New R.I. mandates aim to make school lunches more healthful

I am so glad I was born when I was.

From the article:

"It’s been a while since French fries have dared to make a public appearance in a Rhode Island school cafeteria. And the same holds true for fried fish sticks, potato puffs, ice cream cups, brownies and other fatty, sugary foods. This year, the list of extinct school lunch foods will get a lot longer due to more stringent nutrition requirements instituted by the state Department of Education.

“I’m thrilled with these,” Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist says of the requirements approved by the Board of Regents in February. “It’s going to be a work in progress and there will be an adjustment period, but what won’t change is our commitment to better nutrition for our students. Also to think that Rhode Island is leading the country in this area is exciting.”

projo.com/news/content/NU_SCHOOL_FOOD_09-13-09_S9FMFBU_v18.3eb16ac.html

I think it might have been nice to have some decent food in the school cafeteria where I grew up. If someone had offered vegetables that were nutritious, I would have eaten them.

Some of their ideas, though, might result in waste. Putting dried legumes (barfy mature lima beans, no doubt) in the veggies will just make a lot of kids refuse the veggies. It’s not like you aren’t giving them enough protein, fiber, folate, and iron through other means, I assume. If you must satisfy some group somewhere that believes dried legumes supply nutrients that nothing else supplies, at least offer them in a better form than by ruining the vegetables. Some kids might actually eat them pureed in soup. I’d suggest baked beans, but those have sugar in them, so aren’t an option under their program.

If they don’t watch out, all food everywhere outside of the cafeteria will taste “better” to the kids. That won’t help promote the cafeteria food.

Looking at Rhode Island’s new mandates, this is just getting a little closer to what school lunches were when I was a kid (I’m approaching old fogeyhood). We had meat or chicken or fish, vegetables, a starch, salads, and dessert was generally either pudding or fruit (cake on occasion). We did have white bread, white rice, and full-fat milk, but nobody ate whole wheat bread, brown rice, or drank low fat milk back then.

We kids ate the school lunch, and I don’t remember anyone throwing the food in the trash, either. We weren’t catered to at home, with Mom preparing a special “kid meal” every time we whined about what she was serving. As soon as were old enough to chew “adult” food, we ate what the rest of the family ate. We grew up eating what was put in front of us, and developed more adventurous palates than most kids have today. And this wasn’t just my family; every household I ever visited back then operated pretty much the same way.

Kids can eat vegetables, salad, fish, etc., if they come into school accustomed to eating those foods at home. :slight_smile:

I was thinking the same thing as CarolAnnSFO the previous poster. We never saw french fries or other fried foods in our school lunches in the 50’s or 60’s. Dessert was fruit, jello, or ice cream on occasion. Of course in high school my friends and I usually didn’t eat lunch.

It’s interesting that the previous poster Pug mentioned lima beans. Senior citizens better watch out. A nursing home I used to visit seemed to serve plain, hard, smelly lima beans every day. I figured the dietician was trying to provide for fiber and vitamin requirements the easy way by only using this one food.

And I read a newspaper article a few years ago about a senior citizen center no longer allowing donuts or other sweets to be served with the coffee. The seniors weren’t happy.

It’s been a while since French fries have dared to make a public appearance in a Rhode Island school cafeteria. And the same holds true for fried fish sticks, potato puffs, ice cream cups, brownies and other fatty, sugary foods.

This year, the list of extinct school lunch foods will get a lot longer due to more stringent nutrition requirements instituted by the state Department of Education.

“I’m thrilled with these,” Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist says of the requirements approved by the Board of Regents in February. “It’s going to be a work in progress and there will be an adjustment period, but what won’t change is our commitment to better nutrition for our students. Also to think that Rhode Island is leading the country in this area is exciting.”

The responsibility for making the new menu mandates work will rest with the private food service companies that contract with school districts throughout the state. Their representatives say that they need to be resourceful in seeking out affordable sources of whole-grain snacks and other specialty foods and they also need to make sure they don’t lose student customers who may be initially daunted by the parade of vegetables that will dominate cafeteria serving lines.


Bouquet Sauvage

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