The Top 5 Worst School Lunches

Aaah, tater tots, a school lunch staple ...

Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program to fight childhood obesity wound up in my son’s backpack this week. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Time for Kids mini-magazine with an article on the five worst school lunches.

The best part is that my son wanted to share this with us. He had us guess the answers (we came up with two of the five) and then let us know what they were.

The food items were broken down into calories, fat grams, and sodium levels. A third grader is absorbing and incorporating all this information. How cool is that?

Here’s the list (counting down to the worst):

5. Pepperoni Pizza, 342 calories, 14.4 grams of fat, 799 milligrams of sodium
4. Cheese Sandwich, 320 calories, 14.2 grams of fat, 1000 milligrams of sodium
3. Cheeseburger, 401 calories, 19 grams of fat, 745 milligrams of sodium
2. Meatloaf and Potatoes, 472 calories, 26.4 grams of fat, 1180 milligrams of sodium
1. Beef and Cheese Nachos, 469 calories, 24 grams of fat, 1500 milligrams of sodium

I was a little appalled that a bar appetizer was number one; not exactly what I want the future of America to be noshing on regularly.  My family actually doesn’t participate in the local school lunch program because my son has allergies.  He’s been brown bagging it since day one.  He literally has never had the food, and I have to say the more I learn about the school lunch program, the more relieved I am he hasn’t!

Michelle Obama has a Chefs Move to Schools program with over 1,000 chefs working with their local schools to develop healthier menu choices that are flavorful and kid friendly.  If you know a local chef, maybe with a kid, please let them know about this great program.

If you’d like to get involved in another way, consider supporting the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, currently winding it’s way through Congress.  The bill calls for larger servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in school meals.  Write or call your elected officials to let them know you support the bill.

What do you think?  Do you monitor your kids’ school lunch program?  Do you check in with them on their food choices?  What’s going on in your local school system?  Do you feel the urge to help?

I’d love to hear what’s going on out there, please share.

Thanks,

Lisa

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About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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6 Responses to The Top 5 Worst School Lunches

  1. Hether Crawford November 18, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    School lunches are scary! I pack their lunches every day as well. They are not always happy about it, but when we discuss the alternative, they agree that school lunch is not good for them. I am always looking for ways to get involved in changing the school offered lunches – thank you for your tips on taking action!

  2. angela November 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    My daughter always brings her lunch. She’s only had school lunch twice, and didn’t like it anyway. It makes me sick how unhealthy it is. A couple days a week they serve some form of chicken nuggets, pizza at least once a week, and other horrible stuff. Then they sell “extras” on the side… cookies and brownies and junk like that. My daughter brings half a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and one small, not too unhealthy snack and is happy with that.

  3. Lisa Johnson November 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm #

    It’s sad that our tax dollars are going to pay for what seems to be a pile of beige greasy food! I would gladly pay a higher lunch fee for my son if I knew it was going to be high in quality. I’m even happy to pay a little extra so that those who can’t afford it can still be subsidized and trust me I don’t make that much!

  4. Tara Burner November 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    my daughter is being home-schooled (well virtual school) this year but in elementary and middle (jr) high here they actually redid menu’s few years ago…whole wheat pizza, veggie burgers, all meals have fruit, juice and a veggie along with a ‘main’ item…. now once you get to high school though…forget it…. they have that meal plus then regular pizza brought in from other places, Subway subs and of course the infamous vending machine crap and soda.
    But, now she’s with me (at least for this school year) so no concerns on what she’s eating but it is a mess over all for most students…ironically they do serve better quality lunches in elementary school but as you go up the chain it gets worse like I said…vending machines, and junk in high school.

  5. Lisa Johnson November 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Tara I can see that … the high school kids just want to eat the crappy stuff and they don’t realize the effects it has on learning, irritability, etc. That would be a good class for a health teacher wouldn’t it?

  6. Tara Burner November 19, 2010 at 12:01 am #

    you’d think they’d teach it in health but yet they basically sit around and do nothing in health class…. and yet my teen daughter gave up soda a year ago…on her own…came home one day and said she didnt want to drink soda anymore and quit! Tonight at the Inspiration Board Workshop I held, she helped with the snacks (veggies, almonds, fruit to dip in chocolate–she and another woman even dipped their carrots in chocolate!) that’s about as much ‘junk’ as she gets…dove chocolate- otherwise she eats ‘real’ food! :)

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