Monday, September 30, 2013

National School Lunch Program

Hello all!

This weekend was a ton of fun! On Friday Dwayne and I attended a charity event in Uptown Charlotte and had a wonderful time! I am not going to share the name of the charity in this post because of the fact that some of the content of this point dealing with the federally subsidized lunch programs may prove controversial to some but I always like to recap what's been going on in my life since my last post.

Saturday we attended an 'Indoors -Outside' party at our friend Lee's house to celebrate the completion of his amazing outside deck. I wish I would have remembered to take pictures of the whole thing but at least my friends and I had a good time showcasing the new double-sided fire place.

Yea, that's right. The parties I go to have t-shirts. Do yours?

Aside from hanging out all night with a group of wonderful people, one of the highlights of the night was that there were a handful of Spanish speakers there! I got to practice for a few hours speaking to them and I was so elated to get to practice in a no stress situation. Learning Spanish is one of the things that I am very proud of. I set a goal for myself, I found a teacher and I put in the work to learn the language and now I can speak with native speakers and be understood. I still have a long way to go to be completely comfortable but when native speakers tell me that they think I am fluent, the smile on my face just doesn't go away.

Then Sunday brought on a simply disgraceful Steelers loss. I don't think that I have ever seen them play so poorly but at least my Pittsburgh friends in Charlotte managed to serve IC light and Mancini's bread for the game. Win!

Now onto the meat of this post, I always look for articles to read while I am getting ready for work in the morning and I stumbled upon another article this morning discussing the Federally Subsidized Healthy School Lunch Programs.

For those of you who don't know, this program provides schools with additional grants and funding to meet strict health standards for their free or low-cost meal options for students. Now, we have heard time and time again the thoughts surrounding this program. The outrage with people shouting "How dare the government tell us what we feed our kids?!" or "This change is going to ruin the school systems because they can't afford the food!"

Now, statements like this make me want to rip my hair out and let me tell you why. First of all, it is so disheartening to have to work so hard to sift through all the crap rhetoric out there about what's going on in government and find the truth. Not just with our health, but with everything. We all know that there is another government shutdown looming, which probably won't happen but it effects low income families, active military and WIC programs the most while members of government still get their paychecks. Government is the only job you can have where you can throw a tantrum and say " I don't like you all anymore, I am taking my ball and going home!" and you still have a job and paycheck when you show back up on Monday. 

Second, I hate this battle cry of "How dare the government tell me what to feed my kids!" This statement makes my skin crawl and the reason for this is simple. I will say that I am dead center when it comes to the political spectrum, I lean liberal on social policy and conservative on fiscal policy but these programs offer FREE or Low-cost meals subsidized by the government and taxpayers. So, my feeling is that if you choose to take this government subsidized option, then you choose to eat what they give you. It's similar to when I was a  kid and when I didn't like what my parents bought for dinner the answer was "Ok, well make yourself something else or eat what I made. This isn't a restaurant." Your choices are pack your own lunch, eat what I give you for free or go hungry. Why should there be more options than that?

Now, I know there are people that will argue that the food that's being served isn't being eaten by the kids because they think it tastes bad or the portions are too small. Reality check time,  the reason that kids don't like the taste of it is because in most cases it's FOOD. The goal is (although it's missed sometimes) that it's minimally processed, it's not covered in sugar or's food. The sad truth is that most kids don't know what actual food is. Now, not all things are that great I understand that serving food on a national scale would mean it's hard to maintain quality and freshness. I get it. Also, sometimes the low fat options are worse than the full fat. Cheese is a good example of this but at least it is trying to combat the possibility of childhood obesity. Also, the portions of the meals are not too small, they are what should be eaten the problem is that the portions we eat normally are sincerely out of whack! One lunch combo meal at McDonalds has enough calories, sugar and salt for an entire day. So yes, when you are used to eating that much and then someone hands you a 450 calorie lunch, it's going to be a shock.

I am not an expert, I wasn't a part of creating this program and these are just my feelings on what I have seen and researched. I understand there are different points of view on this and a slew of other things right now. It's just something I had to voice.