October 6, 2011
A Year Of Terrible School Lunches Exposed
What started as an innocent, if unwelcome school lunch meal, turned into a year-long quest to document what meals were being served to school children daily, Huffington Post reports. In all, Sarah Wu ate 162 school lunches in one year.
Posting in her anonymous blog as Mrs. Q, Sarah Wu, 34, a speech pathologist in the Chicago public schools, wasn´t happy with the choices that the school presented her with: a soggy hot dog, six tater tots, a Jell-O cup and chocolate milk. “That particular meal seemed barely recognizable as food,” she told Good Morning America this week.“I was struck by the fact that the students I´m working with really rely on the school for so much, including potentially their best meal of the day," she added
Mrs. Q ate the same school lunches that the students received and published descriptions and photographs of every meal on her blog ℠Fed up With Lunch´, which received 1 million hits last year , she tells GMA.
Ninety percent of the kids in the large elementary school where she works qualified for free and reduced lunches. “Many of my students were coming from poverty,” says Wu. “Their families were living paycheck to paycheck. Many of my students relied on school lunch for their best meal of the day.”
Wu is hoping to point out a troublesome fact about the quality of school lunches, that they are just plain unhealthy. With a third of children in the US overweight or obese, many consumer advocates and parents have been struggling for years for healthier school meals, USA Today reports.
From her Day 42 post on lasagna: Wow. Truly monumentally bad. I couldn´t get through the main entree. I was hungry too“¦ I bit the cheese lasagna and it didn´t even pass muster as pasta! Al dente? No, al crappy. The pasta couldn´t hold its form and it crumbled. I ate two bites and I was done. Yuck.
Producers at Good Morning America reached out to Chicago Public Schools, and the system responded, “Our nutritional standards are designed to exceed the USDA´s gold standard of the healthiest US school challenge guidelines.”
“Chicago Public Schools has increased its choices of fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and eliminated deep fat frying.”
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law last year by President Barack Obama. The act in part aims to bring healthier meals to schools. And in an effort to reduce starches served in schools, the US Department of Agriculture announced last week a plan to eliminate potatoes from school breakfasts and cut the amount of potatoes served during lunches.
School districts however, to comply with new federal regulations that bring in fresh fruits and vegetables, have seen a rise in prices, The New York Times reported.
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