Last week I taught my very first kids clean eating cooking class right down the road at my clubhouse. While I marketed the class as best I could, only 4 kids showed up. But they were awesome kids and the experience was life changing for them..I hope! We made 4 dishes together, all from whole, clean ingredients. We talked about what junk food does to the body and how it affects our brain. We talked about eating more vegetables and the difference that can make in our health and wellness. We talked about the amount of money that goes into marketing junk food to children each year…$17-20 BILLION dollars. I told them to be aware of that and what to look for as a trick. We talked about the proper way to set a basic table and manners and etiquette. Then we talked about the school lunch program. I showed them side by pictures of cafeteria food vs. cold lunch from home. The pictures speak for themselves. They left that room a better person I believe, and that, my friends is why I LOVE this work.
But I really want to dive deeper into this school lunch thing! I believe it’s every child’s divine birthright to have a healthy, clean school lunch and never go hungry, every single day. Nutrition in schools is completely compromised due to lack of funding from the government. This is really sad. While millions of dollars are spent each year on our health care system due to diabetes and obesity, little is spent on the actual cause, thus our school lunch system suffers tremendously. This stirs me up! How can our children’s health not be top priority in our country? It’s the very first thing I pray for each night regarding my own children. I’d like to take you on a mental walk through history and explain to you where the school lunch program came into play. It was world war 2. Many good men were signing up for the draft to fight in the war. Many were being turned away due to lack of malnutrition. It was a time of poverty where many couldn’t afford to feed their families. The government knew that something must be done. Hence, the school lunch system was put into action and kids were being fed at schools so they could be properly nourished in order to make it into the draft when they grew up. The program was doing really well until the 1970’s….an age when processed foods were coming forward rapidly. Our government started limiting subsidies. Before, the funding had come out of the general school budget, suddenly food programs had broke off and cheap food and junk food had become the convenient way to feed kids. And now we have a crisis on our hands.
Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 3 decades. 1 in 3 children who are born in the year 2000 are predicted to have diabetes by the age of 20. It’s predicted by the CDC that 50% of today’s children will become obese by the year 2030. 1 in 4 children take prescription medication. 1 in 4 show signs of developing heart disease. We are seeing increased rates of childhood cancer, asthma, autism and all kinds of behavior and social disorders and learning disabilities. The political issue comes into play with this huge challenge that kids are getting sicker, they’re becoming sick adults, health care costs are rising and unfortunately there’s more money to be made in disease care than in well care and prevention. We need to figure out how to reverse it. We’re left with this cycle that creates poverty and perpetuates these diseases. So I want to take a stand. Who’s with me?
The issues we need to address with school admin regarding lunches are this:
2. Flavorings: MSG, autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed protein
- Other Additives: Preservatives, artificial coloring, thickeners & fillers.
- Bad fats: Frying oils, hydrogenated oils…FDA will be banning these oils so hopefully they’ll be removed
- Sweet Stuff: Sugar, artificial sweeteners. 120 lbs of sugar per person per year in America is consumed. Non-fat yogurts are full of as much sugar as a candy bar. Terrible ingredients for kids nervous systems
- GMO’s-genetically modified organisms. They’re created to be resistant to pesticides and herbicides so you find even more on these foods.
We need to create a sustainable school food system.
Can you see what a difference you can make just by packing your child’s lunch each day? Don’t you think it’s worth it for your child’s brain and development to have a lunch full of all the nutrients they need to focus and do well in school?
**Made a film “Two Angry Moms” wrote the book “Lunch Wars” how to start a school food revolution and win the battle for our children’s health.