Last night, I watched the kid inhale a chicken wrap and a gob of fries while we were out during dinner time. She’s not usually a fries person because she prefers healthy food, like lots of fruit, veggies and unfried stuff. So, I asked her why she was so hungry. It’s not like we have a shortage of after school snacks.
She told me its the school lunch. There’s not enough of it. Yesterday’s lunch consisted of a single slice of whole wheat pizza and a tiny side of sliced carrots. She’s taken to sneaking an extra side on her tray, hoping the cashier won’t notice.
As it turns out, she’s not alone in feeling famished after lunch. There are school districts all over the country that are opting out of the federal school lunch program. Too many kids were complaining of the small portions and unappetizing healthy options that school districts are losing money. Kids are starting to bring their lunches. It’s not just the size of the portions that is problematic. The cost of lunch has increased significantly even while there’s less of it.
Now, I will be the first one to jump aboard the healthier options bandwagon. We don’t drink soda in my house and we’re not into high fat lunchable type meals with bags of potato chips etc. And who the hell knew what was the mystery meat covered with red sauce that was advertised as chicken Parmesan? But I made the kid’s lunch everyday during the summer with a sandwich (usually roasted chicken, Swiss, lettuce and tomatoes with mustard), carrots, sliced peppers, hummus dip and fresh fruit and she never complained of being hungry.
This is disturbing, especially for a fit, slim kid who metabolizes well. She’s putting on inches in height during a growth spurt now and must be thinking about food all the time. I can only imagine how the male version of her is fairing. How can you concentrate when you’re hungry?
Maybe this is part of the plan to cut back on spending on the federal lunch program. If it was just a matter of healthier options, there shouldn’t be a problem increasing the carrots or adding another side. The fact that some districts are allowing kids to have a yogurt AND a banana, not one or the other, indicates that the pendulum has swung too far. Especially during this period of food insecurity, the last thing a school kid needs to be doing is counting calories.
Michelle Obama needs to stop assuming that everyone lives in an affluent suburb where childrens’ feet are never engaged in walking because their terrified mothers are afraid they will be snatched by omnipresent sexual predators. Some of us live in walk able cities and our kids are not obese. They go to school with kids from the inner city who are (or were) on food stamps and need something more substantial than a single slice of pizza and a couple of nuggets of veggies.
As for my kid, I roasted a chicken last Sunday…