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Calorie Count Blog

School Lunch Changes: What They Mean for You


By +Carolyn Richardson on Jan 28, 2012 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

The United States Department of Agriculture(USDA), with the help of the health conscious First Lady Michelle Obama, announced changes to the National School Lunch Program for the first time in 15 years as part of the implementation of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. The changes come at a time when reports about childhood obesity are at an all time high, which has implications for public health for generations to come. Whether or not you're a parent, you can benefit from the new plans. Creating a healthy lifestyle is not about cutting out foods, but broadening the scope of healthy food choices.

More Whole Grains, Fruit, and Vegetables

The new changes require school lunches to include a minimum amount of whole grains, fruit and vegetables, whereas prior regulations did not have any quantifiable recommendations. The rules draw from the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and for the first time requires specific amounts of healthy options in school lunches through grade 12. Covering both breakfast and lunches served, there is now a minimum and maximum limit on the nutritional content of meals. Specifically, half of all grains, in both breakfast and lunches, have to be whole grains - by 2014, all grains served will be whole grain. The amount of fruits and vegetables have doubled from up to 3/4 cup to up to two cups. The rules also require both a fruit and vegetable be served at breakfast. Regarding vegetables, the new requirement specifies the type of vegetable group to be served, which now includes dark green, red or orange, beans or peas, and starchy. The requirement for meat and meat alternative items now has a minimum one ounce serving. The changes mean a marked increase in phytonutrients and fiber. The new specifics of vegetable subgroups may result in less processed foods as the requirements for dark green, beans and pea options suggest whole foods.

Less Saturated Fats,Trans Fat, and Sodium


The addition of healthier fare comes with cuts to less nutritious food. New rules require all milk served to be fat-free or low-fat milk. What's more, flavored milk is now required to be fat-free. Trans fat has to be completely cut from the menu as well. Sodium is currently not regulated in school lunches, and it will be a while until the changes are made. Starting in 2014, a gradual draw-down of sodium will see sodium cut in half in lunches and a quarter in breakfasts by the year 2022. Saturated fats will stay at the less than 10% of total calories served. The American Heart Association suggests less than 7% saturated fat of total daily calories.

Portion Control & Discretionary Calories

If you can believe it, there is currently no upper limit on calories in school breakfasts and lunches. The new rules set K-5 lunches be between 550-650 calories, 600-700 for grades 6-8 and 750-850 for grade 9-12. Breakfasts are 200 calories less than the lunch recommendations. A recommended range for most school-aged kids is between 1600 and 2500 calories a day. The school lunch requirements make up more than 66% of daily calorie needs, which is right on target. The changes however, don't seem to factor snacks or discretionary calories. The ranges also seem markedly high for sedentary and overweight or obese children.

Impact on Obesity

The new rules were promoted as a way to combat childhood obesity, but in public comment, people expressed concern about specific issues that may affect the impact of the new rules. One of the items in the 80-page Final Rule mentions a la carte foods be "relative to their costs be at least as high as the revenue streams for Program meals compared to their costs." This suggests the price of alternative food choices such as cookies, drinks or other snack bar food may get more expensive. However, the new rules do not require any limits on the availability of these items. Another item hidden in the lengthy document shows the public is concerned that the meal calorie ranges are too high for students who may not be as active as previous decades. Commenters also had issue with the lack of limits on added sugars for products such as such ready-to-eat cereal, grain-based desserts, and dairy-based desserts in the new rules. Despite the positive steps towards more nutritious food, this nor any other policy will be able to prevent unhealthy food choices by children or adults. However, because healthier options are now available, it is a step in the right direction.


To see a comparison menu from the old offerings to the new click here.


Your thoughts...

How have your lunches changed since you started counting calories? What else would you change in school lunch rooms if you had a say in it?



Comments


I wi start by saying, what a great idea to have heather choices delivered to our children. My oldest is 17 and I have been packing lunches for all of my children when he started kindergarten because I was not going to pay fir lunch that I did not feel carried a high nutritional value. My concern: not all families in america can afford to feed their children high quality foods or choose to feed them processes foods because, let's face it, they are cheaper and kids like them. When they go to school and eat less calories (which they will not be used to) we wil have classrooms full of tired cranky and over hungery children. I know that when I changed my diet years ago the first week or two left me unsatified and sugar deprived. I was cranky and hungry. I think that over all this is a great step but education at home is where this should start.


