You can build it, but will they eat it? In a new study, the U.S. Department of Agriculture examined whether serving more fruits and veggies in school lunches is actually correlated with kids eating more fruits and veggies at lunchtime.
The study is especially relevant because new USDA rules required schools to serve more fruits and vegetables starting in the 2012-2013 school year. The USDA doesn't yet have any data from that change, so it examined 2005 data from the schools that already met the new requirements. In those schools, kids ate, on average, significantly more vegetables than kids at schools that didn't meet the new standards. Nevertheless, many individual kids wouldn't eat any vegetables.
Taking a closer look at the data, the USDA found some funny and unexpected patterns. We hope data like these will help schools shape their lunchrooms to steer kids toward healthier choices:
- Older white and Asian boys were the least likely to eat fruit, dark green vegetables and orange vegetables (Apples and carrots are not manly?).
- Kids whose parents identified them as "very picky" ate fewer veggies.
- Having an open campus, where kids could go buy lunch outside of school, didn't affect the fruit and veggie consumption of kids who ate school lunches.
- Kids who came from families that had trouble with hunger and food insecurity didn't eat more of their lunches than other kids.
It is great to strive to make meals for children healthier but they need to consider that this cannot be a one size fits all solution. I am a super taster which means that I have more tastebuds per inch than usual. It is pretty common. