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Friday, April 14, 2017

The Main Problem With School Lunches

Oh, what Bridget O'Brien Wood could do if the government allowed her just a little more salt. She could serve potato salad that isn't bland. She could experiment with curry sauces. And O'Brien Wood, food service director with Buffalo Public Schools, could finally tell parents that the French fries at lunch taste like the ones their kids gobble up at restaurants.

As it is, O'Brien Wood finds herself in a pickle: She has to serve foods that Buffalo's schoolchildren will eat, but in a way that complies with strict federal nutrition standards intended to combat childhood obesity.

Those standards have forced her and her colleagues to get creative. Not all attempts have worked. When they serve whole-grain spaghetti with meat sauce, some students eat only the meat sauce. When they brought in a local chef to prepare shepherd's pie that met the requirements by including turnips and other root vegetables, most kids wouldn't touch it. Fruit, salad bars, and potatoes have been hits. But other veggies, like oven-baked sweet potato fries, are a tough sell because of clampdowns on sodium.



Anonymous said...

The lunches that the government schools try to force kids to eat are one thing, but the B.S. they are force feeding the kids in the classroom is another

Anonymous said...

It was horrible when I went to school back in the late sixties and seventies. Most of the vegetables were canned. Disgusting pea and carrot medley or succotash. Canned gravy with no salt or seasoning. Most of it ended up in the trash. I was allergic to milk. They made me buy it anyway, and that ended up in the trash unopened. Because of this I packed my lunch until high school.
If they would only serve food, like most people have at home or in a restaurant, you would see much less waste. You can have healthy food without much salt if you use spices. If food was contracted out to the private sector and the government lowered some of the strict guidelines, you would see much less food wasted and happier kids. To this day, I cannot stand the smell of a school cafeteria.

Anonymous said...

Almost everything the government touches turns into a mess.

Anonymous said...

Salt is a difficult ingredient to leave out. People who do it for health or other reasons are used to it and after awhile only use very small amounts at the table, if any. But if you're a kid used to eating highly processed foods loaded with salt at home, the food they serve at school is going to be extremely bland. If you're a kid who is rarely served a vegetable, the stuff floating around in a curry is going to look really weird. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I think they could start by having most of the food prepared at the school instead of provided by a food service.