012 11:40:32 PM
Cynthia, this is a GREAT story!! I remember having something like that when I was in, like, kindergarten or first grade, maybe?? Everyone brought something to taste, and we got to try things we wouldn't necessarily have eaten before. (I still remember, it was my first taste of a green olive, and I expected it to be sweet- yuck!) I love the idea of giving kids tastes of different foods, to expose them to things they might not have tasted, and even the sending recipes home idea.






"Accepting anything without question is the antithesis of critical thinking and education. ~wren*walk, 8/20/12"


CreativeEngineer
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 10:45:21 AM
My kids don't like most cafeteria food to start with, so I've had little exposure to the "new" inititative. I'd say a good 1/2 of the kids in our elem school bring lunch from home. Most because the food served is reheated crap for the most part. Sitting in its black foam or clear plastic cups on a pink tray, it just looks bad.

I do "cafeteria duty" a few times a year which is when parent volunteers come in to cover lunch monitoring to give the teachers a break. The waste is astounding. Kids take one or two bites and dump the tray so they can talk to friends or play games. The salad is almost never eaten. The overcooked veggies rarely get touched except corn which is a starch.

We have 0% free/reduced lunch so I don't know why parents don't pack lunches their kids will eat except maybe they don't know how much is wasted. My kids pack just about every day. They buy once a week when they have chicken nuggets and rice. Since we never have chicken nuggets, this is a big treat for them. My kids generally eat left-overs in a thermos (on days I'm home in the am), sandwiches, yogurt, apple slices or apple sauce, cheese sticks, baby carrots, whole wheat pretzels, Zbars, and occasionally a small bag of chips instead of the pretzels. With a dairy allergy, the kids take 100% juice boxes, those veggie/fruit mix juices, or V8 juice in a can. My middle schooler also takes her lunch daily. She said the lunch lines are so long that there is no time to eat if you wait to buy hot lunch.





dontsitstill
PeaAddict

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Posted: 9/29/2012 11:48:11 AM
At professional development, I learned that sometimes it takes 30 exposures to a food before a child will try it. I have seen children decide to try a new food after it has been on the menu for a LONG time. A good role model would help the process. When adults eat with kids and model healthy choices, the kids will copy them in the same way they copy their peers. In the short term it may be a huge waste but it should become less wasteful over time. The changes will be easier with the younger children. I taught in a school that had a garden that all classes helped to maintain. We had our own compost bin and kids participated full in filling it with appropriate food scraps. Also they were very interested in growing plants from seeds they found in their food.

Casii
CasiioPEA

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Posted: 9/29/2012 12:31:37 PM
My dd takes her lunch, so I haven't really paid attention to the lunch menus closely. I just checked ours out and it's all pretty much junk for the entree choices, then prepackaged sides that may or may not be junk. When a fruit is labeled chilled, I don't have high hopes.

Regarding reduced calories or portions. My dd runs track in the winter and spring, cross country in the fall. She eats a LOT and is tiny. She has told me that the food at the school seems to be the same, but the portions of the main dishes are smaller. Athletes who buy lunch complain about starving all through practice after school.


Ciao,
Casii

Granny Panty Chic

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. ~Mark Twain


loridg
AncestralPea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 12:45:11 PM
Yes, I have seen this and I'm pretty unhappy about it. I sometimes sub in our elementary school kitchen and I was there this week and saw it first hand.

Our school used to have a salad bar that always had salad and various fruits and veggies for the kids to take. With this new program, the salad bar has been completely eliminated. The choices yesterday were two different types of pizza, clam chowder, or a bagel. All of the bread is now whole wheat (fine by me, that's what we eat at home), but they can no longer serve cream cheese with the bagels. Yesterday the bagel lunch was a dry bagel, raisins, and juice. All of the kids (no matter what they were buying) had to choose either broccoli or salad, and apple or plum. I watched more food getting tossed in the garbage.

While I get wanting to encourage the kiddos to eat the fruits and veggies, there was much less waste when we had the salad bar because they could choose what they wanted. Yesterday they were forced into either broccoli or salad. If they didn't like either of them, they got thrown out. What really gripes me about the whole situation is that they are allowed to serve Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast I'm not allowed to bring anything "sugary" in for my kids birthday treat, but they can serve that for school breakfast? The kids have to eat dry bagels because cream cheese is "too fattening" but Lucky Charms are ok? I'd be more than upset if I'd found out I paid $3.50 for a dry bagel and raisins. Seriously?



Ever had a day like this?

TheOtherMeg
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 9/29/2012 12:59:17 PM
My kids pack lunch, but I volunteer in the lunchroom once a week.

There will be a shakedown period, and there will be wasted food, but kids do learn to like new foods. When my kids were in preschool, they were served lunch at school as part of the tuition. I don't like fish, so I don't cook it (bad me), but it was served every Friday and my kids did learn to eat it. They now love many kinds of fish.

Kids who throw out food rather than give it a try are being stubborn, not starved. As long as the food is merely new, and not truly awful (as in poor quality and/or prepared badly), I really have very little sympathy for kids who refuse to eat simply because they're not getting their choice of foods.

The wasted food is a shame, but are schools really supposed to just give the kids crap food because that's what they'll eat? If the choice is between allowing good food to go into the garbage, or allowing garbage food into the kids, I choose the former.

