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Do You Really Know What is in Your Childs School Lunch? 3 Ways You Can Make a Change
by Eden Kozlowski,
ATH Co-Editor of Meditation

 

 

Editor's Note from Carol Lawrence & Stacy Toten: Nutrition and health is vitally important for our children. Nutrition supports healthy bodies, the ability to process, learn and retain information. School lunches are in the midst of change across the country. We support finding ways to provide all children with healthy food.

 

I teach meditation, mindfulness and wellness. I am not a nutrition “expert” but know enough to instigate change as I am poignantly mindful about not only what goes into my head but also into my body.

While some of my students proclaim that I "eat bark," I am truly about finding balance. I have a passion for kale but also chocolate and kick butt, homemade French fries. It also helps that I have a spouse who heavily consumes nutrition-ish books like In Defense of Food and Rich Food/Poor Food. And, to add one more thing... I am also a parent who cares about all kids having an opportunity to live a healthy life.

And, here we go... oh look... I'm stepping up on my podium preparing to spread the cautious word about school lunch. I pack my kids' lunches every, every darn day. When I pop in to visit my girls during their lunch hour, I see their lil' faces cringe because they know that every “buyer” within earshot is going to get an education about the questionable items on their lunch tray.

And, now that I've got you within earshot... have you really contemplated what your child is eating at school? If not, have I got a strawberry milk treat for you. Here is a photo that I took on a typical day during lunch. Below this feast for the eyes, my two certified nutritionist friends summarize this overly yellow delight.



 

First, let's hear from Mandi Babkes with Holistic Health with Mandi out of Pennsylvania, with all of her many titles -- MNH, HHC, AADP, QRA:

“This lunch makes me sad and concerned, as it is bombarded with processed, sugar-laden and toxic foods. Look closely: syrupy fruit, pink "strawberry flavored" milk and yellow slurry resembling cheese? Studies prove that sugar, high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, and food additives are fueling childhood obesity, early onset diabetes, immune suppression, attention/behavioral disorders and disease. Why not fresh, organic and the real deal? Is it merely coincidental that food allergies began to skyrocket the year GMOs were introduced?

Dyes that make that milk pink and cheese yellow have been linked to cancer and hyperactivity in children. Hormones and antibiotics have been proven to cause precocious puberty and severe immune suppression. We must recognize that food matters. Most chain grocery stores carry affordable, healthy options for the whole family!"

See Mandi's full review here.

Next is Heather Lentz at Koi Vitality Health Coaching also in Ohio:

“Wow! Two things stand out immediately -- lots of additives and plenty of sugar. I will tell you the nacho cheese sauce has MSG, which is an excitotoxin and could trigger or worsen learning disabilities; partially hydrogenated oils which are trans-fats* that cause inflammation which can lead to heart disease; and yellow food dyes which may contribute to behavioral disturbances in children. Corn chips - fat and salt - end of story. Yogurt... here's the deal on that 4 oz little guy, he boasts 1 tablespoon of sugar! The maximum daily limit of added sugar for children ages 4-8. And the strawberry milk is going to have about 22g of sugar. Some of those grams will be from lactose (milk sugar) while the rest will be from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). So nearly 2 tablespoons of sugar in that 8oz carton, and one villainous artificial sweetener that has been linked to our obesity epidemic and implicated in the rise of childhood fatty liver disease. Moving to the pineapple... given the amount of added sugar and additives in the other items, the pineapple tidbits are probably the healthiest bits on this tray. This lunch offers roughly 510 calories, 12g fat, 3g sat. fat, 16g protein, 89g carbohydrates, 59g sugar, and 4g fiber. Unfortunately not a balanced meal at all."

(*Note, as we were writing this article, the F.D.A. just took a stand on trans fats as no longer “generally being recognized as safe!” See the New York Times.)

After reading all of that, are you ready to check out 3 immediate ways to help make a change??

#Idea 1

This is an obvious step but definitely not a particularly convenient one... pack lunch for your kids/teens!!! If it is too challenging to commit to every day, how about start once a week or even once per month. That is a wonderful way to begin. And, wink, Lunchables do not count. Here are some good ideas.

#Idea 2


Educate yourself or become friends with someone like me who can't stop talking. As referenced above... strawberry and chocolate milks have sugar content comparable to soda. Just knowing that fact is powerful. The day I took this picture 90-95% of kids who bought lunch were drinking flavored milks (the average says 70%).

Watch documentaries like Weight of the Nation on HBO, and I still am a huge fan of Super Size Me from 2004. I've converted many to a more mindful eating philosophy just by having them watch that movie (it also discusses school lunch).

Can't forget Jamie Oliver... my hero (who has taken some major heat). Check out the awesome, persevering work he has been doing now for many years and see his incredibly useful school food fact toolkit.

#Idea 3

Begin reading labels on packaged foods at your own grocery store. The crazy, scientific sounding ingredients found there are also in your child's school lunch (and possibly on your own dinner table). Blue #1, polysorbate 60, corn sweetner, aspartame... google them... the info is abundant and astounding.

Start talking to teachers, principals, neighbors and share facts. If you begin packing or already pack, tell others. I believe in a school lunch revolution but baby steps are sometimes the biggest steps. Start taking yours and together we will be a force for food change. For inspiration here are some schools stepping it up, right now! Finally, if you have something neat to add about your own foodie/lunchie/kiddie experience or good food movies that you have seen, please share below.

 

 

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About the Author

 

Eden's passion is helping people, her community and her world live the way of the heart – an inspired and rich way of being. Founder and CEO of Just Be, LLC – a dynamic company rooted in meditation/mindfulness practices – she gracefully shows individuals, teachers, students, companies and professionals how to de-stress and foster mental, physical and emotional wellness. Listen to Eden's free meditations and Be-isms and contact her for private sessions or classes via just-be.info. Also, read her blog on The Huffington Post.

 

Contact:

 

edenk@allthingshealing.com
justbeinformation@gmail.com
Website: just-be.info
Blog: The Huffington Post
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JustBeMeditation
Twitter: @JustBeMeditate

Akron, OH USA

 

 

 

 

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