Thinking Outside the School Lunch Box

School lunches for kids in America these days need to be more creative as well as health oriented. Many public schools still serve their students lunches that are heavily loaded down with carbohydrates and saturated fats; with many foods being those that are simply available from USDA commodities warehouses. While this is probably better than turning all this surplus food into bio-fuels, it doesn’t do much to reduce overweight problems brought on by too much starches and fats.

While many schools have had salad bars available for their students, cafeterias also have lunch menus which closely resemble those found in fast food places like McDonalds or Burger King complete with processed French fries, onion rings, chicken nuggets, and other junk foods that are loaded with “CARBS”, “SATS” and heavy amounts of sodium and other food preservatives. For this reason, many parents are once again sending their children to school with lunch boxes containing salads and sandwiches made with whole grain breads and other healthier food items. These new “school foods” are much healthier than the school lunches brought from home a generation or two ago when a typical box or sack lunch consisted of a baloney sandwich or hot dog , a piece of fruit, and maybe some cookies.

Lunch Bag

Trying to convince most kids to eat some forms of exotic menus found in whole foods stores won’t really work, unless they already eat these kinds of food at home anyway. What is interesting is that European schools have much healthier school lunch menus, and some schools in countries like France and Belgium even hire chefs to prepare more interesting as well as healthy diets for school children.

It’s not likely that American schools will go this route. But more nutritious, as well as appetizing meals can be made, even it they prepared beforehand at a central kitchen and sent to schools and reheated there. Children who must have special menus, either for health or religious reasons, are more likely to bring their lunches from home. But one thing is for sure; a child’s success in school is either helped or hindered by the type of diet during the day. As U.S. President Harry Truman said back in 1946, “In the long view, no nation is healthier than its children”.

Using a bit of creativity for school meals is far better than serving “high-carb” fast foods or baloney sandwiches.

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