Personally, I feel overall health would be better served by putting recess and DAILY phys ed back into the curriculum, but there's certainly no harm in letting the kids choose between healthy food and not eating. They'll figure it out.



You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. ~Abbie Hoffman




luvmythree
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:04:26 PM
The only problem that my kid has with the lunches is they aren't filling and a lot of the students in our district are complaining they're still hungry.



Kirsten mom to~
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JenHuedepohl
AncestralPea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:11:57 PM

I asked and she said the kids who don't eat the veggies usually don't take them.



At my school, the kids are forced to take the side of vegetables. Most do not eat them. It seems such a ridiculous waste of food.


Part-time Lunch Lady here.

There are two options with the USDA lunch program. Offer vs. Serve (OVS) and Traditional. In Offer Vs Serve 5 mandatory components (milk, veg, fruit, grain, protein) must be OFFERED, but kids only HAVE to take a minimum of 3. The only thing they HAVE to take is either a fruit OR a veg. Guess which is chosen 99% of the time (especially since there are weekly minimum requirements for red/orange, dark green, & legumes - French fries are NOT a daily option). A lunch could be considered "reimbursable" if a kid chooses only a bun, milk & applesauce.

Our school chose to stay with Traditional. Yes, there is waste. But it it doesn't end up on the plate, there is no way it will end up in the kids. We decided that getting a complete and balanced meal in front of the kids was a higher priority than waste.

Overall, waste hasn't been as bad as we expected. The legume requirement has been the main sticking point. We are a small parochial school, we take the time to "train" the incoming Kindergarten kids by encouraging them to try a bite of everything and praising them for their efforts. We never force them to eat anything or to clean their plates, but there may be a little bribery to eat another bite of veggies if they want a dessert on the days we offer them

As a result of all our "training", our older kids (we are K-8) are good eaters, too. But they do come back to let us know how bad the High School food is

justalittletike
AncestralPea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:12:22 PM
Can they get more if they want it? I don't know how they do it now..


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UkSue
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:12:32 PM
My youngest child's school has just been awarded a Gold Medal for it's healthy lunches. Every meal comes with salad/ raw veggies etc, and having helped at school lunch times, I have seen probably 80-90% of the food being eaten, not thrown away. The school also has a delivery of organic fresh fruit and veg 3 times a week, and children can help themselves to a portion on the way out to morning play time. most go for the fruit or carrots,, but some kids, like my son, also take celery sticks and cucumber.

Maybe the parents need to get involved in getting children used to healthier food at a younger age, whilst older children may just need more encouragement and time to get used to the new menus? The long term benefits must be worth persevering, surely?


It's not the passage of time that heals. It's what you do with that time.

justalittletike
AncestralPea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:24:35 PM
Haha maybe I just got lucky so far my 2 year old hates sweets and eats plain broccoli, carrots, lettuce and cucumbers..

Maybe this is unheard of, I guess I'll find out soon with #2


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peapermint
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:24:36 PM
Two things some schools in my town have tried:

-- including foods from the school garden. Because the kids helped grow them, they're more excited about eating them. (When this program was first suggested the district said it was impossible to implement)

-- having lunch after recess rather than before so kids don't rush through lunch to get to playing

JenHuedepohl
AncestralPea

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Posted: 9/29/2012 1:34:56 PM

Two things some schools in my town have tried:

-- including foods from the school garden. Because the kids helped grow them, they're more excited about eating them. (When this program was first suggested the district said it was impossible to implement)

-- having lunch after recess rather than before so kids don't rush through lunch to get to playing


We don't have a school garden, but we do buy lettuce from one of our teachers, who grows it with her son, and we often get food donated by parents & staff. The kids are always more excited to eat their 3rd grade tacher's lettuce, the school secretary's apples, or meat from the pig or steer donated by M's parents.

And I would LOVE it if we had lunch AFTER recess! I've suggested it, but haven't gotten any interest. I think it is a good idea in so many ways. The kids can work up an appetite, they won't be running around on a full tummy, and they won't rush through lunch time to get to playtime.

We are thinking about trying to get recipes from parents. It wasn't terribly successful in previous years, though. Not many recipes were submitted, and those that were didn't meet nutritional guidelines (sodium, fat, etc.) or were too difficult to prepare with the limited time and labor we have.

singlewitch
PeaFixture

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Posted: 9/29/2012 9:36:36 PM
Our school made the change. Waste is up, portions are smaller and the kids are constantly complaining they are hungry. The free/reduced lunch kids MUST take a fruit to get free/reduced rate. If they don't, they are charge ala carte. But the school knows the kids are not eating the fruit and they are trying to find a way to prevent the waste. This is a mess. I teach HS and my classes each early---at 11:00. Try teaching after that when the kids are still hungry and complaining about the food. I get the problem, but I'm not convinced this is the solution.



Rosie
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TheOtherMeg
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 9/29/2012 11:48:41 PM

-- having lunch after recess rather than before so kids don't rush through lunch to get to playing

We went to lunch after recess last year and it's awesome. The kids are hungry enough to eat, and they go back to class less sweaty and hyped because they came from lunch and not recess.



You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. ~Abbie Hoffman




nighthawk
PeaFixture

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Posted: 9/30/2012 1:12:35 AM
It may be that the food sucks....If the side of vegetables is like our school lunch side of vegetables it was cooked until it had started to mumify. Now I like vegetables, I eat things like spinach but if it's not cooked at least decently no one is going to even try it.
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