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Thread: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

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    Default If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    Clarissa A. León
    September 2, 2014 |

    America's obesity crisis could use some inspiration from abroad.


    The standard school lunch for an American child often contains dishes brimming with preservatives and sodium. While some schools have completely overhauled their school menus to contain fresh vegetables and grains, others still struggle with meeting nutritional guidelines. But for students in France, it appears that school lunches are the least of their concerns.

    Rebecca Plantier moved to a town near Annecy, France to research why French children aren't as overweight as many American children are.

    Keep reading: http://www.alternet.org/food/french-kids-are-not-fat
    ➤ Happiness is the frosting on the cake of contentment.

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    Default Re: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    Childhood obesity can probably be laid almost directly on the doorstep of the fast food establishments, that and grocery store convenience foods. How many middle school and high school kids actually eat lunches cooked at the school cafeteria? Probably not many these days. We have three such schools that I drive past almost daily. There are numerous fast food joints within a block of each school and a constant migration of kids back and forth around lunchtime. It's like leading a horse to water. As long as kids are free to leave school property to buy their lunch elsewhere, they will ignore the cafeteria's offerings, no matter how healthy.

    Another thing, it's probably cheaper to buy something off the dollar menu at McDonald's. Even back when I was in high school, my parents couldn't afford for me to buy school lunches more than about once a week. Back in those days I brown-bagged it because there weren't any nearby burger joints. Had there been, I might have been tempted since time was always at a premium on school mornings. As it was, my slice of lunchmeat slapped between two slices of bread, plus an apple or orange, probably wasn't much healthier.

    Thirdly, obesity doesn't start or stop with school lunches. The whole family goes out to Burger King or Pizza Hut for their evening meal, and not just once in a while. People develop a taste for convenience food. It's fast, cheap, and they like it. A lot of parents either don't know how to cook, are too tired after work, or are too lazy to cook, hence the fast food places. If kids are used to eating junk for breakfast and dinner, most of them aren't going to salivate over the idea of braised veal for lunch.
    Last edited by Lovemywesties; 09-04-14 at 12:56 PM.

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    Default Re: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    From what I read, American school children wouldn't eat these meals even if they were offered to them. They have already developed a taste for junk food, whereas in France, food is regarded differently. Though the French are changing too, and accepting fast food. Sigh!

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    Default Re: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    Yes, American fast food is everywhere these days, even France. Years ago we met a man staying at our hotel in Denmark. He was from England. He made the comment that he has to go to the "continent" to get a decent meal because "the Brits eat shit, and so do the Americans." Maybe the pendulum will eventually swing the other way and junk food will lose its appeal, but I won't hold my breath. I feel sorry for the kids growing up on that stuff. Many of them will surely face serious health issues as they get older.

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    Default Re: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    I'm a little confused by some of the things I've heard about the U.S. National School Lunch Program. I guess what's most confusing is the assertion that kids bypass "healthy" lunches of whole grain, fruits & veggies in favor of fast food lunches. According to the Food Research and Action Center (a 40 yr. non-profit with the goal of ending hunger in America), over 21 million U.S. students participated in the "free" or "reduced price" lunch program in the school year 2012-2013. In order for these kids to be eligible for the "free lunch" program, their family's income had to be at or below 130 percent of the poverty level ($30,615 for a family of four in 2013). Question: how can 21 million poor kids, who presumably can't afford to buy lunch, walk away from a free lunch or forego a free lunch in favor of a fast food lunch? My point: Not all kids are thumbing their noses at school lunches. Some of these kids only get to eat at school.
    Last edited by Mr. Wizard; 09-05-14 at 09:12 PM.

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    Default Re: If Only American Kids Could Eat School Lunches Like They Do in France

    My kids ate very well at home, but we were always low-income enough to qualify for reduced lunches. My kids covered a span of 14 years; I think toward the end, the quality of the lunches deteriorated as more "catered," processed foods replaced those cooked on the premises...but there was always a salad bar and my kids frequently chose that as opposed to what was on offer. Fast food outlets had not yet invaded the cafeteria, and since it was rural, there were no other options within walking distance. But I do think the reduced price and free lunch recipients were happy enough to eat their school choices. My kids might disagree with that statement.
    ➤ Happiness is the frosting on the cake of contentment.

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