I haven't read much but the headlines to date, but apparently Michelle Obama is making an effort to increase the nutrition levels for our nation's children. I don't know the details yet (but I will be researching later). That's not really what this post is about.
What it IS about is the memory lane journey that the headlines produced for me.
I attended elementary school (public) in the late 60s and early 70s. (OK, I just gagged a bit after typing that.) My hometown is Tampa, Florida. There was (is still, I think) a huge Cuban population there and ALL of my elementary teachers were Cuban-Americans.
Well, apparently all my "lunch ladies" were, too. A typical cafeteria lunch for us was the following:
- Black beans and rice
- Green salad
- Orange quarters
- Whole white milk
- Small piece of chocolate sheet cake
Compare that to what I saw in our paper today:
- Green beans
- Pasta Salad
- Choice of white or chocolate milk (2%)
- Blueberry Crisp
I did a quick calculation of the two lunches and determined the following (I rounded figures and used THIS site for general figures):
- 1973 Typical (Tampa) lunch: 600 calories, 20 grams of fat
- 2010 Typical (Up North) lunch: 1120 calories, 50 grams of fat
When I was in school, a child who was overweight was so unusual that it was conspicuous. Now it seems the numbers are considerably higher. Perhaps the above quick calculation gives a hint as to why?
As an overweight person, I know exactly why I am fat. For me it has nothing to do with thyroid or any other beyond-my-control issue. It has to do with the abundance of easily available junk food, processed foods, and fast food restaurants--and my struggle to stay away from them.
It appears that our schools have transformed their cafeterias so that what is served is not a lot different from the corner fast food joint.
Perhaps Michelle Obama will be able to do something about what is served in our schools. Perhaps she can even provide some sort of motivation to parents to purchase whole, healthy foods for their children (and also direct their developing taste buds).
What are your memories of school lunches? For what elementary years? What do you think about this entire subject?