OUR VIEWS: It's only healthy if they eat it

Oct 9, 2012

Sure, kids would be thrilled to feast on greasy pizza and deep-fried chicken nuggets and a side of French fries every day — but with the serious obesity issues plaguing our nation, changes had to be made.

New lunch menus include offerings with more whole grains while cutting back on sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.

Another change requires students to take helpings of fruits and vegetables with each meal, along with a carton of milk.

We all know that kids need to eat more fruits and veggies. And we also know that, regardless of how hard we try, some kids are never going to eat their green beans or salad. Some kids just don’t like milk. Forcing it on them isn’t going to help.

The result is that a large portion of these fruits and vegetables are ending up in the trash.

We would urge those in charge of school lunchrooms across the nation to monitor how much of these fruits and veggies are being eaten, and how much is ending up as compost in landfills.

If the kids aren’t eating it, does it really make sense to continue to make them take it?

Making healthy choices available to students is fantastic. But forcing them onto kids’ trays may be leading to more harm than good.

There are ways to make those healthy choices more desirable. Kids may not be too excited to bite into a whole apple, but cut it in slices and serve it with a small side of peanut butter and — chances are — they’ll eat it.

Carrot sticks, celery sticks and other veggies with a side of fat-free ranch are much more appealing, and easier to eat for young kids whose No. 1 priority is finishing their lunch so they have more time to spend on the playground.

We agree that kids need to eat their fruits and veggies. Schools need to present those choices in a way that kids want to eat them. Otherwise, all the efforts are for naught.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

sobe

And they'll only eat it if you offer it.

ghresident

Problem is they'll be 2 busy txting their BFF 2 eat.....

MeanSmith

Or busy posting a pic of the meal on facebook

lakeview

I am not sure where you got your facts, milk is not a mandatory offering. Fruits or vegetables are one of the three components students are encouraged to take so the lunch program may get some USDA subsidy. Wow how creative with peanut butter or low fat ranch, will you count the peanut butter as a meat alternative or are you in a district that is peanut free? Are you figuring the calories of pb or ranch dressing? You really have no clue, however I would be thrilled to have you
Walk along side our wonderful lunch staff who are encouraging your children to eat healthy because they don't eat healthy at home....and according to USDA regulations. Thank you!

Vladtheimp

Why is it that virtually every liberal solution to a "crisis" or problem involves: (1) a mandate that is imposed on citizens (REQUIRES students to take helpings of fruits and vegetables with each meal, along with a carton of milk) (2) addresses unintended consequences of bad mandates with more mandates ( cut it in slices and serve it with a small side of peanut butter); finds conflicts with real world - peanut allergies and (3) requiring monitoring of citizens, even school children ("We would urge those in charge of school lunchrooms across the nation to monitor how much of these fruits and veggies are being eaten, and how much is ending up as compost in landfills.") Pray tell, oh Tribune Editors, how a discussion of mandated public school lunch programs morphed into a concern about "landfills." Michelle's lunch program meets radical environmentalists. Seems like, to the editors, parents are either incompetent or unaware of what their kids should eat for lunch - only Michelle and the bureaucrats care. What about federal rules for nursing home menus - will they impact landfills? Depends.

LessThanAmused

Ha! I see what you did there..... :-)

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