school lunch

school lunch

Obama Administration to Tackle School Vending Machines

vending machine stocked with candy and chipsWith childhood obesity reaching all-time highs, the government has tackled the school’s hot lunch, and is now after its next big culprit: The vending machines.

Since children receive 19 to 50 percent of their food while at school, the Obama Administration plans to set rules for what can and can’t be sold in the vending machine. These guidelines will likely be released in the next few weeks.

One in five children is overweight. Since statics such as this have tripled in the past 30 years, nutritionists say that vending machines, supplied with potato chips, cookies and soda, may contribute to the obesity epidemic.

Representatives from the food and beverage industries say that many of their snacks are healthy and should not be banned. They say they support vending snacks that are in good nutrition.

“But we are a little concerned that they might make the rules too stringent,” James A. McCarthy said, president of the Snack Food Association, a trade group in Washington.

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Number of Students Who Qualify for Subsidized Meal Programs Is Rising

lunch tray with cafeteria foodsRecently, there has been a surge in the number of American schoolchildren who have made a national list. Sadly, it’s not an academic accomplishment nor an athletic accomplishment. Instead, these 21 million schoolchildren have all qualified for free or low-cost school meals. A few years ago, many of these children came from families who were considered to be middle class, but now, due to the national economic crisis, they are on longer in this socio-economic range after their parents lost their jobs or homes.

Since the 2006-2007 school year, there has been a 17 percent increase in the number of students who qualify for free or low-cost meals. Eleven states, including Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, and Tennessee, have seen increases of 25 percent or more in the past four-years.

“These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing,” said Benjamin Senauer, an economists at the University of Minnesota. He also said that this new surge has come about so quickly “that people like myself who do research are struggling to keep up with it.”

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Chocolate Milk to be Banned from School Lunches

With childhood obesity rates at an all time high, school lunches are under the microscope again. Many young students eat breakfast and lunch at school resulting in most calories being consumed away from home. Experts know that providing healthy choices at school will inevitably have an impact for students buying school meals. The newest debate on the table revolves around the nutritional benefits of chocolate milk.

Nutritionists and childhood obesity advocates argue that chocolate milk is nothing more than soda in disguise. In an effort to cut out unnecessary calories it is suggested that chocolate milk be taken off the school lunch menu. Nearly 70% of all milk consumed in schools is flavored milk, including chocolate and strawberry. By giving children the option for flavored milks “We’ve taught them to drink chocolate milk, so we can unteach them that,” director of nutritional services for Boulder Valley School District Anne Cooper told USA Today.

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Education Trends to Expect in 2011

I’m amazed that 2010 is over. 2011 is here and it feels so surreal. I suppose I’m not the only one who feels this way. To sit here and think about it, I could have sworn that last New Year’s Eve was such a short time ago! Time really does fly and so much changes throughout the years. This next year is sure to bring plenty of exciting things and probably some not-so-exciting things as well. Keep an eye out for the following education trends that made the news in 2010 and are sure to stir up more interest in 2011.

Better school lunches. Proper nutrition for our children was a hot button issue this year, and the improvements will only continue to spread.

Bill Needed to Put Free Water on the California Lunch Menu

Should Kids with Food Allergies be Forced to Homeschool

Whole Foods Campaigns to Put Salad Bars in Schools

D.C. Removes Chocolate Milk From Public School Lunches

Pennsylvania School District Combats Childhood Obesity

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Should Kids with Allergies Be Forced to Homeschool?

peanutsThe Gill-Montigue Regional School District has adopted a new lunch policy, one that does not ban nut products. Instead, the school has offered a “nut free” table at lunchtime for students with allergies.

But one parent, Michelle Rubin, says the policy has forced her to homeschool her two children. She maintains that the nut-free table didn’t prevent her kids from having their severe allergies triggered. After two incidents, she’d had enough. “If they touch a keyboard or a desk that a child who had peanut butter touches, they go into anaphylactic shock,” Rubin explained to WGGB.

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Bill Needed to Put Free Water on the California Lunch Menu

school-lunch-trayAt many public schools in California, free water isn’t on the school lunch menu. According to California Food Policy Advocates, 40 percent of the schools that responded to their online survey said that students didn’t have access to free potable water in areas where meals are served. For students at schools where lunches are not provided for free, that means they must purchase bottled water.

California state Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill to change that statistic. The bill will require schools to provide students with drinking water free of charge. The bill passed the Assembly and Senate, and only awaits Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature to be passed into law.

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Whole Foods Campaigns to Put Salad Bars in Schools

great-american-salad-projectChef Ann Cooper and Whole Foods Market are partnering to get salad into public schools. The new program is called the Great American Salad Bar Project, which aims to make school lunches healthier by providing students with more ways to eat fresh produce. The initiative will provide grants to schools to cover the costs of equipment, delivery and training. Each school will be responsible for providing the greens and toppings that will go in the bar. If you were to read more, you’d know that the schools also will be offered free promo codes, so as to assuage their financial burdens on costs.

“Every school can still find fresh produce,” said Cooper, who is the founder of the nonprofit “All we can do is tell them how important it is and give them the tools.”

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Senate Bill Passes to Improve School Lunch

school lunchKids love pizza, hamburgers and french fries for school lunch, but parents are often reluctant to encourage the purchase of these unhealthy meals. But a new bill that passed in the Senate this week will help reluctant parents with better school lunch choices.

Estimated to cost more than $4 billion, the new bill will raise standards for all foods sold in school, including vending machines. In addition, the number of children who qualify for free lunch would rise. A similar bill is expected to be voted on in the House next month.

Read the rest on the new school lunch Senate bill at Read the rest of this entry »

Brown Bag Lunch Ideas to Save You Money

brown bag lunchMost college students are living on a fixed budget. There are so many expenses that steal your money, little is left over to feed yourself. Buying your meals everyday from the school cafeteria can add up fast, and personally, I don’t like to spend a big chunk of my weekly “allowance” on food at the school cafeteria. However, I usually don’t have enough time to go off campus to get something to eat either. As a result, I brown bag it most days.

While bringing my own lunch is a much cheaper and healthier option than getting French fries and a burger every day, it can get boring. A girl can only eat pb&j so many times before the mere thought makes her mouth feel sticky with peanut butter.

Here are some of my favorite alternatives to the boring sandwich-and-chips brown bag lunch to jazz up your meals without putting a big dent in your pocketbook. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing the Candwich: The Sandwich in a Can

candwich-sandwich-in-a-canIf the thought of your regular old sandwich container, be it bag or box, is giving you the back-to-school blues, fret no more. Here to add a dash of ridiculousness to your midday meal the Candwich, a sandwich that comes packaged in a soda can. The Candwich comes in three flavors: peanut butter and strawberry jam, peanut butter and grape jam, and of course that classic cafeteria staple, the barbecued chicken sandwich. Read the rest of this entry »


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