October 5, 2012

“Eat your motherf**kin’ lunch!” ~ Jon Stewart

National food fight over healthier school lunches grabbing headlines.

Extree, extree, school lunches suck and the portions are too small!
~ Jon Stewart

With the new school lunch guidelines, kids are allowed seconds on more fruits and veggies. But not on other stuff.

To that, Stewart says:

Like that counts as food! You know what we call fruits and vegetables at my school? Nerd grenades.

And to the kids protesting about still feeling hungry:

Now, I am obviously not a nutritionist or an educator, but if these kids are hungry, I guess my solution would be, “Eat your motherf*cking lunch!”

As a health-conscious mom, let me just say: This controversy is just… ridiculous.

Even before this lean toward more nutritious foods in school lunches (otherwise known as The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010), food waste comprised about 12 percent of total calories selected by students in the meal line (USDA’s 1991-92 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment). But some studies have found the figure ranging as high as 37 percent.

My take: The calorie cap on school lunches should not leave children hungry. If it doesn’t make them feel full, bring a snack. Eat a larger breakfast. Bring your own lunch.

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years-. 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged two to 19 years are obese.

Obesity is unhealthy and puts a strain on our health care system. Boom. So why would the government subsidize unhealthy food that feeds obesity? That would be somewhat, er, irresponsible.

School lunches are subsidized by the government—it’s an $11.1 billion program (fiscal year 2011).

Some would argue that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing school lunches. But 16.1 million children in the U.S. live in poverty and one out of five children in America (in America!) struggle with hunger. Many go to school hungry.

The most impoverished children qualify to receive a free school lunch and sometimes a snack. Some receive lunches at a cheaper cost.

Something tells me those aren’t the kids complaining about the healthier lunches.

One of seven low-income, preschool-aged children is obese.

How could that be? Maybe they live in a food desert or can only afford cheap, unhealthy food like the stuff off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu. For a buck you can get a sausage biscuit or McDouble burger. And easier access to processed foods (see Lexi’s comment below).

Even with the new lunch rules, a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza to count as a vegetable serving.

Last time I checked, a tomato was a fruit.

Note: In the interest of posting this video before it reached over-saturation across the blogosphere, I’ve oversimplified some things here. I invite you, dear reader, to submit articles about school lunches, child nutrition, the impact of poverty on children’s health, the benefits of transitioning to school lunches that support local farmers, etc.

Click here to learn more about the school lunch program.

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