Personally I believe so much grain is the issue. We eat low carb here. I have lost over two hundred and fifty pounds. My son has lost thirty. He's not been eating low carb much tho. He still gets snack cakes etc.

 

I think they should re-evaluate the food plate (pyramid) idea. Move grains to the smallest portions, like fats. They won't tho because thats the only way people can afford to eat. Plus Monsanto gets and pays good money.

 

Read "Wheat Belly". You will be amazed!!!!



I'm surprised the article mentions twice that the calorie limits in the new rules may be too high. These are kids, and the last thing you want to do is risk underfeeding growing children. The limit may be a little higher than a sedentary teen needs, but you can't underfeed normal weight active kids to make the obese kids lose weight. I'm not a big believer of having grade-school kids count calories; I don't think they should "diet" the same as adults. I dieted at 14 and 15 (weight watchers) and I really believe it was unhealthy, it started some really bad habits (eating too little fat for years), and it didn't work. The calorie counts are high because these are growing children, and you can't base an entire school's diet on the unhealthiest of the bunch.



Our middle school lunches in 1969 included burgers and shakes...the cafeteria ladies couldn't keep up with the demand! Horrible nutrition. I never saw a salad in school. The closest we came to fruit was Jello. I think its way past time to address the school lunch issue in a way that focuses more on good nutrition and less on cost effectiveness.



The school that I work at already is adding more fresh fruits and vegetables and more whole grains. They are even introducing new types of fruits and veggies for the kids to try. Loving this new healthier lunches for my daughter and the rest of the kids!



What about those kids who are diabetic? Should they eat more whole grains like the ADA says?

Whole grains raise blood sugar. Just not as drastically as white or highly processed grains. Either way tho it still raises blood sugars and makes our body convert the excess into fat.

Why do that to out kids?

Might as well feed them candy!

Limit the carbs. Lots of nutritious meat and veggies. Whats wrong with that. The kids on lower income will probably end up with lots of carbs in their meals at home if they are lucky enough to get meals at home.

I know too many moms who are proud of the fact they can't cook and just buy prepackaged food and microwave to feed their kids. Either that or McDonalds. Burger and fries, carb heaven. Would you consider a pickle a serving of vegetables? Oh sorry according to out president a vegetable is actually Ketchup!!!! Insane, crazy, right? Sure is for me!



Grain is used to fatten cattle for slaughter.. Think about it.. 



Amen rancherga!!!!!!



FDA food pyramid is the biggest problems. Grains make people fat. Whole grains are not different. Then, kids are not as active as they used to be. In fact, schools forbid much of the physical activities of 40-50 years ago. Hamburgers and milk shakes had no effect when kids burned more calories than they consumed. The science of nutrition is fundamentally flawed. We are told, based on metabilism "science" that we need protein, for example, to build muscle. Well, look at bull - it eats nothing, but grass :-) and the muscles on that animal are huge. Nothing but... Of course, today, grain fed cattle is as fat as our children :-(



This is true tho there are some of us who do need high amounts of protein. I think it mostly falls upon what our ancestors ate. If our ancestors ate lots of protein then that is probably what we do best on. If our ancestors ate lots of veg then that's probably what we do best on. There are even a few cultures who do well on grains like rice. Unfortunately mine isn't one....lol. Or bread. That's my downfall, fresh baked bread. I'd walk a mile for a loaf but it would make me fat. Worked too hard to get down to where I am for a simple loaf of bread.



Tax dollars spent to tell us what's best for our children to eat.  It's obvious by reading these posts that there is a whole lot of us that already know how to do that and we're not of the same opinion as the First Lady.  No disrepesct intended, of course.  The good news is that those of us who know better will continue to feed our families based on their unique needs rather than based on the information coming from the well-intended (?), impartial (??) reserach of our government-affiliated agencies.  For those of us rasing cattle, bring on the grains! For those of us that need only be concerned with feeding our families, stay the course!



My oldest son participated in EVERY sport at his high school.  His calorie needs for a day...4000!!  Was he ever or is he obese now?  NO...he is a college football player and still probably consumes thousands of calories (hard to know when I'm not there).  But, he polices his own diet...has learned to eat more veggies and fruits.  And this in a cafeteria with lots of bad choices.  When he came home from college on break, his food requests were healthy. 

