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Today the USDA announces new standards for school lunches. If you’ve opened a browser today I bet you have read about it, but you can read about the new guidelines here. We can only hope that if they are mandated to step up the quality, indeed they will.
 
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/25/us-school-food-idUSTRE80O1KV20120125

And it’s about time! I know that school lunch is a topic that’s near and dear to most moms’ hearts, because we despise making them with all our hearts, and yet often we worry about what they are eating when they get hot lunch.
 
I have read a lot about school lunches and I understand that they are terribly underfunded and that the better the food, the more money it costs. Heck, all of us grocery shoppers know THAT! A box of mac and cheese is a lot cheaper than chicken, potatoes and a vegetable.
 
But if I think I know a lot about the dynamics of school lunch, this woman REALLY knows a lot about it:  ”Fed Up with Lunch.” This is a teacher in a Chicago school who vowed to eat school lunch every single day, photograph it and blog about it. 
 
http://www.amazon.com/Fed-Up-Lunch-Revealed/dp/1452102287
 
You will be shocked at what passed for a “fruit” in her school—and likely many schools.

My favorite was her description of those nasty round Smuckers peanut butter/jelly “Uncrustables” that my son used to LOVE. I happened to be joining him for lunch one day when he got one and I almost barfed watching the disgusting grape jelly ooze out of the pastry-type roll. He happened to discard the wrapper in front of me,  and when I got a gander at the nutrition information, let me just say that Uncrustables were no longer on his menu.
  
She also points out that many children don’t have a choice. They eat the school lunch day in/day out because of either financial or schedule constraints.

Anyway, I know that school districts strive for solutions. I know that our own school district is part of the Farm to Table movement and is working on getting more fresh produce into the classroom. I’ve read all the studies and anecdotes about how kids who sample fresh produce are more apt to like it, even if they initially balk.

I firmly believe that the more we invest in healthy food for our children, the less we will invest in healthcare down the line.
Let them eat salad!

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