There are many misconceptions about school food, from what it costs, to what’s in it and where it comes from. School lunch is often accused of being a factor in the childhood obesity problem in the US. Hundreds of thousands of children consume at least one meal a day at school, so it makes sense that parents, doctors, and even school faculty and staff voice concern about what children are eating for lunch. However, before pointing the finger at the cafeteria, consider the basics of how school food service runs, who actually prepares the food, and what guidelines must be followed.
Food service directors and staff are rarely quoted in discussions about childhood obesity. Let’s Go!, a nationally recognized childhood obesity program, polled school nutrition directors about what they wanted members of the school community to know about the school food program at their school. Their answers offer an introduction for anyone interested in learning more about school as well as expressing larger truths about food service operations throughout the country . A conversation with food service staff may be the best place to learn more about school food service.
Click here to read “10 Things You Always Wanted to Know About Your School Nutrition Program” and get the dialogue started!
Katherine Baildon, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs