food

Los Angeles schools ditch corn dogs, chicken nuggets after battle with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Saturday, June 18, 2011 by: Kimberly Suta
Tags: LA schools, lunch menu, health news

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(NaturalNews) If you've been watching Jamie Oliver's show, Food Revolution, you know he's been battling the Los Angeles School Board for months now. The show may be canceled but his efforts have proved fruitful, as the L.A. School Board has finally agreed to remove corn dogs, chicken nuggets and all other breaded items from the schools' menu.

These items will be replaced by new, more healthier choices such as California sushi rolls and spinach tortellini in butternut squash sauce, as well as a variety of ethnic foods. With a delicious menu like that, it's hard to imagine why the board has been so resistant.

This change is fast on the heels of the school board's decision to stop serving flavored milks (chocolate and strawberry), a hot button topic of Oliver's, who's committed to campaigning against childhood obesity in America.

In one of the first episodes of Season 2's Food Revolution, he demonstrated exactly how much sugar L.A. school kids are consuming in just one week by filling up a school bus with processed sugar, until it was literally seeping out the windows and onto the parking lot.

School board member Tamar Galatzan said: "I really don't understand why we're letting a TV chef dictate our policy. I think we are demonizing milk." Even the American Heart Association claims that the nutritional benefits of flavored milk outweigh the harm of added sugar, but as Jamie Oliver keeps saying, "Why can't we do better?" There's no excuse for accepting the status quo when it results in a near epidemic of diseases related to unhealthy eating habits.

The top five disease-related causes of deaths in America are heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower-respiratory disease and diabetes, all of which are significantly influenced by diet, particularly diabetes.

According to the Institute of Food Technologists, just over seven in 10 meals (72%) are now prepared in the home, whereas in 2006 less than 30% of Americans cooked their own dinners. The economy is being attributed to this trend change rather than a desire for healthier foods, but the result is still a step in the right direction.

However, in 2010, selecting groceries with the intent to prepare nutritious meals was a priority for food shoppers, second only to taste. Food education, teaching children where food comes from and how it affects our bodies as well as how to cook healthy meals in the home is a big part of Oliver's revolution.

The war is not over, but a significant battle has surely been won. Now that some schools are recognizing the importance of better nutrition hopefully others will follow suit. In fact, Fergus Falls Public School system in Minnesota is just one of many who are finally realizing that the foods they're serving are not healthy.

"This is a giant step forward for the health and future of 680,000 kids in Los Angeles and leads the way for more school districts around the country to follow," said Oliver. As with all progress in the school systems, change starts at home. It's the parents that need to fight for their children's health and welfare.

It was the parents and the children speaking out for their desire for a Food Revolution, which really shifted the tides in the battle for a healthier menu in L.A. schools, and the only way positive change will take place in the rest of the school systems throughout the U.S.

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