Lunch Blog Campaign: For the next five weeks Momtrends is participating an exciting campaign to raise awareness about healthy eating. Created by the team behind Lunch, a documentary that shines a light on the school lunch program and teaches kids about healthy eating, I will be participating in discussions to get the word out about this eye-opening film as well as to encourage parents to get excited about gardening, fresh foods and how to change the school lunch system.
To kick-off the campaign, I are going to talk about school lunches vs. packing a lunch and how they both can be healthy.
My daughter currently isn't in public school. She attends a pre-school program where I provide her with lunch. We have been doing this since she was about 18 months old where she always has snack time with her group followed by lunch at noon.
As a picky eater I focus on the foods that she will eat. This usually involves almond butter and jelly sandwiches or a leftover pasta dish. It really hasn't changed much, but I try to balance it with a side of fruits - grapes, berries, apples, etc - and a maybe some snap peas or veggie booties. Other days I may include nuts or yogurt, or when she shocked me by eating raw veggies I added in peppers and carrots. I try to keep her lunch very healthy since she she growing and developing everyday.
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In the documentary, Lunch, I learned that the National School Lunch Program feeds some 28 Million children who eat 1 and sometimes 2 meals a day at school. Sadly, these children are feed high-fat, high-calorie and low-nutrient foods like hamburgers, pizza and corn dogs who now have a lower life expectancy than their parents. This is also the result of several diet-based diseases from high-blood pressure and cholesterol to diabetes and obesity. Diseases that no children should have as a result of their diets. Diseases that can be prevented if we begin to focus on healthy eating and smarter choices in our lunch boxes and school lunch program.
As someone who went through the public school system I can attest that those lunches are pretty standard. I didn't eat school lunch everyday, I do remember the above mentioned items, along with greasy tater tots, canned fruit swimming in sugary syrup, a milk or chocolate milk and a three-pack of cookies - (it's no wonder I dabbled in vegetarianism at a young age). There was really no fresh fruit or vegetables - lunch was about providing the food, feeding us kids and sending us on our way.
The bigger problem was that kids - like myself at the time - needed the school lunch program (and relayed on it) to provide us what energy and nutrients to get through the day. There was never a connection between understanding health and food or having fresh fruits and vegetables available.
The documentary also touches on this by exploring how some schools "Green Schools" are changing the focus on nutrition with school garden to cooking classes that are teaching children where food comes from as well as learning how to prepare it themselves. I love this educational/work aspect that focuses on educating parents and teachers and instructing so that we can begin to change the lunch system from the ground up. We can also have a positive impact on what our children eat for lunch.
For more information on the film, please visit: http://lunchthefilm.com/lunch/about.php
Next week, we are going to talk about healthy eating in the summer! Stay tuned.
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