School Lunches

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The Truth about Cafeteria Food
Can you believe that so many children in elementary schools do not bring their lunch to school because parents feel that it’s more convenient or a time saver in the mornings, so their kids eat the school cafeteria food? This topic is fascinating because little do most parents know what kind of food their child is being fed. Everyone should be aware of the many risks that are involved when sending their children off to school with the expectation that their kids will get a healthy meal. Along with knowing that their child is getting a healthy meal, many can agree that eating the school cafeteria food is a leading cause in childhood obesity.

First, when parents make their children’s lunches many will have a sandwich which will contain the nutrients of carbohydrates in the bread and protein in the meat. Along with a healthy sandwich many will also pack a fruit as well as a simple desert, such as jello or pudding. This lunch for a child is a very healthy and satisfying one because it contains food from almost all of the food groups. However on the other hand a child that eats a lunch in the school cafeteria may not be getting the same variety in their meal. According to research most of the schools surpass the limit of total and saturated fat contents of meals set by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the National School Breakfast Program (NSBP) (Carter). When I was a child I know that I did not want to bring my lunch to school because every day I saw the delicious looking food other kids were getting from the lunch lines. However, little did I know that all of the chicken nuggets, French fries, hamburgers, and chicken pot pies were so saturated with fat and grease that I was only possibly hurting myself in the long run. Nowadays more than 25 million students are on the NSLP and about 7 million are on the NSBP (Carter).

Along with these horrifying facts about the content of cafeteria food, many can agree that the problem also lies in the hands of the children. Children are given lunch menus usually for that week, this way the children can decide which days they want to eat in the cafeteria and which days they would prefer to bring their lunch. This would be the ideal reason for distributing menus but in reality this is not the case. Each day the cafeteria offers a few different choices for the kids to choose from. Having a variety is great for the kids, but we cannot control the choices our children make in the lunch lines. We all know that as a young child we all wanted the chicken nuggets and French fries meal, this meal in particular is not the healthiest choice. Many kids will pick this over the healthier choice because it’s what the fast food industries advertise so the kids must think it’s appetizing. Many schools also have a pizza meal offered everyday so it is always an available option. Eating pizza everyday could be a young child’s dream, and who is to stop it if they are on the lunch program and never bring their lunch to school? Some schools offer turkey sandwiches along with a piece of fruit and possibly a bag of chips. For all we know our children could be getting the same pizza or chicken nugget meal everyday and eating that type of food daily is not healthy for anyone at any age. In company with this high calorie meal the kids also get to choose their drink. Many schools have removed sodas from their menu but still offer juices that are very high in sugar or even a slushy drink with just as much sugar. Even if the children happen to get that turkey sandwich, if they are drinking a high sugary drink the end results are the same as eating a fattening meal. Kids have the choice to choose between milk and juice. Milk has calcium to grow strong bones, which every child cannot get enough of. Parents are not the only ones to blame; the children’s choices are also a culprit in the rising epidemic of childhood obesity. Knowing that all of these...
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