New School Lunch Guidelines (TX) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 03-05-2004, 07:49 AM
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Now this is how it should be!



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The state is cracking down on what your child eats during school hours. Wednesday the Texas Agriculture Commissioner released some strict guidelines changing what cafeterias serve and what students can buy from a vending machine.



More than 35 percent of Texas school children are overweight or obese. Right now Texas has a significantly higher rate than the rest of the nation.



For some it's the temptation. For others it's about choice. Next year those choices will be limited by the state. Vending machines at junior highs and high schools will be turned off at lunch. They won't stock candy or potato chips.



"The biggest change is they are going to see even more healthier options. More things like fruits and nuts and granola bars," AISD Student Health Coordinator Tracy Diggs said, "During meal serving times, we are encouraging students to try the food service department there will be an increase in fruits and vegetables and things students will like."



In the cafeteria, foods like french fries can only be purchased once a week and one serving at a time. Portion size will be limited when it comes to certain snacks and sweets. Whole milk will be phased out and replaced with low fat milk. As for juice, it must contain at least 50 percent juice and not too much sugar.



Full story...



http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp...5&nav=0s3dLHRK

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#2 Old 03-05-2004, 11:46 PM
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That's a great step in the right direction! Kudos to the Texas Agriculture Commissioner.
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#3 Old 03-05-2004, 11:56 PM
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35% overweight? Holy crap.
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#4 Old 03-06-2004, 10:29 AM
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Yay Texas. Yet another thing making me glad I decided on moving there
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#5 Old 03-06-2004, 10:39 AM
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This is great news. That's great that the changes are state-wide.

I was just reading in my local paper yesterday that my local school district recently quit serving french fries altogether. They have also switched over to whole grain bread only - no more white bread! Also, each week they serve a new and different fruit or veggie that most kids wouldn't normally have (pomegranates was one that went over well with the high school kids but elementary kids didn't like them). I'm pleased with these changes. Also, high fat foods (such as macaroni and cheese) are only being served occasionally, so it's more of a "treat".

They have also recently switched to irradiated meat though, which I don't really agree with.
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#6 Old 03-06-2004, 11:20 AM
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as a teacher in the Houston Independent School District, I have to totally disagree with this.



They have not made substantial changes, and the food they consider "healthy" is cheesy enchiladas, and all other kinds of junk. It is by far, NOT healthy.



What this law has done for teachers has been nothing short of a big pain in the ass. I am a speech pathologist. I used to have my kids collect stickers every time they come to speech. After 5 stickers, they could earn a piece of candy. They come to me twice a week....so that means every 2 1/2 weeks, they got ONE piece of candy. Now this is not allowed.



A good friend of mine who teaches third grade had the kids bending over backwards to do good work for ONE M & M. Just one. One M & M will not make a kid fat. What it does is give teachers a cheap incentive to reward their kids and keep them on task. It is fun for the students and affordable for the teachers. Surely one M & M every few days will not make a kid obese.



I now have to spend twice as much money to buy little plastic toys and such from the party store as rewards. My kids have to wait for every 10 stickers, and we're all bummed. What makes kids fat is not one M & M or one piece of candy every 2 1/2 weeks. Its going home to fast food every night and playstation 2.



I think its a real friggin shame that we cant have class parties with coke and chips once a year. Or cupcakes when its a kid's birthday. The cafeteria food is still junk, but Aramark profits from that so its okay. Its only the teachers who are getting penalized by this.



I still dont know what I will give my kids at our class party.



Oh, and just so you know. Their qualification as to whether something is healthy or not is whether it has MILK. So if I want to give a piece of candy, some chocolate is considered OK because it has milk high on the ingredient list. Please explain me the logic of how a low fat fruit candy is worse than chocolate. ESPECIALLY since I'm a vegan and I will not give my kids milk chocolate regardless.



Never put cowboys in charge of what is "healthy" or you will be eating animal products all day and night.



Also, the vegan teens in Houston have fought a never ending battle with the school district to offer vegan choices. Have gotten NOWHERE.



Lastly, I'd just like to mourn the state of education in general. Not only do I have my 3rd grade kids throwing up before the standardized testing and stressed like little businesspeople at the age of 9 (they are too young for that kind of pressure). We can no longer do any fun holiday activities or have class parties with cupcakes. I am a liberal, vegan, buddhist teacher, but I see nothing wrong with doing activities for christmas, hannukah, and kwanzaa. And a birthday party with friggin cupcakes. SCHOOL IS NO LONGER FUN.



XOXO

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#7 Old 03-06-2004, 11:27 AM
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Sorry but I have to disagree. I think kids should get one healthy meal a day regardless of what they eat or do at home. Yeah, a lot of parents will take their kids to McDonald's and then let them sit in front of the TV all night. All the more reason schools should do what they can while they have those kids. Even if it's just a little. It just blows my mind when my sister tells me she either had a pretzel or cheese fries for lunch every day.



Wether or not the schools are actually doing that I don't know. On CNN they showed salads and foods that looked to be healthy.



And if I had a teacher that had me bending over backwards to earn one M&M I'd egg her house big time. No kidding.