So shouldn't the focus be on what each individual student needs?  Wouldn't we be better off teaching students better choices rather than forcing it?  Cause let's face it...if kids aren't getting the amount they need, then they'll bring worse stuff from home!  I see it in the Red Bulls and powdered donuts  packed in student lunches that their parents give them.

I work in a school and know that the high school students often complain that the amounts are too small.  For extremely active students, this can be a concern.  How can we address their needs?  Seconds are no longer allowed.  And if you've ever been around a hungry teenage boy, you know they are no joy!

According to the public and feds, kids were skinny when they came to school and school meals made them fat.  Really?  Food habits and choices come from home. 

I'm not opposed to good food choices but think we are focusing too much on the needs of a small group of children.  We have to provide for ALL the students and we're missing the boat for some kids, especially those in small schools who are very active.  And I think we're putting the blame on the wrong institution.

 



It's wonderful that people are working to build healthier kids. These eating habits will serve for a lifetime, giving everyone a chance to grow into happy adults with a sensible view of food. Looking forward to hearing more news of people helping improve health. Thank you for this article CC, great way to start my day!


I manage a school kitchen and I can tell you that most of these changes are not working.  The kids in my school are 9 and 10 year olds.  Our school is 80% free or reduced.  Even more and more of these kids are bringing their lunches from home because they don't like the lunches.  They pass up the healthy choices or throw them away.  Our school is 82% free or reduced and even a lot of these kids are bringing lunches from home because they don't like the school lunches.  So they bring sandwiches, chips and Ho Hos.  The solution starts at home.  We have family lunches once a month and the parents come to eat with the kids.  They com in with McDonald's or Pizza hut food.  After school the kids go home and sit in front of the computer or television.  I do realize that healthy food is important to eat but I think that parents need to teach portion control and activity.  I also think that schools don't take enough time for activity.  The principle in my school would be happy if the kids could eat a sandwich at their desk while they work.  Kids have a lot of energy and schools need to make more time for them to move, move, move. Parents need to do this also.



Ok, well first of all...grains do not make people fat. Pick up an academic nutrition book instead of relying on random articles by fad diet gurus, even if they do have "M.D." after their name. Too many calories make you fat, because of how you process food. However, grains are definitely too highly emphasized by the Food Pyramid, in my opinion. But considering that grains are one of the most highly subsidized agricultural products, I do not foresee grains being relocated to a smaller bit of the pyramid until those subsidies stop.

Honestly, I do not mind whole grain white flour products...like "white wheat" and what not. But I do not like wheat pastas, breads, or other things like that very much. I just don't think its realistic to expect children to eat things that do not taste good. I know that whole grains encompasses so much more than "whole wheat", but it seems like that is the main way many of us still get our whole grain.

I just still don't see whats wrong with picking up a slice of pizza along with some salad and fruit cubes. ALSO...many children in the school lunch line choose what to eat anyway. So if they are offered only healthy options, you would think they will just choose healthy options. But if thats not how they eat at home, won't they just find a way to get the food they want?

This is a hard issue...I approve of changing the requirements. At least this will force schools to spend more money on their lunch programs to provide the healthy choices that should be there too.



I agree becky377! Kids will just find a way to keep enjoying the food lifestyle they know from home. We need to bring recess and play time back to schools. I've taken many health classes, and there is loads of research backing that this type of freeform activity strengthens the learning capacity of children and gives them time to get out all their energy.



These folks are not connected to reality.  I've seen a couple of these initiatives by well-meaning busybodies fail miserably because they cannot prepare food the kids like in the way they like it.  It is almost impossible.  How many of us just can't wait until our next trip to a cafeteria? LA decided to let these well meaning fools take charge of the school meals with the result that is an utter disaster. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/17/local/la-me-food-lau sd-20111218 unless you are into black market food for school kids.

Does anyone really think that little Johnny having a cheeseburger and fries salted to taste with a coke for lunch, or a slice of pizza are going to turn him into the next 600lb high blood pressure candidate for the Biggest Loser?  Parents are responsible for what their kids eat, not some distant government official who won't be anywhere near their good ideas when they fail.

School breakfast?  Parent's responsibility, not the taxpayers.  Mommy and/or Daddy can get up and prepare breakfast.  Can't afford it?  I bet they can afford cell phones and cable TV.  Matter of priorities.

