August 9, 2006

horror in the elmentary school cafeteria

part of my job as an instructional assistant is to sit at the table with the kids while they eat lunch. and my, what a spectacle lunch can be. all the kids at the school get free lunch and free breakfast, and this year they are only supposed to get "healthy" food, but apparently the only restriction is no refined sugars...

they have several choices for lunch- salad bar, sandwiches, cheeseburgers, pizza, and whatever the daily special is. pretty much all the kids get pizza every day.... and then they load up their tray with ranch. some of my kids probably squirt about 3/4 to 1 cup of ranch on their tray every day. and then they dip their pizza in it. but it doesn't stop there. they put it on their green beans, baked beans, and peas and carrots. now i like ranch as much as the next guy (actually probably more than the next guy), so i know this blog sounds kind of hypocritical, but i don't put it on my peas OR green beans. the school has about 700 students, so i'd estimate that they go through at least 10 gallons of ranch a day. not only is it unhealthy, but it's a waste of money! even if it was as cheap as $1/gallon, that's $10/day, and with 180 days of school it comes to $1800 per year, money paid for ranch which is making them fat! i think the reason that they have ranch is for the salad bar, but it would be much more beneficial to have a fat free vinaigrette or something that the kids wouldn't really want to eat.

another thing that pisses me off is that the food service company is supposed to focus on providing the children healthy food, but instead of really doing it they are busy creating "healthy and fit" cartoon characters to tack onto the walls. those stupid cartoons are such a waste of resources. i've never seen a kid even look at one of them, and even if they did, who wants to eat healthy because a starfish on rollerblades told you to?

oh, and every student gets a styrafoam tray each day at lunch, which they throw away. awesome.

Posted by JenMagenta at August 9, 2006 6:46 PM

wow...that is messed up. you should bring up these points to the administration in chart form and maybe they'll give you a raise with all the money they'll save...or put you in charge of saving money. and the environment. and the kids' health.

Posted by: mallio at August 9, 2006 9:54 PM

I dunno, sounds a lot like a college dining hall to me. I remember in a video they showed us at Freshmen Convocation there was some alumna who talked about how she learned that putting ranch on everything made the food taste better. Also, how many people ate pizza every day at Willowbrook?
But yeah, there are definitely some serious problems with school lunch programs. Have any of you seen Supersize Me? They visited a school in Naperville and talked about their lunch program.

Posted by: Dan at August 10, 2006 9:27 AM


Posted by: DorK at August 10, 2006 1:08 PM

Light ranch (if thats what they are using) is actually pretty healthy for you. Lots of calcium, and plenty of other vitamins.

I'm assuming the pizza is as bad as the pizza that willowbrook had, which means its probably not as bad for you as rosati's or others of the type. Maybe they use a whole grain crust? Nutritious food disguised as junk food is pretty popular... Have you ever had the healthy choice french bread pizza's? They don't suck, and actually have tons of antioxidants, calcium, and very little fat (mostly from the low-fat cheese).

The styrofoam tray thing is bullshit. I'm no big environmentalist, but That just doesn't make sense! Use plastic trays! I'm it won't cost them more money to wash the trays... I mean, I know styrofoam is cheap, and the 800 trays a day probably only costs about 20 bucks... but you can hire a dishwasher for an hour for that and have enough money to pay for the needed water and soap too...without throwing away a bunch of crap

Posted by: Dan at September 17, 2006 10:23 PM
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