Earlier this week, an article was published on Macomb Patch about how schools will have to implement the new nutritional guidelines determined by the United States Department of Agriculture. It stated how pepperoni was to be left off pizza and meat alternatives, such as black beans, would need to be on the menu.
Some of the responses from this post have indicated that this may be too much government control, while others think this is a move in the right direction.
I understand how people feel that this might be too much government regulation. No one likes to feel controlled. But to be completely honest, I am happy to see that some guidelines are being put in place. Why is it acceptable to serve students food that is in high sodium, fat, and fructose corn syrup?
I work really hard to make sure my family eats whole foods and we try to incorporate meatless alternatives into our diet. I know that the black bean tacos that are a regular item on our menu are not the norm in many households. I have endured criticizing glares from parents when I have talked about introducing kale and quinoa to my kids. I get it: McDonald’s tastes good. Some days, there is nothing like a Quarter Pounder with cheese with fries and a coke.
Some days. As in every once in a while. And please don’t get the idea that we don’t eat junk at my house. I just bought package of Oreo cookies along with some ice cream sandwiches. However, these are treats they can have after they have eaten their healthy food, not instead of a balanced meal.
And even though I am happy to see there are guidelines in place, I question how strong they are. Cheese pizza is still not healthy just because the pepperoni has been omitted. Is it whole wheat crust? Is it real dairy cheese or cheese food product? Is the fruit cocktail in heavy syrup considered fruit? Does that “healthy” yogurt have as much sugar as a candy bar? Simply put, this is a good start, but I hope to see more changes in the future.
We send our children to school because we want them to become educated. We want them to learn how to read and write. We want them to be able to learn about math and how to problem solve. A student will learn things at school that a parent might to be able to teach them because they aren’t considered experts in subjects such as a foreign language or be aware of the intricate English grammar rules. Why is it considered “too much government control” if we want to teach our children about the importance of eating whole foods, avoiding genetically modified foods, and the benefits of eating a plant-based diet?
If parents have a negative outlook on the new dietary regulations, I can almost guarantee that the child will, too. Give a child a chance to be excited to try new foods rather than disgusted! The bottom line is, if you don’t want your child to eat school lunches, send them to school with food you deem as appropriate.
But to make a fuss about the new changes is parallel to being upset that smoking is not allowed in public establishments. Yes, smoking is unhealthy, and to pass that unhealthy choice onto others is irresponsible. However, smoking is still an individual choice with the option to smoke outside.
Do I think these new changes set by the government have everything we need to know about nutrition covered? No. Do I think it’s a good springboard to have conversations about healthy food with our children? Yes.
What do you think about these new changes?