 

 



First off, I want to know how many of you actually go to a school and see the disgusting food these children are eating. How can anyone complain about adding whole grains to the lunch menu? Kids shouldn't have to worry about carbs. They are going to be served carbs, shouldn't these include whole grains instead of the while, unhealthier foods? I am really happy that Mrs. Obama is trying to fix this situation in schools. This is a great step in the right direction! Examples from my son's school lunch menu are; chili dogs, pizza, popcorn chicken, cheeseburgers, French toast sticks, etc. Breakfast is prepackaged cinnamon rolls, sugary cereal, sugary Trix yogurt, chocolate milk, etc. Really people? Why are you complaining about this?


melrowe: It is not Ms. Obama's or USDA's job to fix the school lunch program in the schools your kids go to.  It is yours.  becky377 indicated some of the problems with well meaning intentions.  If you don't like the school lunch, make their lunches.  It is what we did back in the dark ages.  In fact, my kids made their lunches after about third or fourth  grade.



Original Post by: ruiner38

I'm surprised the article mentions twice that the calorie limits in the new rules may be too high. These are kids, and the last thing you want to do is risk underfeeding growing children. The limit may be a little higher than a sedentary teen needs, but you can't underfeed normal weight active kids to make the obese kids lose weight. I'm not a big believer of having grade-school kids count calories; I don't think they should "diet" the same as adults. I dieted at 14 and 15 (weight watchers) and I really believe it was unhealthy, it started some really bad habits (eating too little fat for years), and it didn't work. The calorie counts are high because these are growing children, and you can't base an entire school's diet on the unhealthiest of the bunch.


I don't think that grain is the problem.  I am vegetarian so my diet consists only of grains, fruits, and vegetables and I have never needed to lose over 250 lbs.  



I think my school worked well with what they could afford.
They took out all sodas and sugary snacks from our vending machines, replacing them with milks, waters, veggies, and fruits (except one row of gatorade, which came in handy during day-long tennis meets).

In addition, they fed us good amounts of each food group.
They also fed a variety of food styles - american, mexican, asian, etc. because of the different ethnicities in my school.
If we didn't want to eat the regular lunch, we could choose salad bar on M/W, potato bar on T/H, or sub bar on F.

Looking back, I really loved my school lunches - they were healthy, affordable, and delicious.
The only problem I think my school had was letting kids get doubles or triples on meals.
Most of them getting multiple servings were football players - but a good bunch of them were also the overweight kids.

I think if they stop offering leftovers at the end of the last lunch period, the obesity would go down a little bit.
But, in the end, I have to agree that what the kids eat at home matters too.
Despite their attempts to give us only healthy foods, as soon as I got home I would head for the snack cakes, sodas (though I had given up soda by 10th grade), and sweets - leading me to still be overweight, weighing in between 160-180.

If I have children someday, I plan to give them good healthy meals, and, like my school, save the sweets for holidays and special events. 



Healthy lunches sound great.   I think you can lead a horse to water...but you can't make him drink...may be the end result--unless parents follow through at home.

I walked in a school lunch room many years ago.  It pained me to see the food in the trash--even home prepared meals.   

If kids don't like it or are not familiar with a food, I do not think they will eat it.  

 

Marbeth



Sorry, I worked in a school lunch room.  I'm, with Becky 737.

Also like to say Kids need fat for their brains.   Whole milk for little ones. 

I have two McD grand children who just wail until they get home to eat.

Teaching them in a classroom what is healthy and why will do more to change their choices.  And PE and recess to burn some calories and give them an appetite.

 

 



Grains do not make you fat!!!  Eating too much food makes you fat.  I am anti cruelty so I do not eat meat.  Kids and adults both need to get more exercise and eat a balanced diet.  I eat grains almost with every single meal - oatmeal for breakfast, multi grain bread for lunch and some kind of whole wheat bread with dinner and I nor anyone in my family is fat.  It's all about balance.  I don't eat stuff that comes out of a box.  I go to the gym 4-5 times a week and I walk when the weather is nice.  



