With the new school year starting, parents’ to-do lists are now filled
with shopping for school clothes, school supplies, and school food.
That’s right – school food!
In past years, our nation’s schools were used by the USDA as a dumping
ground for surplus meat and dairy commodities. It is neither a surprise
nor coincidence that one-third of our children have become overweight or
obese. Such dietary mistakes at an early age become lifelong addictions,
raising their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Then came President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
requiring double the servings of fruits and vegetables, more whole
grains, less sodium and fat, and no meat for breakfast. The guidelines
are supported by 86% of Americans.
Most U.S. school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120
schools including the entire school districts of Baltimore, Boston,
Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland,
Philadelphia, and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday. Some
schools have dropped meat from their menu altogether.
As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria
managers in promoting healthy, plant-based foods in our own schools.
Going online and searching for “vegetarian options in schools” provides
lots of good resources.
Lobart Ikle, Laguna Beach