Healthy Schools in America

That's an EVIL looking lunch, but it’s probably very typical. Remember, a new report just determined that the USDA, which distributes food schools, actually supplies food of POOR nutritional-quality; too much processed meat and cheese.

To make matters worse, many schools undermine their own efforts to improve cafeteria food by installing more and more vending machines. With tight budgets abound, vending machines have become HUGE money-makers.

Meanwhile, schools in Europe are lobbying to distribute FREE fruit in schools. So, improving school food and health MUST be possible!

It is. Health magazine has just compiled a list of America’s healthiest schools Check out what these schools are doing to get healthy. Take a look:

  • West Babylon Senior High, West Babylon, New York: The student obesity rate dropped 2 percent in just one school year—and continues to decline.
  • Amory Middle, Amory, Mississippi: "We have become Dance, Dance Revolution," principal Cheryl Moore says. "We traverse the rock-climbing wall, play ping-pong, power walk, and much more."
  • Rawhide Elementary, Gillette, Wyoming: Rawhide's strong health component begins in kindergarten and covers nutrition, personal safety, drug-abuse prevention, and lifetime fitness.
  • Anthony Elementary, Leavenworth, Kansas: Lunch is eaten in classrooms amid a family atmosphere that emphasizes conversation. "The noise level is low, making this the ideal time for teachers and students to build positive relationships," principal Janine Kempker says.
  • Richmond Elementary, Appleton, Wisconsin: We've found that educating children about making healthy food choices has influenced the choices that are being made at home," principal Bobbie Schmidt writes.
  • Mountain Valley Middle, Mexico, Maine: Kids and teachers eat nutritious breakfasts in their classrooms. Through this innovative approach, piloted last year, students begin their days more attentively and learn conversation skills and table manners from their role models.
  • Miami Springs Middle, Miami Springs, Florida: Former principal Gail Quigley, EdD, says. "We don't serve dessert or fried food, and we offer a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables."
  • Lakewood Elementary, Cecilia, Kentucky: Lakewood's students get this message loud and clear in all facets of the school's Nutrition, Fitness, and Health curriculum.
  • W.C. Britt Elementary, Snellville, Georgia: This school keeps its students engaged with taste tests, farm visits, school gardening, community-health-related plays, annual visits from local dentists, and more.
  • South Elementary, Pinson, Tennessee: The school has established a Life­time Fitness and Wellness Center, an on-site facility that's open not only to students but to faculty members and families, as well.

Now, improving school food is win-win. It has been show that eating healthy foods, despite being MORE expensive, does help school children perform better. However, Dr. Fuhrman suggests a simpler answer, establish healthy eating habits at HOME and have kids brownbag their lunch.

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Marisa - September 25, 2008 8:11 AM

I am a teacher and I am constantly appalled by the school lunches. When I have children one day, they will never be allowed to buy lunch. My cousin's husband is a chef who recently got a job working for a charter school in Newark, NJ. There, they are feeding the kids nutritious lunches--tofu vegetable stir fries, turkey meatballs, etc. I hear the kids are loving it so far!

Foodaroo - September 25, 2008 10:33 AM

This was what I ate from a prestigious public school cafeteria some 20+ years ago. If we had any fruit, they came from a can, ie. peaches "soaked" in corn syrup.

Looks like things have not changed much...

Steve - September 25, 2008 10:35 AM

I don't even know what half of that stuff is! I guess the baked beans are a reasonable choice.

PS A couple of months ago I phoned the Heinz company to find out how much of the carbs in their baked beans are naturally occurring and how much is added sugar. Guess what, they wouldn't tell me (secret recipe!!!). Yet this product in Canada has a "health check" symbol. What a scam!
Cheers, Steve

Just Smart Living - September 25, 2008 11:02 AM

This is the first year I'm proud to say we've completely stopped with the school supplied lunches. The kids don't seem to miss anything and we're packing those sacks full of raisins, apples, celery and the like.I feel so much better as a parent.

Jane - September 26, 2008 1:34 AM

Meat and cheese? Are you looking at the same school lunches? Our kids would benefit immensely if we'd spend our tax money on lower carb, higher protein dishes (including meat and cheese!) instead of filling kids with all of these starchy, cheap filler foods. I see a burger bun, sugary beans, and sugary fruit crisp dominating that place. A nice chunk of cheese with some chicken and a green salad would keep these kids from falling asleep an hour later! We need to adopt a more natural approach to feeding our little ones, for their sake.

Kirsten - September 26, 2008 10:42 AM

Did the USDA solicitation for comments get posted on here yet? This is a great opportunity to sound off on improving the poor choices made available to our kids!

Here's the url: http://support.pcrm.org/site/MessageViewer?em_id=21661.0. or http://tinyurl.com/4wv7fg

Monty - September 26, 2008 11:26 AM

Are school lunches determined by any health considerations or by "incentives" or kickbacks given to the school administrators by the food companies? What are the rewards promised to the administrators for selling the companies' products?

Michael - September 26, 2008 11:42 AM

Where does cheese occur in nature? Where else in nature do animals consume milk past infancy or consume the milk of other species? There is nothing natural about cheese.

Sara - September 26, 2008 10:29 PM

Sorry Jane- I think you are in the wrong blog. We do not consider meat and cheese good for human consumption, much less for children.

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