Original Post by: melrowe

First off, I want to know how many of you actually go to a school and see the disgusting food these children are eating. How can anyone complain about adding whole grains to the lunch menu? Kids shouldn't have to worry about carbs. They are going to be served carbs, shouldn't these include whole grains instead of the while, unhealthier foods? I am really happy that Mrs. Obama is trying to fix this situation in schools. This is a great step in the right direction! Examples from my son's school lunch menu are; chili dogs, pizza, popcorn chicken, cheeseburgers, French toast sticks, etc. Breakfast is prepackaged cinnamon rolls, sugary cereal, sugary Trix yogurt, chocolate milk, etc. Really people? Why are you complaining about this?

I go in one every day!  Do you?

becky377 is right.  The kids don't eat unfamiliar food and the parents don't make them. They throw away anything they don't like the look or taste or texture or color of...especially if their friends won't eat it either.

We're not complaining that the foods could get healthier in the cafeteria.  We're complaining that the school cafeteria is NOT the source of the problem!  It will not matter what we offer the students if the parents continue to pack lunchables (look at those nutrition labels!) and coke for their kids.

As for activity, my small rural school still has recess and P.E.  As for why a principal would like a sandwich served at the student's desk...that principal's job depends on TEST SCORES, not whether or not a student is overfed, underfed, or fat.  However, that is a whole different rant!

Why do schools always take the blame?  As I said before, the kids were skinny before they came to school?  WE made them fat?  Really?!



I think the new guidelines are great for children and parents. Even though some people might not be familiar with what some foods do to their body they will at least have someone doing it for them in a small way through regulation.



The article did NOT say that school lunch made kids fat and school meals are the government's area.  So, I say, I am really glad to see them regulating it to more healthy options. 

When I was in school, we had both, healthy and unhealthy and yes the overweight kids often chose unhealthy.  But, I had friends who wanted to get healthy and they chose good options especially because they didn't have those options at home.

As a teacher, I have seen awful food come from cafeterias where there was NO healthier option.  So, I take my lunch to work but feel bad for the kids that don't have that option.

The guidelines are a start.  Making it taste good is up to the wonderful people who really do care for these kids and have to work with what they are given.



Well here is the deal...we all pay school tax that subsidizes the school lunch program. I would rather pay for healthier choices than pay for junk. That's all.



The carb argument aside, I think the new school lunch is definitely a step in the right direction. If you want kids to eat, you have to feed them stuff they like, much of which is bread and noodles. So if they're gonna eat noodles, I'd rather they eat whole-grain noodles than white noodles. Increasing the amounts of real veggies and fruits available and reducing unnecessary fat is also good. When I was in high school, only 4 years ago, we were served mac'n'cheese that was terrifyingly greasy, pizza that had to be blotted to read the greasiness of Pizza Hut, terrible canned vegetables that even salt couldn't save, and mushed-up, sugar-coated fruit-like substance. So yeah, the new regulations are an improvement, no matter how you look at it.

My one concern is that the cost will go up. It will be a burden on parents who can to pay for the school lunch program, and it's likely that more kids will be placed on the free or reduced-cost lunch program, causing the government to have to shell out more money for that, which we will ultimately pay for in our taxes. I'm willing to pay a little extra taxes for healthier kids everywhere, but not everybody is.



Original Post by: greener333

These folks are not connected to reality.  I've seen a couple of these initiatives by well-meaning busybodies fail miserably because they cannot prepare food the kids like in the way they like it.  It is almost impossible.  How many of us just can't wait until our next trip to a cafeteria? LA decided to let these well meaning fools take charge of the school meals with the result that is an utter disaster. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/dec/17/local/la-me-food-lau sd-20111218 unless you are into black market food for school kids.

Does anyone really think that little Johnny having a cheeseburger and fries salted to taste with a coke for lunch, or a slice of pizza are going to turn him into the next 600lb high blood pressure candidate for the Biggest Loser?  Parents are responsible for what their kids eat, not some distant government official who won't be anywhere near their good ideas when they fail.

School breakfast?  Parent's responsibility, not the taxpayers.  Mommy and/or Daddy can get up and prepare breakfast.  Can't afford it?  I bet they can afford cell phones and cable TV.  Matter of priorities.

 

 


I agree Greener333. What ever happened to parents being responsible for their kids. Is it really the governments responsibility to feed our kids? It must be a nightmare for the schools....nutritious meals...that kids will eat...but don't forget about food allergies....crazy parents...state & city rules...budget issues....



I don't even mind paying more for the lunch  IF the kids eat it.  Not for good food to go in the garbage.



