With childhood obesity on the rise, schools and organizations are looking for more nutritional options for kids in the lunchroom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.5 million American children ages 2 to 17 are obese, a number that has almost tripled since 1980. Obese children account for 17 percent of all children in that age range. The main factors in this disturbing trend are pretty obvious – less exercise and poor nutritional choices for many kids.
While schools can’t change how kids eat at home, they can make a difference by offering healthier choices in the cafeteria. Some schools, like those in Greeley, Colorado, are going back to the basics when preparing lunches. Instead of prepackaged menu items (think frozen pizzas squares and chicken nuggets), the cooks will be making 75 percent of cafeteria offerings from scratch, with hopes of having that number at 100 percent by the end of the school year.
“We’re teaching kids how to eat again,” Elida Martinez, a kitchen worker in the Greeley school district, said in a recent New York Times article.
First Lady Michelle Obama has also made children’s nutrition a priority. Her Let’s Move! initiative aims to add salad bars to schools across the country. With a large selection of fresh fruits and vegetables in a salad bar, the hope is that more children will make healthier nutritional decisions.
What do you think of your school’s lunchroom offerings? How could they be improved?