An Apple a Day On All School Lunch Menus?
A year ago brightonyourhealth did a 30 day school lunch menu comparison between two countries: United States and France. What we concluded was a big need for improvement, especially in the American school lunch program. Since then, the movement to bring healthier school lunches to all children has brought some key changes. Here is an update: one year later.
AMERICAN SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
In 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed the following modifications to the American school lunch program. These new guidelines were established after Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed. Changes were unveiled for the new school year 2011-2012 although the new plans will continue to be implemented through 2013.
More fruits and vegetables, fruit cups instead of sugary desserts, more vegetables on the menu
Less sodium, less salty foods
Leaner meats, roasted or baked chicken instead of fried for example
Reduced fat dairy products, 1% or skim flavored or plain milk instead of whole or 2% milk
Whole grains on the menu, whole wheat pasta or bread
Here is a great article written by one of my favorite websites, The Lunchbox.org, summarizing these USDA school lunch program changes.
FRENCH SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM
On September 30, 2011 a new school lunch resolution was passed in France. The objectives were to help slow down the rate of child obesity along with children leaving the lunchroom more satisfied and less hungry. Main changes to the program are:
Four to Five different dishes will be offered in place of the standard first course, main meal and dessert
Bread and water will be offered without restrictions
Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and salt will be served only with appropriate dishes, instead of all the time.
Red meat and fish served once/week
Raw vegetables and salads served every other day
French fries or chips as known in other countries served only once/week
These changes are highlighted in an article published here on brightonyourhealth.com.
A TYPICAL FRENCH AND AMERICAN LUNCH MENU ONE YEAR LATER, SAME OR DIFFERENT?
FRANCE (Pau, France)
Salade Farandole: Frisee lettuce, white cabbage, corn and radish
Lamb stew with Couscous
Cream cheese and Slices of Baguette
Water to Drink
AMERICA (Toms River, New Jersey)
Popcorn Chicken or Cheeseburger Deluxe
1/2 pint milk
A year ago, here on brightonyourhealth, as part of the 30 day school lunch menu comparison, we took a look at what was on the lunch plates of children in Pau and Toms River. Check it out and tell me what you think. At a first glance, it doesn’t look like much has changed. The French menu in Pau continues to surpass the Toms River, NJ school lunch menu for freshness, balance and healthy offerings. What is happening where you live? Do you see positive changes in your school’s lunch program? Do you feel not enough is moving? More improvement is needed? Support your school and support the school lunch leaders who want change.
Will continue to track the progress on school lunch reform. This is an important subject. Until next time I wish you Bon Appetit.