Yesterday I read about a teacher who is eating the school cafeteria lunch every day for a year and blogging anonymously about it. She's doing it undercover because she'd prefer not to lose her job. You understand. She calls her blog Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project.
I've been bouncing around reading some of her old posts and really thinking about this. She, and some of her guest bloggers who volunteer to contribute because she has obviously hit a nerve with this topic, all have such a caring attitude about the students. They CARE what these children are eating for lunch. The know that in many cases, it's the best meal the student gets all day....and this is it.
Actually, having taught in public school for 11 years, you would think I would shrug and say, "yeah, I knew that." But honestly, I'm kind of appalled. I only ate on certain days in the cafeteria. We staff members knew what days were worth going through the line for and what days to drop our students off at the cafeteria door.
The thing is, my old school (built in 1934) had an actual working kitchen and cafeteria ladies. You probably did too when you went to school. These days, it just costs too much to equip every new school with a kitchen and staff it. So they truck lunch in every day in little pre-measured, disposable containers. It's horrible. At least our cafeteria food had been prepared that morning!
But what she says about what is served vs. what they are actually eating is enough to really push you over the edge. All of this affects behavior, academic performance, EVERYTHING. Don't even get me started on how long they have to eat it and the fact that recess is practically a thing of the past. As a homeschool mom, I have the tremendous blessing and responsibility to feed my children healthy foods. I never really thought of it that way before.
Not only that, but my children can be served with love. I can sit at the table and talk with them and listen to all the things they want to tell me. Talking is allowed at lunchtime! I can read to them. I can't tell you how many lunches I've wasted sending them to the table to eat while I do something else or eat standing up in the kitchen.
This blog is making me realize how much better lunchtime could really be. I want that for these children in the public schools. I really want it for my own children. Here are some things I'm thinking about:
- having special placemats (my girls made some today out of posterboard)
- having some fake flowers in a vase to put on the table (hello dollar store)
- having a menu plan for lunch instead of just throwing something together each day. They could look forward to what is on the menu
- sitting with them to eat--am I really that busy?
What else could we do to make lunch special? The nutrition part will fall into place with a menu plan I think. The serving it with love will take a bit more effort and thought. There is supposed to be a post about daycare menus coming up on her blog and I am interested to see it. My girls really liked most of the food at the daycare they went to before I came home. I wonder how it is across the country?
What are your thoughts?