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#8 Old 03-06-2004, 11:29 AM
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if texas is anything like our school system, healthy isnt going to be worth anything. Our school system is supposed to have a healthy vegetarian option every day, do you know what it is? String Cheese. I'm dead serious, i'm vegan so that doesnt help me at all, but if i were still a vegetarian, string cheese would not be a main dish. They're going to have to do better than that for healthy.
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#9 Old 03-06-2004, 12:00 PM
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as i said in another post, my daughter's school did change over to a 'healthy' lunch program and replaced the chips etc in the vending machines and it caused a major uproar among the parents (a front page news uproar), resulting in the junk food being returned... i'm kind of torn on this because i feel that the school should have a responsible and healthy (not cheese strings or cheese buns) lunch program, as well as an education program to back it, but i do feed my child healthy and varied lunches so it is regarded as more of a treat for her to buy pizza fries or an ice cream with her allowance than anything.
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#10 Old 03-06-2004, 02:06 PM
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Michael,

You have to look at who defines "healthy." I swear, the teachers at my school think "healthy" is meat and dairy. seriously! they want a diet heavy in cheese and meat. what they consider healthy is shocking. many of the teachers at my school "don't like vegetables." I'm not making that up. If they eat vegetables, its a small side of corn or green beans with their barbecue. I dunno what you saw on the news, but my kids are not getting salads in the lunchroom.



As far as the M & M thing goes, remember these are third graders. They have to do the work anyhow, so why not work a little harder for an M & M. They actually love it. You'd probably think they'd think it was a rip off to get ONE piece of candy every 2 1/2 weeks. but they LOVED that. it was something to work for. a reward. better than nothing, which is what I can give now.



It may sound dramatic, but if any of you work or know someone who works for the public schools, money is SO TIGHT. it makes a huge difference to us not to be able to do this little sporadic candy rewards. Now i have the plastic toys in bins that they can choose every 10 stickers (or every 5 weeks). That is VERY expensive for me. When you have 50 kiddos, and each prize is about 10 cents...well call me a cheapskate, but I'm already spending hundreds each year on supplies, instructional materials, stickers, awards......this all comes out of my pocket. The prizes cost me an additional $75 a year.



I think its a nice thought that a child would get at least one healthy meal a day. But as a resident in texas, the concept of healthy here is completely BACKWARDS. Also, I'd like everyone to consider that school is not meant to handle everything in a child's life. What is the parents' responsibility? Sorry, but I hardly feel its the school's responsibility to keep a child from being obese. I have to vent about this a little because I truly think the general public is ignorant to the assinine expectations placed on schools. Teachers are held solely accountable for every facet of a child's development. We have some kids who have never done a stitch of work outside of school. No parental support, no book reading at home, nothing. We do the best we can. We put our heart into it every day. But these kids will continue to struggle with reading and basic skills if they don't have help outside of school. All of this going on with no counselors anymore due to budget cuts. No counselors! My elementary kids are SCARED when the police officer comes to give a talk. They want to know who he's coming for. It may seem like I'm going off topic, but I really do think its related to a general blaming of the schools for the problems of today's children. Parents need to take responsibility for their children's health and wellbeing, as well as their education. It cannot be done solely at school.



While its a nice idea to move toward healthier lunches, I think its assinine to take away all candy, birthday cupcakes, etc. Our schools are turning into one big boring standardized testing machine. Kids are losing their love of learning, and the fun parts about school. You know they even had to change all the science model lessons that involved marshmallows and gumdrops? They did planets, atom models, etc. involving those things. They are no longer allowed. I hardly see how a few lessons a year involving less than 10 gumdrops will hurt.



Another sad example, is what we used to do for the standardized tests. I literally have kids throwing up in the bathroom nervous over these tests (which in itself is pretty sad at age 9). One of the teachers found a study that showed peppermint helps kids focus and stay attentive on tests. Something goofy like that. So to boost the kids' confidence, we'd give them one starlight mint before the test, so they could be "extra smart." They get some glimmer of hope from that. Esp. those that struggle and don't qualify for special education help because of other ****ty texas laws. I watch them struggle to pass each year. It gives them a confidence boost, to get a mint before the test. Thats also now against the law. One friggin starlight mint.



There is so much to be taught and never enough time to learn it. If we don't instill in our children a love of learning and the desire to be life long learners, all of what we are doing is pretty wasted. Some of my fondest memories of elementary school were sharing cupcakes I made with my mom for a classroom birthday celebration. Or making a hannukah dreidel and learning about different holiday traditions. Now there are laws to make sure that neither take place. In fact, you are not even allowed to share any food with kids that's from home. It must be store bought....some safety issue. Its friggin crazy to me.



To me, the biggest problem is that its never consistent or logical. In my eyes, they've made arbitrary rules about whats healthy that are not logical or factual. They've made rules that hurt an already pitiful classroom environment, and they're still serving everything smothered in low quality cheese. So where's the health or the benefit?