Just sounds like more taxes to me!  How about add something like physical ed to the schedule and let the kids outside to play.  Not much of that happens anymore.  It is not the food making kids obese, it is inactivity.   Kids sit in school all day and then go home and sit and play video games.  Children needs lots of calories to play and grow.  When my grand daughters are having a growing spurt, they eat more.  Schools are strapped for cash as it is and now the government is forcing them to change and spend MORE money?!! 

 



The vegetarian thing doesn't work for everyone. My cousin is a vegetarian and is well over six hundred pounds.

Kids will eat what they are taught to eat. Which is the largest problem.

I don't have too much of an issue if they some carbs, as in whole grains, but have you seen the lunch menu's. They consider ketchup a vegetable! They often will offer several servings of carbs, pizza crust, macaroni and a roll all in one meal. Crazy!

I think the biggest issue tho is to teach the parents to prepare healthy meals at home. Like I have said before I know several women who are actually proud of the fact that they do not know how to cook. The buy everything prepared and microwave it all. I know kids who do not know what most vegetables look like. Can't tell the difference between a zucchini and a carrot. How sad is that.

Yes I was super morbidly obese. I got that way by eating tons of carbs. Some of us can't handle that. Some can. I have worked hard to lose the weight and i'm proud of the fact that I did it. I'm not proud of the fact that I needed to.

I supported my two sons and we all know how much boys can eat. I did it with no child support because my ex husband, their father, ran from state to state to avoid paying it. So I fed them the best of what we had and I ate what little was left with pasta, potatoes, rice and bread. I needed to make what we had stretch to fill me up. Thats what did me in. That is also the bane of many poor families. They have to use carbs in extreme to fill their family up the only way they can afford to.



Money can be an issue for some parents. But you can make healthy meals that are low cost. However it does take work...shopping the sales & COOKING from scratch. Many of the parents here in Northern California scream poverty but always seem to have money for cigarettes, alcohol, street drugs, cell phones, cable TV & tattoos.

There are many books/web site that have healthy low cost recipes.


I just turned 65 and that was my wake up call. High cholesterol, sugar in the blood, bad HDL and LDC numbers... who knew? I feel fine! But I am blessed to have a client, Regina Porter, RN (Nutri-fit by Regina - www.nutri-fitoftheemeraldcoast.com) who urged me to go out everyday and walk for an hour. About two weeks later she added that I carry some weights. As soon as I started carrying my 2-pound weights I started doing a ''tiny jog'' - waving my arms and getting ''a beat'' (I'd be lost without my iPod, thank you Steve Jobs) but my hips and knees hurt. She advised tiny steps. Its not the distance, its the amount of sustained movement for a period of time.

Now its about three or four months later and "my shape'' is totally changing: thinner legs, my barrel belly from the breast bone to the pelvic bone is greatly diminishing as well as my butt. I use a bladder control pad when I trot and that gave me a lot of confidence. Plus, I don't leak like I use to under ''non-exercise'' conditions.

I still struggle with drinking more water and controlling my sweets -- Yes! High fiber wasa crackers with a thin spread of butter and honey -- I am a devious sugar addict. I place my water glass everywhere I am, within arms length -- a sip is better than no water. But those two things are slow in improvement.

And exercise doesn't lose weight. I'm still at 150 and 130 is my goal.

So I still struggle with smaller portions. Yesterday was a cup of brown rice with butter and salt and a half head of lettuce with red peppers, mushrooms, and cucumber with virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic powder and basil flakes..... and lots of Wasa crackers -- doctored up or plain.

Sometimes I can count calories and then I stop: I feel like I've become my own "Big Brother" so I stop.

I guess I'm still a wily child!

But over all, the steady exercise is the best. I really look forward to fleeting out of my house to the park and trotting to and from and around the measured mile at the park.

I don't know what ''age'' is -- but I can tell you that 60 was a hard pill to swallow, and 65 is kind of the sign that says, "Stop fretting and get living" -- because time is still going to march on whether I worry about it or not!

I love this newsletter -- I read a little something in it every day!



I think the good news is that nobody is taking away your choice to send your kid to school with a sack lunch that you make for them.  If you dont want your kids to have whole grains then you have the option of sending them to school with something you feel they should have.  I do think that whole grains are important because carbs may be making adults fat but everyone needs carbs for energy.



