Chicago: Whaaaaaaaaat?

The other day, I saw this article about a school in Chicago that has decided to ban all lunches brought from home by students unless the student has an allergy or other excused medical condition. I like that what is basically a total ban is here referred to as "some lunches banned."

I know this is really not the sort of thing I typically write about here, but I am furious to read this! I understand--the school is trying to ensure that kids are eating healthy meals. But they're losing a golden opportunity to be proactive about not only educating their students but the families of those students.

Don't ban lunches from home. Give nutrition classes. At least come up with food that tastes good, as the fallout from the project at the school seems to be a vast number of children simply throwing their food away and going hungry because the food isn't even good.

Require nutrition class. I and many others will back you up. Better yet, teach Home Economics to all high schoolers. Do it for all four years, even. Make damn sure that children graduating today know not only how to plan and prepare nutritious food, but also balance a checkbook, plan a budget, and take care of themselves. By serving bad-tasting food in the name of health, all you're doing is teaching children that healthy food has to taste bad. By requiring students to eat at a cafeteria without the option of bringing food from home--yes. You're stopping some students from eating McDonald's every day for lunch. But you're also teaching the lesson that you aren't responsible for your own diet, health, and welfare.

Is that really a lesson we want to support?

1 comment:

  1. I think it was last summer when hubby and I watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution where he went into a school system (in WV, I think, but I'm not sure) to try to change the way the school prepared the food -- getting more fresh veggies, less pre-prepared stuff (like chicken nuggets and pizza). One episode showed students who brought lunches from home that consisted of Skittles, Cheetos, and pop. Obviously, bad. But the schools hadn't been doing such a bang-up job, either. I think it's a really difficult issue to get into. I mean, if I would pack my child a lunch healthier than what the school provides, s/he still can't take it? Bad. But a lunch of Skittles and Cheetos? Also bad. I think it's rather complicated.



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