My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cafeteria Food

Upon arriving for the 1st day of school to many tired disgruntled other teachers, I realized with a sigh that I have been given the lovely duty of lunch duty.  This is my first time being given this duty so all I can say is I am thankful that I eat before watching my 8th graders eat.

Let's separate this into two categories; boys and girls.

Please keep in mind these are 8th grade girls.  They view magazines with perfect 5' 10" models, they see Justin Bieber like Selena Gomez, they most likely see or hear their mothers constantly dieting.  I am not one to knock down a healthy lifestyle.  I consider myself very healthy and in some of the best shape of my life considering I have had two children and I weigh less than I did before I had Max(not to brag, but nursing will do that to you), but when a girl wants some ice cream, she should have it.  My students are varying heights and weights and sad to say some of this is very obvious from their food choices.  I see the athletes take salad.  I see others take pizza.  Many of them will pick, look at their food, study it, simply eat their cookies or "waffle fries"(I'll get back to these quotes later), or devour all in front of them.  It hurts my heart to know these last classified students will likely go home to a place with very little food and they have received that lunch for free.  So many times these days, you hear about healthy food initiatives within school cafeterias, Michelle Obama, Jamie Oliver, "get up and move", and so forth; however this kind of sentiment must not just be said but followed through by all involved.  When I say all, I mean families.  If you pack your child a lunch with fruit or vegetables, healthy meat and cheese sandwiches, a small dessert, water than you are my hero, but those of you who send your child off with processed crap or have them buy lunch, you must understand that they will buy what they want to eat as opposed to what is the healthier choice.  Just remember that is your money.  Can you likely put together something for less than what they might charge for a processed hamburger which is perhaps 72% actual meat, greasy "waffle" fries(because they took away the ones that look like fries), chocolate milk, cookies, etc. YES.  I watched one of my lovely students eat three pieces of an orange and three cookies with strawberry milk for lunch.  Did she pay full price for that lunch?  Yes.  Wait a tick, let me correct myself.  Her parents paid full price.  Lunch is averaging just under four dollars.  Can I tell you what I can put together for four dollars? They're disgusted by the food, but yet choose to buy it.  Those who have barely anything are beyond thankful for it, no matter how healthy or unhealthy it is.

Let's turn to the boys.  Face it, they'll eat anything.  My young basketball and football players will take everything they can for the allotted amount of money, and then take whatever else they can pilfer.  Girls are constantly handing them what is left on their plates and they take it gratefully.  It's better than getting  wasted.  Plus, that is free flirt time.  I saw a previous student the other day, a senior, who even after a full day at school with how many meals and snacks already in him, shake a dozen wings from his mum at the bar we were at.  (Before you go getting all concerned, his mum is a lovely friend who is also an aide in my building, he is a senior, and no he did not partake in any beverage besides Coke.  He simply met us all there so he and his mum could go to his sister's meet.)

Our school must have some new initiative.  During lunch, the students(who buy lunch) must put a vegetable or fruit on their trays, even if they do not eat it, they must take it.  REALLY?  Do you know how much of that good produce is wasted?  Majority of it.  I am going to step out on a whim here and blame a family lifestyle for this one?  And while we're at it, let's blame obesity on it as well.  If you are not raised eating good fruits and vegetables and healthy foods as such, you will continue through your life eating in an unhealthy manner.  I am so fortunate that both my boys are great fruit and vegetable eaters ... for now.  I know I will face some problems in the future.  I can say now, whole heartedly, that I will pack my boys lunches.  Will they always want me to?  NO.  Will they want to buy lunch and act cool?  YES.  Will I hope my good eating habits have been instilled in their ways?  DUH.  Is it easier just to hand each a fiver ... YES.  

For now, bedtime snack can remain as yogurt.

September 1st, 2012

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