People keep saying that "schools" determine that ketchup is a vegetable and the serving sizes.  Actually, the federal government determined that ketchup is a vegetable...those of us in the school business know that it is not.  But, the guidelines are VERY specific on the EXACT amounts and combinations of foods you can serve.  So, even when healthier options are offered there will still be strict guidelines on the combinations and the amounts that can be served.   

And no one has mentioned the subsidies that the government sends the schools...talk about bad!  Quit blaming the local schools...they are doing the best they can with what the government is requiring and what they are sent. 

If we want to help with the obesity epidemic, quit allowing food stamps (and our tax dollars) to buy the junk.  Make fresh produce and other healthy foods the things allowed.  HOME is where the true lessons are learned.



Oops! I think my comment didn't relate to school lunches -- I somehow commented on the wrong forum-- sorry!

 



1 in every 3 children are overweight or obese. It use to be 1 in 4 and now its 1 in 3! Some  families are not educated on how to eat healthy...this change is for them. Diabetes is on the rise and the number one cause is obesity...this change is for them. If you look at the comparison chart link at the bottom...you will see how loose the guidelines were before leaving children the poor opportunity to make bad choices. This can help children make good choices from good options (its a no brainer). On average only 6% of adults get the recomended 2 and 1/2 cups of fruits and veggies a day... are kids are going to be one step behind us. Its is not a gimic that fruits and vegetables are good for us....its a fact. I dont understand all the resistance and negative comments that people posted. Its so sad. I am months away from becomind a Registered Dietitian and its dis-heartening to hear these comments. Look on the bright side and stand up for something as simple as eating healthy. 



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Original Post by: izziann

I just turned 65 and that was my wake up call. High cholesterol, sugar in the blood, bad HDL and LDC numbers... who knew? I feel fine! But I am blessed to have a client, Regina Porter, RN (Nutri-fit by Regina - www.nutri-fitoftheemeraldcoast.com) who urged me to go out everyday and walk for an hour. About two weeks later she added that I carry some weights. As soon as I started carrying my 2-pound weights I started doing a ''tiny jog'' - waving my arms and getting ''a beat'' (I'd be lost without my iPod, thank you Steve Jobs) but my hips and knees hurt. She advised tiny steps. Its not the distance, its the amount of sustained movement for a period of time.

Now its about three or four months later and "my shape'' is totally changing: thinner legs, my barrel belly from the breast bone to the pelvic bone is greatly diminishing as well as my butt. I use a bladder control pad when I trot and that gave me a lot of confidence. Plus, I don't leak like I use to under ''non-exercise'' conditions.

I still struggle with drinking more water and controlling my sweets -- Yes! High fiber wasa crackers with a thin spread of butter and honey -- I am a devious sugar addict. I place my water glass everywhere I am, within arms length -- a sip is better than no water. But those two things are slow in improvement.

And exercise doesn't lose weight. I'm still at 150 and 130 is my goal.

So I still struggle with smaller portions. Yesterday was a cup of brown rice with butter and salt and a half head of lettuce with red peppers, mushrooms, and cucumber with virgin olive oil, vinegar, salt, garlic powder and basil flakes..... and lots of Wasa crackers -- doctored up or plain.

Sometimes I can count calories and then I stop: I feel like I've become my own "Big Brother" so I stop.

I guess I'm still a wily child!

But over all, the steady exercise is the best. I really look forward to fleeting out of my house to the park and trotting to and from and around the measured mile at the park.

I don't know what ''age'' is -- but I can tell you that 60 was a hard pill to swallow, and 65 is kind of the sign that says, "Stop fretting and get living" -- because time is still going to march on whether I worry about it or not!

I love this newsletter -- I read a little something in it every day!


how inspiring!!! GREAT TIP on the movement ideas,  I got the wii for christmas, and am moving so much more and also am more aware of my body, not the good stuff either, was wondering how to attack my big belly.  I am nervous about walking in the winter, but the way you talk about it, it makes sense!!

About the school lunches, I believe children emulate adults whenever possible, if more adults are on the same page in pointing kids to the right direction we may be able to turn this around.  Kids also notice thier parents unhealthy issues as well,  lets give them an option to a healthier and happier future.



I understand what people have been saying about parents needing to take control of their kids eating habits and teach them at home, but why should kids suffer for having failures as their parents? The only way to break the cycle of ineffective parenting and teen parents, and obese children, and welfare is to teach the cultural values in school to young children when they still respect their teachers, and to teach things like actual sex education in schools, since parents are obviously not doing that either. 

