School Lunch

Think back to middle school.Sorry for that horrifying request.Think back to lunch at middle school.If you are like me, you attended public schools in the late nineties and early 00's.Lunch at this time consisted of a Grade F meat, usually deep-fried or pizza, with a side of French fries or bread sticks, with chocolate milk to wash it all down.

Now, for some reason, every politician and school board employee I know of claims that the current obesity epidemic in children and young adults is some great big shock.That they had no way of knowing how this happened or what we can do to rectify the situation.

At this point you are probably saying, but Dan, why is this an issue?We are cooks.We work in restaurants and hotels, not school lunches.To that I say bully.It has always been my belief that chefs and cooks are less paid food monkeys and more stewards of the land.As the people that work with food and get paid to do so, our opinions regarding the preparation of food carry a certain weight.We are the people who are looked at to be leaders when it comes to good tasting food.In my opinion, it is the duty of every decent cook and chef out there to advocate the use of the healthiest products from the land.By teaching people to once again enjoy the food that comes from the land, we can help steer this country back to a population of healthier, smarter, more competitive individuals.

And it all starts in the schools.Why do we let corporations like Pepsi and Coke stick vending machines full of sugary drinks in our schools?Why do we let candy companies put the same machines in every hallway where the youth of our nation go to learn?Why is the food that is served to young kids being provided by the lowest bidder, who just sends in fried carbohydrates and hyper-processed protein every single day?Because it makes money?I disagree with that, because I believe that the cost of exposing children to these low-nutrient, high-sugar substances outweighs any money that these companies make.

I believe we need to start investing more money into the school lunch programs throughout the nation.Food should not be something that we allow the lowest bidder to be responsible for.Schools across the nation should begin working with local farmers to provide at least some fresh produce to students.Students should be exposed to where their food comes from, how it is made, and what specifically goes into it.If this is too big of a task for the federal government, why not allow state governments to take control with mandatory benchmarks?All I am saying is that if we keep feeding our kids the nutrientless, highly caloric processed crap they are getting now, then do not be surprised by the continually dwindling physical and mental fitness of our country.