So, and this is news to me, some schools in the Denver area are expirimenting with feeding their kids breakfast not only at school, but in class as well. This insures that the kids have eaten something before they start the day. Given the utterly depressing amount of Coloradan children who live in poverty, this is a fairly major step forward.
Breakfast has long been available in public school, however the breakfast traditionally available at schools, or at least the schools I went to, was far from healthy. I generally remember a lot of things like french toast sticks, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, generally just a lot of very high fat and sugar content foods. That students eating these foods would then have problems paying attention and then later staying awake in class seems like a foregone conclusion. Breaking away from this tradition, the school mentioned in the article is offering its students fruit and a cereal or energy bar. For this, they are seeing numerous benefits in many different areas.
Here is the link from the Denver Post
And some relevent quotes:
“At Clayton, kids get a piece of fruit, a carton of milk and an entree such as a nutrition bar or cereal bar.”
Now, I have long directed the blame for America’s childhood obesity problems at two equally guilty parties, these being the parents and the schools. In some cases, the blame is equal, but in cases where families in the low income brackets rely on the schools to feed their children, the blame is more directly on the schools. How, then, did our schools become factories of fat, listless, sugar-addled children? Well, you can thank budget cuts and the allowance of profiteer capitalism into the school lunchroom. Schools these days are, like an American single mother with no degree, willing to do anything to make ends meet. The large processed food companies, such as Kelloggs, General Mills, ConAgra, and more pay out subsidies to the school districts in exchange for buying their already cheap, highly modified garbage food.
This is a win-win-lose relationship: money for the schools; kids who build both brand loyalty and an addiction to high fructose corn syrup, and the only losers are the kids. Until we stop counting our childrens’ education and very well-being as less-than-vital in budget allocation, we will invite these kinds of problems. I would personally encourage schools to not only adopt policies like the one in this article, but to do everything they can to move away from the unhealthy foods that have dominated school cuisine for almost the past half century. I would love to see large gardens in schools across the country, maintained by students and parents, and being used in the students meals. For those of you who counter with ‘where will the money for all this come from’ the answer is the same that I always give to that question. Tied up in defense and prison spending. Why do we lack politicians willing to fight tooth and nail for education spending they do for defense or “law enforcement”? Lobbyists, and the fact that kids can’t afford ’em.