In reading a NPR report on getting children to actually eat these healthier school lunches, I came across a term that piqued my curiosity: libertarian parternalism.
The University of Chicago faculty blog defines explains libertarian parternalism as:
The basic idea is that private and public institutions might nudge people in directions that will make their lives go better, without eliminating freedom of choice. The paternalism consists in the nudge; the libertarianism consists in the insistence on freedom, and on imposing little or no cost on those who seek to go their own way.
Sadly, Congress has chosen lobbyist money over kids’ health again, but at least the mainstream media is reporting it with headlines like “Pizza is a vegetable”.
Of course, we scoff when we hear such nonsense, but I can’t help but think of our homemade pizzas that are loaded with vegetables. Unfortunately, that is not what is served in schools across the country.
Earlier this year, the USDA issued new dietary guidelines for school lunches based upon recommendations by the Institute of Medicine from 2009. School districts responded with large districts, like LA Unified,showing how it could be done. Last month, my own little district passed a new board policy outlining healthier school meals, as well as supporting school gardens and farm-to-school programs.
Now, in an effort to weaken the new standards for school lunches, GOP Representatives want to classify pizza as a vegetable since there is tomato paste on the crust. The GOP feels schools are “overburdened” by the new regulations, but truly our representatives are caving into lobbyists.
Packing your child’s school lunch is the most effective method for ensuring they eat healthy food while at school; however, often these lunches are full of plastic bags and plastic containers. Munchkin has some solutions to this toxic packaging.
Munchkin Cloth Snack Bags: These cloth bags are really cool! We have reviewed other cloth bags that close with velcro closure and were handmade, but I do prefer the zippers on these bags. They can be thrown in the washing machine, and they avoid the use of ziplock bags in home packed lunches. Plus, I love the prints!
These eco-friendly reusable fabric bags are perfect for packing everything from snacks to pacifiers. Made with a water-repellent lining and machine washable material, they are durable and easy to clean. (3 per pack)
The only drawback to this product is it is made in China.
If you have ever tried to change a school menu, you know how challenging it can be to get the kitchen staff to alter the carefully prepared menu fearing dietary regulations. As school gardens become more and more prevalent, the questions arises what to do with all of that healthy, organic produce. Sharing it with families and feeding it to children are obvious work arounds to school lunch regulations, but isn’t the point to supplement the unhealthy meals served in the kitchen?
I work in public education, and I am always appalled at what is actually fed to children for their school lunches. Whenever we bring this to the attention of the administration and school board, we are always met with the same budgetary reasons this can’t be changed.
Over 31 million children in American schools will have a chance of a better school lunch as the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) passed today.
“Cheetos with cheese does not have a place in a school lunch program,” said Josh Viertel, President of Slow Food USA. “It is about time we gave children the school lunch they deserve.”
“We know that our food system is broken when the food we feed our children will cause one in three to develop diabetes, and when obesity levels are at an all-time high. This Bill is far from perfect, and has involved large compromises, but is a great achievement towards our end goal of making kids healthier,” he continued.