posted in Mom Stories
Martha Payne, 9, didn’t much care for the school lunches she was served in Scotland. As she told the BBC in a radio interview, the lunches are “a wee bit small and sometimes they’re not very nice either.” Hot dogs, potato croquettes, rice masquerading as a vegetable; apparently, they have the same school lunch problems in Scotland that we do here!
But unlike most 9-year-olds, Martha didn’t just complain to her friends and parents. Instead, the young aspiring writer enlisted the help of her dad to create the blog NeverSeconds. On NeverSeconds, photographs the school lunches she eats, rates them on taste and healthiness, and describes how she liked the lunch, and how she felt later in the day after eating.
Lately, Martha has also been taking photos of lunches from kids in other countries, which is both interesting and a little depressing to realize how great school lunches appear to be in Japan and Taiwan. It’s even more depressing seeing the lunch pictures from America. Yep, that’s what my daughter’s American public school lunches look like, a big plate of sugar and starch.
Since starting her blog on May 8, Martha has gotten attention from such international media outlets as Time and ABC News, as well as a pat on the back from school lunch advocate Jamie Oliver, who tweeted about her blog and sent Martha a signed copy of one of his books with a note that reads “Great work!! Clever girl … Keep it up!!”
But perhaps more importantly, Martha’s blog has made changes right at her own school, where administrators have announced that kids are officially allowed to eat as much as they like, and most particularly to have fruits and vegetables of their choice at every meal (though a recent blog post said that the policy was changed and that students could get fruit only after they’d finished the rest of their lunch).
As the mom of a child who sometimes eats public school lunch (usually when I can’t get it together to pack one), Martha’s success just thrills me. Similar to the public school teacher who began documenting her school’s terrible lunches a few years back, Martha’s direct experiences with school lunches are invaluable. You can read about school lunch standards all day long and still not understand what school nutrition officials are up against until you see a dismal picture of what we’re serving the hope for tomorrow.
Changes are on the way for public school lunches, with a set of revised standards approved last January intended to increase consumption of whole grain and produce and decrease sodium, fat and sugar.
Still, the new standards added only six cents of funding for each student’s lunch. It’s the first funding increase for lunch in 30 years (horrifically shocking, considering how much the price of food has increased over that same period), but since most schools lose an average of about 35 cents per meal served to students, that six cents won’t go far. In San Francisco, for example, schools get $2.74 per meal served. Pretty hard to get a healthy lunch for that price, particularly if you want to include milk and fruits and vegetables.
So what’s the answer? For us, it’s packing lunch most days, although PBJs most days aren’t really that much healthier than the school’s pizza and chicken fingers. It seems clear that students aren’t happy with what they’re eating and administrators aren’t happy with what they’re serving. But where the money’s going to come from to fix the situation is anyone’s guess.
Read more from source:“babycenter-com-baby”