Look at the picture above. A student in an Oklahoma high school took a picture of the lunch served in her school’s cafeteria, and sent it to a TV station.
I’m from an era where school lunches (K-12) were typically unappetizing. The era of the old lunch-lady, with the hair net, mole on her chin, stale cigarette breath, slinging hot dogs and baked beans.
A true form of American culture; school lunches are traditionally terrible, and expensive at that. Historically, cafeteria food has been so invaluable it spawned the greatest childhood cafeteria experience of all time.. The food fight.
How can I prove that? Simple. People don’t throw good, expensive food. Period.
My parents sent me to school with money for lunch, and by middle school I was arranging to receive foods from off-campus sources, or completely forgoing lunch altogether to buy “real food” (pizza) after school.
It now seems school districts have to “satisfy nutritional requirements and calorie maximums.” And apparently this can result in the type of school lunch pictured above..
We have a serious health crisis in this country, with 65% of our nation’s adults being overweight or obese.
Thinking about it now, a lot of us are given nutritionally deficient school lunches, for 12 years growing up. We were indirectly taught as children to learn to get by on a bare minimum of nutrients. Sure, the calories may be right, but what are those calories comprised of? Refined sugars? Bad fats? High glycemic carbs?
Consider what the average college student’s diet looks like (ramen is generally considered a sound economic choice), and it’s no wonder we have some many fat, undernourished adults. Yes, you can be overweight and undernourished at the same time- especially if you’re eating a lot of nutritionally bankrupt foods.
From the time we were small children, we’ve been taught to get by, surviving on crap nutrition. Despite the best efforts of Mr. Rogers, Big Bird, health teachers, and our parents, we somehow learned to make do with poor nutrition.
Consider this. How many people do you think we could feed with all the school lunches thrown out, or not consumed daily?
I’m not even going to mention the potentially hazardous consequences of our kids actually eating these pre-made foods laced with additives, preservatives and other toxins. It again points to poor future health.
It’s time to make time, and money for valuable nutrition- especially in our schools. It’s time to start valuing the long-term benefits of whole nutrition.
-O. Salim Thornton, CWC