Food: A Follow Up
First I want to thank everyone for their comments on my last post, especially those who visited from Lynn’s blog. Your support in this means more than you can know.
Since my post two days ago, a few small things have happened. An Associate Superintendent of Schools has contacted me and provided me with information on the new regulations for school lunches (and eventually day cares) that will be phased in beginning July 1 of this year. And while it is a welcomed change, it will take a full three years before it is fully in effect, slowly limiting the cholesterol, saturated fats, sodium and calories allowed in school meals and specifying how often fresh fruits and veggies should be served, as well as whole grains and milk (Oh yes, I read through all 280 pages of it).
I’ve also started doing some research on the standards that Class A day cares are held to, at least in Louisiana (turns out these haven’t been updated since 2003). As a main menu item, day care centers have to provide “either a lean meat, poultry or fish; or cheese; or an egg; or cooked dry beans or peas; or peanut butter; or an equivalent quantity of any of these foods.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not consider a hot dog or a cheeseburger a lean meat and chicken nuggets and bean burritos are also pushing the provided definition. However, there is nothing that defines what a lean meat is. So technically the school is operating within these boundaries, as loose as they are.
The regulations also firmly state that children cannot bring any food in unless they meet one of the six exceptions that include: bottles, baby food, special diet, food allergies, religious reasons or birthday parties/ holidays. I’m still trying to wrap my head around birthday cupcakes being allowed to be brought in and healthy meals not. Fortunately, my daughter is going to fall into loosely defined “special diet” category.
A lot of people have asked me to keep them updated on this, and so I will be posting here on my progress. I’m not sure what can be done without overthrowing government regulations. And while the director’s attitude about what constitutes as “healthy food” is misguided and some of the things she said should not have been said, I don’t think she should be fired. She does a great job of running the program and has no say over the regulations enforced. I’m hoping to have a continued dialogue with her about improving what comes into the school and perhaps getting turkey or other true “lean meats” in as part of the diet.
I’m also going to talk to her again about Sarah being isolated during meals once I start sending her food and will continue to work on contacting other parents.
Thank you for your continued kind words. They are keeping me fired up about this issue!