Personally, I think this is a great way to work toward a better, healthier society, especially if two things happen at the same time as this policy is implemented: 1. Nutritional classes become a part of health classes, especially in K-5 when eating habits are learned; 2. Cafeteria workers learn to make healthy foods that taste good to a wide variety of children. This second thing is possible with a few tricks to make the foods look like the stuff they get at home, or at least make foods that are similar, but healthier. If these kids are used to eating Hamburger Helper, make a goulash with diced carrots, squash or zucchini, corn, green beans, and/or peas, as well as low-fat ground beef or shredded chicken. This works with my cousins, and I can even tell them what is in their food, and they will still eat it. If the cafeterias can make food that is healthy and tastes decent to kids, I think it will help make healthier children, despite their parents. 



Hmm.  The school where I work serves leftover pizza from the snack bar and chocolate muffins as breakfast.  Standard lunch fare still includes pizza or cheeseburger or those weird sealed together PBandJ sandwiches, plus a roll, plus fries or hashbrowns.  many times the fruit/veggie choice is either an under-ripe rock hard piece of fruit or canned fruit packed in corn syrup or a ketchup packet or a bit of lettuce and pickle as optional garnish for the burger.  They have, at least, started using whole wheat for the rolls and buns.  Definitely not for the pizza crust, though.  

My personal favorite is when they have 'bar food' lunch- mozzarella sticks, pretzel sticks, fake cheeze dipping sauce and/or ranch dressing, and the veggie is the tablespoon of marinara that comes with the fried cheese.  I half expect them to just tap a keg to round out the meal.  



In my school's defense, they did once try to implement a salad bar, and many local farmer's markets were willing to give us the stuff for it for practically nothing, but we got in trouble and had to shut it down because we're contracted to get all the food served in the cafeteria from a single distributor, and they aren't distributing salad bar material.  It wound up being that we could have it if it wasn't in the cafeteria and anyone on free or reduced lunch would not be able to purchase it and when looking at the numbers and problems of trying to find a place appropriate to place it it was decided that it wasn't worth the trouble, especially since 3/4 of our students are on the free/reduced lunch program.



I am not really against the changes to the food,or the rework of the program since it is a pretty safe platform to  be against childhood obesity

I am against the changes to the cost ,Obamas plan already mandated that people who pay for lunch be charge higher prices! So Obama put a tax on my children's lunch, I do not make 250K 

my son chooses to buy the food from the snack bar sometimes since money in his account often goes missing do to the hap hazard way school lunch programs track who uses  peoples accounts

 and in this article they say they are going to raise that price up too,why does obama hate people like me who buy their own children's lunches?

when this happens I will just pack my kids lunches full time instead of part time and opt out of this tax  and everyone who likes it will just keep on paying  like they should as you should support things you like and not support things you do not

 



Hi all, I am new to this site.  I would like to respond to the Michelle Obama plan.  Although I believe in feeding our children healthy school lunches I also believe that our children aren't getting fat by eatting ONE meal.  Schools should have to meet needs and our school has been doing it for a long time.  We offer whole grains every day, two choices of veg. and fruit with one fresh of each being an option.  We serve three types of milk: fat free white, fat free strawberry and fat free chocolate.  It is alot of work but we feel our children deserve to have a healthy meal and a working gym class because when our children leave the school they are not eatting so healthy and aren't as active due to the way kids are on the computers and video games.  Our parents are so busy trying to make ends meet that their meals consist of alot of take out pizza, burgers and taco's.  Some kids don't get a breakfast unless they are lucky enough to go to a school that provides one like ours which means at home they are eating high sugar cereals, pop tarts, donuts, etc.  I feel that Michelle has a good idea but she needs to realize that our children aren't getting fat at school.  They are getting fat beyond school.  I know this because I am a "lunch lady" for an elementary school.



Besides that, you can offer they children anything you want but that doesn't mean they will eat it.  We see lots of the healthy stuff get sent down the garbage disposal.



Its like my mother used to say. "If you dont eat whats on your plate you must not be that hungry."  If you take crap food out off the menu then they have no choice but to eat something healthy. I think people need to quit treating their kids like their little freaking buddahs or something.  Tough love.  They'll figure it out.



I totally agree with you. 



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