how healthy are school lunches?

lunch wars

For this month’s BlogHer book club we have been reading the book “Lunch Wars” by Amy Kalafa. Her book is about the poor quality of our nation’s school lunches and how we can fight to make them healthier. Amy argues that many schools are serving horribly unhealthy lunches which is contributing to the increasing child obesity rate and the rise of ADHD and other behavioral problems.

I have to be honest, I have very mixed feelings about the book.

First, when I when received it in the mail, I didn’t expect it to be so long! And for me, it was a very slow read. Not that I don’t care about the state of our school’s lunches, I just am not as passionate about it as Kalafa is and it was very hard to get through at times. It definitely had a political and social agenda that I was not totally signed on for and it made the book seem very long and tedious.

The first chapter alone was a very heavy and intense chapter. Kalafa kind of lays all her feelings and frustrations out on the table and it was rather overwhelming. And in some ways it was pretty frustrating to hear such a strong bias. Maybe it was just that I don’t remember my own lunches very well, but I felt like too much blame was put on the schools, administration, and the national government instead of parents. I think parents play a HUGE role in how their children eat and should be taught healthy eating habits themselves instead of relying on the school to do it for them.

However, Kalafa does make very good arguments about how often schools are allowing over-processed, sugary, fatty foods into children’s meals. She even showed how although some foods and products may say they don’t have MSG, for example, it is still full of lots of other additives that are just as harmful. It definitely made me realize that I need to be more observant and careful about the food I feed in my own home.

In the end, there are two points that I took away from Kalafa’s book:

  1. I need to be more vigilent in my own diet and food choices so I can teach my children (and husband!) to have a well-balanced and nutrious diet. [Adam, I hope you’re reading this! :)] I truly believe healthy habits start in the home and I could help teach my children to bypass all the unhealthy items by my example.
  2. Change is possible but it will take A LOT of work! I truly do hope to learn more about the movements to change the school lunches so by the time Eli is ready for school I can make sure there are enough healthy options for him. But I know it will take a lot of time, effort, and patience. But don’t give up!

If this is a topic that interests you, then you should definitely check out this book. Even if you are only mildly interested, this book has a lot of good facts and stories to help sway you another way. But I wouldn’t say it’s a “read for fun” kind of book. (Unless being angry at everyone is fun for you :) )

You can learn more about The BlogHer Book Club and “Lunch Wars” by going here!

This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.


Unknown said...

Good for you! Eating healthy food makes me feel SO much better about my life...the days (or weeks) where I just don't care about what I eat are definitely my lowest. And it is SO important for kids, too!

You're an amazing mom :)

<3 Daryl
Roots, Wings, and Other Things.

holli h. said...

eating healthy is good, but i would never worry about elijah becoming obese if he has yours and adam's genes! everyone i know in the robinson/malan/patterson bunch doesn't seem to have that problem haha. but. . . maybe ya'll had healthy school lunches?