Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday 4/12: Breakfast for Lunch

The menu reads as follows: French Toast, Scrambled Egg, Hash browns, Fruit

What they got: A French toast stick, egg round, hash brown patty, fruit in syrup and milk.

I have to admit, I don't really care for this meal. It's processed all the way and lacks anything that is remotely fresh. Some kids got to eat it with syrup - but they thankfully ran out -  that's made from two other syrups. What's with the corn syrup AND HFCS?

A great rule of thumb when buying packaged or processed foods is that if sugar (Corn syrup, or corn syrup solids, Dehydrated Cane Juice, Dextrin, Dextrose, Fructose, Fruit juice concentrate, Glucose, High-fructose corn syrup, Honey, Invert sugar, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Malt syrup, Maltose, Maple syrup, Molasses, Raw sugar, Rice Syrup, Saccharose, Sorghum or sorghum syrup, Sucrose, Syrup, Treacle, Turbinado Sugar, Xylos) is listed as the first two [2] ingredients, it's very probable that it contains high amounts of sugar. Last year the American Heart Association (AHA)  released new guidelines limiting the amount of added sugar considered acceptable for a healthy diet. The guidelines, published in the August 2009 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, also connect increased sugar consumption with a variety of health problems, including obesity and high blood pressure.

The new guidelines state most women should consume no more than 100 calories, and men no more than 150 calories, of added sugar. These numbers average out to about 6 to 9 teaspoons, or 25 to 37.5 grams, of sugar a day. Preschoolers with a daily caloric intake of 1,200 to 1,400 calories shouldn't consume any more than 170 calories, or about 4 teaspoons, of added sugar a day. Children ages 4-8 with a daily caloric intake of 1,600 calories should consume no more than 130 calories, or about 3 teaspoons a day. (In order to accommodate all the nutritional requirements for this age group, there are fewer calories available for discretionary allowances like sugar.) 


How can this meal meet any nutritional standards? The sugar content in the milk alone is already 21 grams never mind the syrupy fruit, the maple syrup, the french toast....! Again for those that don't know, I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian but if I were to eat healthy and wholesome meals for the purpose of longevity and well-being, this one would be on my DO NOT EAT list. And yet, the kids are being served this as a lunch which is is meant to sustain them for the rest of the school day. But according to our Superintendent, there are many kids happily eating these meals- 2000+ in fact !!! OMG! Really? Over 2000 kids are eating THIS! I am so mad and sad at the same time that he is missing the point! In fact, let me post his exact email response received only yesterday to my recent concerns and recommendations which I had emailed to him and the rest of the board on 3/24/10:

12 April 2010
Ms. Moran  - -

Please forgive the tardiness of a reply to your e-mail concerning lunch for your four year old.  I. too, consider your inquiry very important, although during the same time, we were busy putting a budget together ($3 million in cuts and all).  We continue to monitor the situation which you have brought to our attention and the attention of others.

Part of our review is checking with some of the other 2,000+ children who eat lunch happily on a daily basis.

Peter E Carer

Interim Superintendent

That's it. While I appreciate his honesty and the fact that they are monitoring the situation, I'm still left with one thought and one thought only with regards to the 2000+ kids: 'Ignorance is bliss Mr.Carter, isn't it?'  In fact come to think of it he did not even address the real issue, which was to establish a Wellness Committee in this school district. Some of the current board members at least have acknowledged the need for one, however given the timing (school board elections to be held April 20), it's probably something the new board will have to deal with in May. I can understand that. I too want to start afresh with the new board. And yes, I'm sure now anytime anyone mentions how crappy a program is they will just blame it on the budget cuts as if before the budget cuts we had a stellar school with exemplary programs!

Last night I attended an open-forum debate by our candidates running for school board hosted by Bob Bowdon.  The school lunch program is apparently a touchy subject since its been losing money, to the effect of $1,000,000 in one year and then another $300,000 in another year! Apparently an area where outsourcing did not pay off!

Speaking of the outsourced, today I get to visit the great bowels of the school lunch program, where all it happens - the kitchens! The food service director will be showing me around in both Wallace Primary and Hoboken High Schools. Can't wait to see how things get defrosted and reheated. I'll be sure to take plenty of pics to show you all!


  1. Defrosted? School food doesn't get defrosted. It's dumped frozen right into a steamer, or onto sheet pans to place in a convection oven. Most of that stuff is already cooked, so it is ready from the frozen state to be placed on the food service line within a matter of minutes.

  2. You should speak up at the next meeting on your concerns. There are a lot of complaints about the school lunch which I believe is undergoing a change, hopefully for the better. Nice to see you last night.

  3. The kids are 'happy' with these lunches? No kidding! They're loaded with sugar. #1 problem in America's school lunches? The fact that adults feel the need to cater to children's tastes. If I let my kids choose our menu we'd eat sugar cereal, pb & j and hot dogs daily. Guess what? We don't because I'm a grown up and I know that those things are treats and not for regular consumption.