(NaturalNews) A pepperoni pizza? Or maybe southern fried chicken? How about crinkled French fries? A sugary soda pop?
Whatever they may have eaten, kid's choices seem to be mandated by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which in turn, is funded by the federal government, but run by the Food and Nutrition Services, reaching out to some 100,000 schools nationally and preparing over 31 million meals annually for school children. And these meals are, depending on personal economics, either completely free or sold at a much reduced cost to the student. Tax payers money at work, but are the children really getting a quality nutrient-dense meal in return?
Maybe not. Daniel Millimet, PhD, professor of economics at Southern Methodist University
, also a lead researcher and analyst, has conducted studies on the effectiveness of the government-run lunch program. It seems that many schools are not complying with federal guidelines which include reducing the fat content in meals. Additionally, many schools are still offering a multitude of a la carte junk food items, which since the student pays for out of pocket, is not required to conform with the rest of the program. Instead, these snack items just become another revenue stream for the school.
It seems that any school district or even an independent school can participate in the NSLP, if they choose, and get government subsidies along with certain predetermined USDA foods from the United States Department of Agriculture. In exchange for entry into the program, the schools are technically obligated to meet the "food
requirements" set forth by the plan, without deviation. What requirements? That seems a bit unclear. But it appears, according to the aforementioned study, that good nutrition is not necessarily a high priority in the plan.
Meanwhile, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
of 2010 (started by a congressional group), which appears to be the more authoritative figure in this puzzle, passed down a directive to the USDA requiring them to "upgrade" and update the current National School Lunch Program to include a higher percentage of fruits and vegetables, more whole grain products, and to institute a more progressive decline in the total sodium content of foods, as well as to find a way to cap off the foods' collective caloric intake based on the different age groups. There was no mention of vitamins or minerals or any other vital nutrients that may be considered important for the proper development of our youngsters.
Sometime this year, the schools in America are reported to see some more changes implemented by our U.S. government, related to the types of snacks that can be sold to our school children
. They say the "goal" is to help reduce childhood obesity by limiting or controlling the foods that our children can eat while within the confines of our educational complexes. There is to be an attempt made to limit the actual type of available snacks. Though once again, those specific limitations are unknown to date.
So, for the time being, the fattening chips, emptied-calories candy bars, and sugar-laden sodas will still be sold to the youth until the government decides that the outcry from the public establishment is just too much to handle. As a result, the bureaucracy of the government and Big Food industry continues to monitor what children put in their mouths.
Perhaps it's time for moms to go back to packing lunches. Then, there would be fewer questions about what children eat at school.Sources for this article include:
www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/lunch/www.rodale.com/obesity-problem-and-childrenwww.healthyschoollunches.org/backgroundAbout the author:
Wendy Merrill, CCI, M.S. Hol. Nutr.
Wendy is a natural health and nutritional consultant, an IIPA certified iridologist and serves on the International Iridology Practitioners Association Board of Directors. She also holds a Masters degree in Holistic Nutritional Sciences and is the Founder of VisualEyes Health (www.visualeyeshealth.com
), a holistic nutritional consulting company using iridology assessments and facial diagnostics to assist healing.
She is passionate about natural health living, with added emphasis on iridology (both human and animal), homeopathy, sports nutrition, nutritional physiology, facial diagnostics and nature photography.
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