Jun 01, 2012 08:00 PM
Posted by Jessica Kuepfer
I thought it would be appropriate as Congress 2012 wraps up a week of learning and research sharing at the two local Universities to focus on an issue that should be of major importance to students at all levels of education - the food that is served in their schools.
On September 1, 2008, The Healthy Food for Healthy Schools Act was introduced by the Ontario government which required schools to eliminate trans fat from food and beverages sold on their premises. This included deep fried food, prepackaged snacks and baked goods. This was part of a broader effort to develop healthier learning environments and improve student achievement since research has shown that children who eat a healthy diet are more ready to learn and more likely to be successful in school.
Schools, however, are starting to speak up about the financial costs of feeding healthy food to our kids and are questioning whether their efforts are effective.
Schools in the local region saw a 25-30 percent decline in cafeteria sales in the last year and say they are barely breaking even.
Reasons for the lack of interest in the healthy fares? The cost: Healthy food are more expensive. A chocolate bar, for example, can sit on a shelf until it’s expiry date; but a salad has a much shorter shelf life. Another issue is that students are moving off school property to purchase their “fix” of unhealthy food. Cafeteria staff are getting frustrated, feeling the initiative is wasted if it doesn’t carry on past the school doors.
What is to be done to counter this lack of interest in healthy food? First, I think it is the responsibility of the parents and older students to demonstrate an appreciation of healthy food. That means packing healthy lunches and preparing nutritious meals. Second, it is the responsibility of the school to explain to students the dangers of putting trans fats and processed foods into their bodies. Beyond that, the question is whether parents and students are willing to pay more for food that is more nutritious.
What do you think is the answer? Your comments would be welcome!
For more information, please refer to the following Sources:
Tags: school food
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