A Chicago area school is using it’s authority to enforce the new USDA Child Nutrition statuettes put in place by Congress and The Obama Administration. The school at the center of this controversial act is Little Village Academy on Chicago’s West Side. Little Village will require their students to eat school lunches, effectively banning all outside lunches
In a Chicago Tribune story, Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.
“Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school,” Carmona said. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.”
Forbidding children to bring food from home or other outside sources, without proper nutritional knowledge, only incites impulsive reactions from children that don’t receive access to good tasting, nutritionally dense food regardless of the source. American children are increasingly eating diets that overwhelmingly consist of US subsidized corn, wheat, and soy.
Little Village recognizes the problem with many their parent’s choices, but by reducing parent’s autonomy is essentially blaming the victim. The government makes nutritionally defunct food easily accessible on a fixed diet. Many parents that qualify for school lunch vouchers are not able to afford expensive produce unless it’s a genetically modified version.
As with many good intentions, this action taken is paved to obesity and health care hell. Lobbying firm Center for Consumer Freedom, which doesn’t recognize the obesity problem in America, says they’re against any measure that would ban parents from packing lunches for students. Even though they make seemingly sound arguments against the measure, this lobbying firm is really advocating for their large corporate donors, like Tyson Foods, to swallow the school lunch market completely. Chicken fingers are available via Little Village’s lunch provider Chartwells-Thompson, which buys their food wholesale from a larger factory farm similar to Tyson Foods. There is no difference, the entire system is flawed.
FrugiVoice: Do the think Principal Carmona is right to ban outside lunches? Would you protest if your child was forced to eat at school?
Hmph, I have worked with schools and I think this is well-intentioned but terrible idea.
I think Principal Carmona was on the right track by bringing awareness to the issue of unhealthy school lunches but taking away a parent’s right to pack a meal is a bit extreme. What about offering Back to School nights where healthy school lunches can be prepared? Why not ask each parent to send in a recipe and get a nutritionist to make it healthier? What about partnering with a local hospital to offer nutrition classes in the school? There a lot of different models out there where parents, school principals, and food service providers have offered healthier lunch options and at affordable prices. Bans should always be a last resort.