Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 22, 2013

EDITORIALS: School lunch lessons; D.C. focuses on box scores

Embrace nutrition guidelines instead of refusing school lunch

Plattsburgh, N.Y., Press-Republican


Kids raised on white bread, fast food and sweets are not going to be thrilled by school lunches featuring whole wheat, salads and fruit. That's the crux of the reason some schools are now dropping out of the $11 billion National School Lunch Program.

It’s not a mass exodus, by any means, but some school districts  are opting out of the program because, they say, kids aren't eating what it now requires. Officials in Catlin, Ill., told the Associated Press that they saw a 10 to 12 percent drop in lunch purchases, amounting to $30,000, last year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines for school lunches have come in response to a childhood obesity epidemic and other health concerns. Comfort-food lunches that were served in school cafeterias for years — meatloaf with gravy, buttered corn, white rolls and frosted cake, among other staples — were loaded with calories, sodium and starches.

You can’t blame the schools. That food was served by families at home. Government programs supplied it, and it could be produced in mass quantities at a reasonable cost. But it wasn’t doing kids much good.

Consuming a better balance of nutrients, less sugar and sodium, reasonable portions and less processed food is healthy for anyone - especially children who are forming habits that will determine their longevity, not to mention our future health care costs. So, the government is wise in forcing schools to serve more fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods and snacks like granola bars.

Schools that give up the lunch program take a big financial risk in turning down reimbursements of about 30 cents for each full-priced lunch, and $2.50 to $3 for each free or reduced-price lunch. Instead, schools and local health departments should continue to educate students and families about proper nutrition. Cafeteria workers should make the new foods as appealing as possible.

And parents must buy into the emphasis on nutrition. If they can encourage their children to eat these better foods at school - and stock their own cupboards with healthier choices - they will do everyone in their family a service.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Sometimes brand-name drugs just work better When you go to the pharmacy for aspirin, do you buy Bayer or the private-label generic alternative offered by chains such as CVS? The price for Bayer's version is more than twice that of CVS's, yet the active ingredient is exactly the same. The choic

    April 24, 2014

  • Conference looks at Obama, democracy Some of America's leading public intellectuals, scholars and activists gathered at Tufts University April 16-18 for the fifth annual Barack Obama and American Democracy conference. Author Michael Eric Dyson's exhilarating opening keynote offered a ri

    April 24, 2014

  • Will losers outvote winners? When it comes to the politics of Obamacare, there's really only one question that matters: How many Americans are benefiting from the new health care system, and how many are hurting? Problem is, we know more about the first part of the question than

    April 24, 2014

  • Why EU is not your dad's Europe The important-sounding Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union has recently reiterated "its strong support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity." Poor, destabilized, post-putsch Ukraine is to be congratulated

    April 23, 2014

  • Facebook bank could be disrupting force The company that rebranded the word "friend" may soon take up a more ambitious makeover: the word "bank." Facebook is on the verge of winning approval from Ireland's central bank to allow its users to store and exchange money. The company's plans are

    April 23, 2014

  • Warren's call for student loan reform As commencement season approaches, graduating students will soon hear words of wisdom from speakers offering experience, advice and inspiration. One thing they're not likely to hear about is the $1.08 trillion elephant on the quad -- our nation's stu

    April 23, 2014

  • How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary rock the world? WASHINGTON -- There are few happier events than becoming a grandmother, and almost none that says quite so loudly "over the hill." Ageism mixed with sexism is a toxic brew, but somehow tolerated. It's a often-used joke, but not a funny one, that wome

    April 22, 2014

  • Losing hearts and minds Robert Kagan recently wrote that, foreign policy decision by foreign policy decision, President Barack Obama has given Americans what they say they want. But the result hasn't made them proud of America or of their president. The same phenomenon may

    April 22, 2014

  • I signed what? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 19, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks