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School Lunch Shenanigans

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A coworker of mine sent me this article about a recent school lunch shenanigan.The article tells the sad story of a girl who was sent to school with a sack lunch that consisted of a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice. The school inspected her lunch and decided that it did not meet USDA nutrition guidelines. Then they fed her chicken nuggets and gave her a bill for the “nutritious” meal.

I know that this sounds insane to most of you but in North Carolina, prekindergarten programs are required to evaluate the lunches parents are providing. I pose two questions.

First, should schools or government program decide what is best for our children instead of parents?

Second, If government programs should decide what is best for children, do we have reason to believe they are able to distinguish what is healthy?

I would argue that we risk losing a lot of freedom if we say yes to the first question. I would also argue that federal food programs have proven that they can’t distinguish what is healthy. If you don’t believe me, check out this article from chefann.com. It describes a recent USDA sponsored assessment on school lunches/   Here are a few excerpts from Chef Ann’s article:

  • Grains: The vast majority of grain products (bread, rolls, bagels, crackers etc.) were made of refined white flour. Only 5 percent of grain offering was whole wheat
  • Fruit: Ninety-four percent of schools offered fruit or fruit juices. Only 50 percent of schools offered fresh fruit. The rest offered canned fruit or fruit juice.
  • Combination entrée: The most commonly offered combination entrée depended on age; in elementary school, 28 percent of combination entrees were peanut butter sandwiches, followed by meat sandwiches; in middle school the most commonly offered combination entree was pizza with meat, followed by cheeseburgers and sandwiches with breaded meat or poultry.

In my opinion, the worst part of this is the control that institutions have over individuals. We have written multitudes of blog posts about farmers getting shut down because they sell raw milk. I have seen articles about people not being allowed to eat their neighbors free range eggs. I am scared that I am going to lose my rights. I think that I should be able to choose what I eat. I think I can make better decisions than a government program or mandate. I think it is much better to make wrong decisions (which I will at times) and be free, than be forced to do what might be better for me (which is unlikely) and lose my freedom.

What do you think?

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