Food Is Not Your Enemy

At Last: Better Lunches for Students
January 26, 2012, 3:05 pm
Filed under: food politics, Fruits, Vegetables, weight loss | Tags: ,

In an effort to reduce the rampant problem of childhood obesity, the White House has announced its long-awaited changes to school cafeteria meals. Kids can expect more fruits and green vegetables on their breakfast and lunch trays, and a whole lot less salt and fat. Great news.


School Food That Sort of Actually Rocked …
October 26, 2010, 10:47 am
Filed under: Events, food politics | Tags: ,

So I was on hand at the School Food Rocks event at MS 51 in Brooklyn this past weekend. A few things that stood out:

  • A girl, about 10, I’d guess, walked up to me at my information table and said, “Why do they call this ‘School Food Rocks’ when school food definitely does not rock?”
  • The school lunch they whipped up for us attendees sort of rocked. They now only use whole wheat pasta in NYC school cafeterias, something I was wary of when I first heard about it only because some brands of whole wheat pasta taste like cardboard. But they found a good kind, and my penne bolognese was good. On the side I had a roasted broccoli/cauliflower/carrot/chick pea combo that was truly tasty–I would have complimented a friend if they rolled this out as a dinner party side dish (not kidding!) They were also serving whole wheat flatbread paninis, fresh fruit, salad, and whole grain rolls.
  • The NYC school food program only gets to spend $1 a child for lunch. Which made our lunch at the event all the more impressive.
  • I learned just how much power parents can wield if they get organized and approach their kid’s school in a constructive way (offering solutions, not just complaining about problems). The executive chef of the NYC school food program is totally, completely on board with improving school food and understands the issues. So we are not fighting an uphill battle here against politicians who don’t care. Though money remains an issue, of course.

Curry or BBQ Sauce Made of Grape Jelly?
September 30, 2009, 10:19 am
Filed under: food politics | Tags: , ,

I’m loving the middle school in Queens, New York, that’s actually bothering to cook up fresh curries for its students. It’s good to see that there’s a very real movement to give kids fresh, real food in their school cafeterias.

Cost, of course, remains a barrier to wide-ranging change. The executive chef for New York City schools, Jorge Collazo, came and spoke to my class at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition this year, and told us he can only spend $1 per student per day for lunch. But he’s really trying to improve things–he’s made a point of bringing whole-wheat bread and whole-wheat pasta into NYC schools, and really gets it that kids deserve something better than processed junk.