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In The News: Nacho Ideal Lunch

school lunchMore news on the deplorable state of national school lunch, this time courtesy of The Chicago Tribune.

At one North Side school cafeteria, “one line leads to fish nuggets, iceberg lettuce and canned peaches, Another [to] burgers and breaded chicken patty sandwiches, [and] the longest line to lunch workers [serving nachos].”

This is no anomaly.

Nachos are an almost daily entree at most Chicago public high schools and middle schools.  This means that “about 100,000 Chicago public high school students, 80 percent of whom qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, can choose nachos as an entree every day.”

The school district is quick to point out they “recently switched to whole-grain fried chips for its nachos and added chicken to the ground meat.”

Big whoop.  A deep fried chip is a deep fried chip, whether it’s made with whole grains or not.  The addition of chicken to ground meat is also rather meaningless, considering the atrocious amount of sodium added to it.

Wait, they have an even better defense — at least the school lunch isn’t “as bad” as what they can get at a fast food chain.

What’s next?  “Yeah, we know your child’s math teacher is pretty horrible, but at least he doesn’t beat them with a ruler if they get the answer wrong”?

The article also touches upon the laundry list of problems with the National School Lunch Program:

  • It is heavily dependent on United States Department of Agriculture commodity foods (the main ones being meat, soy, corn and wheat)
  • Vendor reimbursements are tightly linked to food sales
  • School districts are given minimal funds to cover not only food costs, but also equipment and labor

The most frustrating aspect of this “debate” is the argument that “kids just don’t live vegetables.”

By this, officials mean that children don’t like steamed, unsalted carrots and peas.

Who does?

In the “glass is kinda sorta almost half full if you look at it from this angle” department, Congress will soon reevaluate the Child Nutrition Act, setting up the possibility of changes to the National School Lunch Program.

Oh, who am I kidding?  That glass is almost as empty as Heidi Montag’s skull.

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