Lunchroom Milk, Wedgies, and Humble Pie

Update–June 2015:

Texas’ agriculture chief announced a school nutrition policy revamp in schools intended to combat childhood obesity and cut down on food waste. Some call the measures counterproductive. 

January 2015 

Getting Students to Eat Healthy Not Trash HealthyThis new study says that one simple change–holding recess before lunchtime—can increase fruit and vegetable consumption by students.

Cupcake Amnesty?  A Texas official says the sugary snacks are allowed at school parties–as opposed to the Agriculture Department policy restricting the snacks at public schools.

Lunchroom Wedgies and Humble Pie

According to a new report, school kids are in a bind about a few cafeteria items, including the milk dilemma. Since some schools are cutting out chocolate milk to lower sugar intake, students are not drinking as much milk. They must have been “Got Chocolate Milk” fans.
Even decades ago when we grabbed our plastic trays in my fifth-grade school days, the lunchroom had a milk problem. The milk issue stemmed from the fact that sometimes the milk hadn’t been kept cold enough or it was WWI surplus or something—it was curdled. I’m against having to strain my milk before drinking it. The little cartons had wax on the outside, so they were fun to play with, but at every table, at least one kid apparently couldn’t read yet, because he’d open the side that said “open other side,” and he was certain to cause a milk spill—usually non toxic, but it depended on how curdled it was.
The news article says modern school cafeterias are figuring out better ways to get kids to eat healthy. They might name the food “x-ray peas” or “crunchy carrots.”  Ours would have been “pasty peas” and “soggy celery.” And schools now place fresh fruit within easy reach. We grew up in fertile farm country, but many probably thought fruit only came in a can, where it was covered with some type of syrup.
Not that our cafeteria crew didn’t try—they were doing what they could in the era before labels, calorie counts, and television celebrity nutritionists. They must have been handed a year’s supply of macaroni and cheese, with a weekly dose of limp fish sticks.
Most kids loved hot dog day because we never wondered what they were made of, and no one asked for gluten-free or even peanut-free food—“choice” was not part of the English language in that cafeteria. That didn’t bother us because we had bigger issues at hand. The goal was to get out of the lunchroom without an older kid giving you a friendly nuggie on the noggin’ or a not-so-friendly “underwear wedgie” if you happened to bend over to pick up a dropped fork.
I like the “eat healthy” movement, but it could take a while to get things figured out. Different interest groups and political factions will probably use food to score points or make a profit, but the kids are the key. Whether it be milk, sugar, or protein, the various groups and government officials should figure out what’s best. Otherwise, it’s time to serve them up something that several of us fifth-graders ate on occasion when a classmate placed mashed potatoes on our chair—humble pie.
by dan gogerty (photo:

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