As a teacher, I'm very concerned with the school lunch choices provided to my students. They lack any nutritional value and as Alicia would say . . . just TOXIC! These children are our future. Children need to learn at an early age to make healthy choices. Yet, the information they are being spoon fed from the media and their uninformed families is all bologna! How do I educate my 1st grade students about nutrition without crossing the line of family beliefs/social norms? I want to initiate a district-wide movement towards awareness. Where do I start?
is it possible to have a school vegie garden? I know in Australia there is a woman called Stephanie Alexander who has implemented a program across the country where children plant and harvest their own vegetables. As Stephanie is a published cook she also provides great advice about how to use the vegatables that the children have harvested. It seems to be quite successful http://www.stephaniealexander.com.au/garden.htm
I think the problem for a lot of people isn't the actual 'diet' itself but the label. As many have already said on this forum, the word vegan conjures up ideas of radicalism, - so people don't want to be associated with it. I think the trick is to really to trick people into eating healthy!! Give them yummy heatlhy food and let them experience how fun it is to create them and then let them know how healthy it is. Hopefully the children will go home with some knew found knowledge they can pass onto their parents and their new healthy eating can be incorporated into their homelifes good luck
My daughter's school started with a wellness committee and luckily we have some super involved parents at our school and this really made a difference. It's still a work in progress but they are making a difference. One of our parents is also a well known chef in NYC and he's doing a great job with working with what the DOE guidelines, the food that is provided to the school and the cafeteria workers to see how they can make things better. I'll try to find the article about him and see if I can post it here.
Here is an interesting link. They are by no means turning the school cafeteria vegan, but nonetheless it's still making it healthier and giving children more vegetarian options. I usually just send me daughter with a lunch from home and on the days when she gets school lunch I don't make a big deal out of what she eats because it's rare but I tell her to never eat school cafeteria hamburger and to choose a PBJ if that is the only option. http://www.wellnessintheschools.org/data/org/58/media/doc/7718_telepan_story_sept_oct_2009_eman-1.pdf
I am a teacher as well and have a first grader (along with a 2 and 4 year old) I agree, the lunches are terrible, I only allow my child to buy his lunch 1x week, even though he wants more. I love the idea of the garden, you could also start some sort of section of your class weekly that involves cooking healthy. first graders would love that, my preschooler does a cooking thing every few weeks, and my child has tried foods she would NEVER touch before. Laptop lunches also has a little pamphlet that comes when you order from them, that involves a kind of reward system for making healthy food choices, and include exercise, drinking water, etc.... I'm thinking about starting it with my kids at home. If your interested, I could send it to you. One thing I really wish the kids could have would be more fresh produce, they just get giant sized cans of fruit and vegetables dumped into a trough, who wants that? Gosh, now I want to try to start a garden at our school. Course it's a little tough in the winter in kansas. good luck!! I think you obviously have to be careful, and probably don't want to put out information about how meat and dairy is so bad for you, parents would be unhappy, but you could just introduce how great the beans and grains, along with veggies are as well. that would still be a huge step in the right direction.
So glad to see you all talking about this. The school lunch issue is so hard to deal with! My daughter's school made a big deal about healthy food at the BEGINNING of the year. But since then, there are bake sales every week. They bring in pizza once a week. All in the name of "fund raising". Kids bring in birthday cupcakes constantly to share with everyone. Then of course there is Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, all celebrated with gobs of the cheapest candy possible. You can already see kids developing weight problems. If you try to bring it up with the school, they say there is nothing they can do. And the other moms get furious. Just makes me feel awful. Then my daughter (kindergarten) comes home and says "Mommy, you forgot my pizza money again". Gads! Is she suffering for my convictions?
I just started college this spring, and I am having the CRAZIEST time trying to find food to eat in the cafeteria! they're making me pay for twenty one meals a week, and the prices are ridiculously high, I've told them that i'm vegan and they offer myself and other vegans at the school very minimal options, meaning salad, rice, and sometimes soup, and i eat oatmeal everyday. I mean everrrryday. They're system is suppose to offer vegan options but they have only once since the five weeks i've gone here. I take risks by eating a vegetarian tofu option, but i have no idea if there is butter in the dish or not. I keep having to risk what i believe in and its something i would rather not have to compromise. But it's either that or i eat salad everyday. I dunno what to do!! If anyone as suggestions as to how i can cope with the cafeteria at George Fox University (near Portland-ironically a huge city with a ton of vege people) please let me know! I can truly use all the help i can get! : )
Lauren, I had similiar troubles a few years ago in my freshman year. I ended up giving up and I wish I had taken a few more steps because its hard enough to be vegan, but even harder when the food sucks. I was so frustrated because spagetti marinara and romaine salad and cereal are fine for occasional out to eats, but I got anemic and tired and gave up. Try finding other people at your college that have similiar dietary needs. You can petition to have more nutritious options. I would highly recomend also taking a really good multivitamin. Peta has a book for being a vegan college kid. Also, try checking the menus of other cafeterias at your school, there might be one with better vegan options. I know you are trying to focus on your schoolwork, but there might be other kids going through the same thing. So try visiting the office of someone in charge and bring some resources about plant based nutrition. Everyone would benefit from having brown rice, beans and more vegetables. It really is your right as a student and a forced customer to have food provided that meets your moral and nutritional needs. Demand it. We've got your back.