Thursday, September 27, 2012

This Just In: Kids Hate Diet Lunches

The Geneva Convention prohibits the killing of our taste buds. -Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H

School lunches have never been known for being appetizing, but under the new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, they're so bad that students are organizing protests.

Some critics of the protests say that an 850-calorie limit should be enough, and if the kids don't like it, they should bring their own lunches.

First, the calories. They're poor quality sugar and starch that's like Chinese food without the flavor and texture: it leaves you hungry an hour later--or a minute later for some kids. Google school lunch images: it's a beige sea of bread, breading and potatoes. The new guidelines call for more fruits and vegetables--which the kids have to put on their trays--but (1) fruit is mostly sugar, (2) it's hard to eat certain fruits and veg if you wear braces, (3) fruit and veg aren't filling, and (4) the fruit and veg are going in the trash anyway. Those whole grains that the guidelines call for are basically starch with the antinutrients that most grains have. My own experience eating a carb-heavy diet was that I was hungry enough to eat the wallpaper every few hours.

Next, Just Say No. School lunches are taxpayer supported and they're supposed to be a service. Kids and parents have every right to complain if they aren't satisfactory. And some schools--probably illegally--don't allow students to bring their own lunches or dictate what kids can bring. This could force the issue to the tipping point. Speaking of which, I'm reminded of this scene from M*A*S*H*.

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