XOXO

beth
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#11 Old 03-06-2004, 02:21 PM
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This is a fascinating topic for me. My stepdaughter comes home at least 3 times a week hiding some sort of soda, candy, chips, cookies, etc. paraphanalia that she got in some class at school or at an after school activity or from her theater group (not related to school). It makes me ill! I think it's kind of sad how much junk food motivates kids. How about some other motivation? I don't believe in using food as a reward. One M & M won't kill them obviously but I can see what the school is getting at. I am not a teacher but I would definitely be motivated to come up with other creative ways to reward the children.

I can't say much about my stepdaughter's eating habits but I think to the future and wonder how my vegan son will cope with all of this? How many friggen treats am I going to have to bake to send to school & other related activities? How many times is he going to be in a situation where there's a treat or a snack and I wasn't aware and he'll either go without or end up eating gelatine filled gummy snacks or some other cr*p?

Regarding all the meat and dairy at the TX schools, that's pretty sad. The article was misleading in that sense.
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#12 Old 03-06-2004, 02:36 PM
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From a nutritional standpoint, meat and dairy are still better then chips, pop, candy and french fries. It is a first step. These people aren't vegetarians or vegans, most of them people they are serving aren't...you can't expect the lunch room to be suddenly serving only baked beans and tofu sandwiches...and expect everyone to be happy with it. It's hard enough to get junk food out of schools.



Baby steps people.
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#13 Old 03-06-2004, 02:59 PM
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its so dumb tho... it probably costs them more to serve the crap food than it would to serve fresh foods like baked fries and real pizza or fruit kabobs...with veggie options like gravy etc... i know that now i've cut out the processed / precooked foods my food bill has dropped enormously...i also agree with kristadb in that we need to take baby steps ... just turning them on to whole foods is a good start...
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#14 Old 03-06-2004, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyK View Post

I think it's kind of sad how much junk food motivates kids. How about some other motivation? I don't believe in using food as a reward.



ITA. Especially candy. Doesn't this just set kids up to reward themselves with food as they grow into adulthood?



We *never* had candy as rewards in school. It was usually an extra 5 minutes of recess (if we were doing group work), cool pencils with designs on them, bookmarks, etc.



What's wrong with doing planetary models with clay or play-doh (which you can even make at home, so it's cheap) instead of gumdrops?



I don't think food needs to be so heavily associated with schoolwork. You can make school "fun" without having to involve food. We're food-obsessed as it is.



amy
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#15 Old 03-06-2004, 06:22 PM
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ITA. Especially candy. Doesn't this just set kids up to reward themselves with food as they grow into adulthood?



We *never* had candy as rewards in school. It was usually an extra 5 minutes of recess (if we were doing group work), cool pencils with designs on them, bookmarks, etc.



What's wrong with doing planetary models with clay or play-doh (which you can even make at home, so it's cheap) instead of gumdrops?



I don't think food needs to be so heavily associated with schoolwork. You can make school "fun" without having to involve food. We're food-obsessed as it is.



amy



cool pencils with designs on them cost a lot actually when you are buying for the amount of kids I am. believe me, I've looked into it. and recess can only be so long or you're missing out on instructional time. many schools have no recess at all......wonder if that affects obesity??



I just wouldn't agree that food is "heavily associated with schoolwork." Its so minor, but nice to have for certain things. candy is given sparingly, but its a cheap fun way to give rewards. other rewards cost more. even those tiny erasers. I've looked into it.



XOXOXO

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#16 Old 03-06-2004, 07:04 PM
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I get my daughter's monthly cafeteria menu, and I'm apalled at what they offer. That's not even as bad as her teachers SELLING chips/soda/candy from their classrooms! I'm sure all schools aren't like this. The school she attends is a DOD (Department of Defense) school, and the teachers are peddling junk food to the kids..... makes me furious.
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#17 Old 03-06-2004, 09:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SallyK View Post

My stepdaughter comes home at least 3 times a week hiding some sort of soda, candy, chips, cookies, etc. paraphanalia that she got in some class at school or at an after school activity or from her theater group (not related to school).



What stands out to me is that your stepdaughter feels the need to hide that type of food from you.
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#18 Old 03-06-2004, 10:19 PM
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Is it actually common for kids to eat from the cafeteria all the time there(I thought that was just in movies,lol)?

Here kids bring there lunch from home most days(which of course can be just as unhealthy as cafeteria stuff, but there's probably a bigger chance of it being healthy).

I don't really see the need to sell heaps of junkfood etc in schools, I think they are doing similar things here and trying to make the stuff sold in canteens "healthier", but most people would only buy there lunch once a week or so anyway, I personally never did cause everything always looked so gross We also don't have food vending machines in schools, at least we didn't at my school!
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#19 Old 03-07-2004, 10:51 AM
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What stands out to me is that your stepdaughter feels the need to hide that type of food from you.



Because she knows I dissaprove.



She's usually finishing the last bite of cookie or swig of soda as I pull up to the school to pick her up. Then she'll belch or something and blush, get all embarrassed and say "sorry!"



She's not very good at being discreet!
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#20 Old 03-07-2004, 11:12 AM
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What stands out to me is that your stepdaughter feels the need to hide that type of food from you.



Kids always do that. Rebelling is a part of growing up.
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