This morning when I walked into my son’s pre-k I was met with something very disturbing. The only thing that they had for these little ones (ages 3-5) was a tiny cup of non-fat yogurt. WHAT!? Where’s the protein?! Where’s the vegetables!? Fruit!? HELLO!? I walked out ranting…
One of my bff’s decided to call up to the school because we were so upset. Her child often eats at school but doesn’t like yogurt (texture issues) and because there was nothing else, the poor kid probably ended up quite hungry. Now, I’m not saying that the school should cater to every child, but there wasn’t anything else for him to eat. She talked with the Director over Food Services and she is apparently the person who plans out the meals. The menu didn’t get any better.
Cinnamon bread, cinnamon buns, then pancakes. Bread and sugar!? I literally had a panic attack and decided to go up there myself to speak with this person. Turns out, she was so very kind! She actually showed me the program they use and said she’d provide me a copy of the State Guidelines. I’m excited to see these guidelines and I reached out to a local Facebook page to see what other parents thought. I haven’t gotten much feedback yet, other than a couple people who obviously work for the school and think that just because they’re doing what is legal, means they’re doing what is right.
I, frankly, don’t believe that hungry children is what is “right.” I think children that are hungry, on processed sugar and their moods and behavior are suffering is not right. I think children being given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when they can’t afford a meal…but the football team can have fireworks every game, is wrong.
Schools should be nutrition havens for every child. No child should leave a school starving. Isn’t that why these regulations were started? So that children were fed when they were at school? I’ve heard stories in our own community of children only getting to eat what’s at school and maxing out their negative balance until they can’t get food anymore because mom or dad can’t afford it.
Can schools be perfect? No. Am I asking our school to be paleo? No. But, I believe that real food should be the option. Not processed food. Imagine what we can do and the children we can save from heart ache and disease! We can make a difference. The Director I spoke with said that no one had ever complained about the food. This is only her second year doing this job.
While my kids don’t eat school meals due to food allergies, I care so deeply about children that I want to speak up. I’ve opened up my big mouth and now I have to move forward. I told my husband recently, I want to do something important. Well, this is important to me.
I want our little eagles to soar high! I’m starting a Food Revolution, research, and talking to other parents. Looking at other schools that have gone before us. So here I go. Let’s get real food for our kids at school. Let no child leave hungry.
-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook