Most parents are all too familiar with the challenges of getting children to eat a well-balanced diet full of healthy grains and protein, fruits and vegetables. We do our best at home, and hope that while out in the world, our kids have healthy options and make smart choices. We certainly shouldn’t have to worry that school lunches are undermining our efforts at good nutrition. And yet, with a childhood obesity epidemic, and school lunch menus chock full of processed foods and questionable ingredients, clearly we do.
Recently, the quest for healthier fare suffered a setback when Congress blocked the USDA’s proposed guidelines requiring more fruits and green veggies on lunch trays. While our nation’s kids may have to follow the rules at school, we parents do not. Rather than wait around for the federal government and big food suppliers to hash it out, why not advocate for change on a local level?
Here are some things you can do now:
- Go to lunch with your kids to see what’s being served in their schools.
- Ask your children’s school administrators about their school wellness policy.
- Remember that it’s not just about what’s being served in your kids’ lunchrooms. Find out what food is being served in your kids’ classrooms during snack time and celebrations.
- Give kids a fresh start; take every opportunity to educate the children in your life about healthy choices.
- Check out the book, Lunch Wars, by Amy Kalafa on www.angrymoms.org (more about that in this post).
If you live in Colorado:
- Learn more about LiveWell Colorado’s Freshen-Up School Food Initiatives.
- Check out LiveWell Colorado’s Farm to School Primer to learn about ways to bring fresh, local, healthy food into your childrens’ schools.
- Look at Colorado Action for Healthy Kids’ website to access important tools and resources.
If we don’t push for change now, obesity will plague our children, increasing the possibility that they’ll be the first generation with a shorter lifespan than the generations before them.