February 25th, 2011
03:04 PM ET
It’s nothing new to hear kids sum up their cafeteria food in one word - “nasty.”
After all, some school lunches looks like bland, pre-made slop devoid of any nutrition.
But a major overhaul to serve healthier foods at the Chicago Public Schools has faced new problems. The public school system stopped serving doughnuts and Pop-Tarts, and lunch sales dropped “by about 5 percentage points since the previous year, or more than 20,000 lunches a day,” according to Chicago Tribune.
Many of the kids didn’t even touch the healthier options such as boiled broccoli, zucchini and a pea-carrot mix.
The meals “appear to have created negative impressions of healthy foods among many students,” according to the paper. This could be, because the school system “forbids the use of salt in the preparation of vegetables or other fresh food offered to students.”
No dough means cheese sandwiches
Schools aren’t exactly striking it rich with school lunches. They’re struggling to feed children while remaining financially afloat, because of the number of nonpayments. These add up fast. Since 2004, New York City has absorbed at least $42 million in unpaid lunch fees, according to the New York Times. That means it’s hitting school budgets and educational resources.
Some school districts are offering an “alternative” lunch for kids who can’t pay.
The Lee County, Florida, school district was losing $2,000 a week from families who were not paying for meals. Since they are required to provide nutritious meals to students, they started dishing out cheese sandwich and a juice box for kids not paying for their meals, according to CBS.
Is this creating a two tiered-lunch system - making kids who are not paying, for whatever reason, feel stigmatized? Is there a right to equal lunch, despite the family's financial inability or skipping of payments? Comments below.
Eatocracy: Students going hungry
Lunch ideas for you
If your kids aren't likely to touch school cafeteria lunches, here are some upgrades from the old PB and J from Real Simple such as apple, cheddar sandwiches on whole wheat to prosciutto, roasted red pepper sandwiches.
Also from Real Simple's 21 back to school lunches kids love, it suggests crisp bacon, wilted arugula and sautéed tomatoes pastas and chicken salad with apple and basil.
10 fresh lunchbox ideas from Parenting toys with cranberry, turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, and homemade Lunchables.
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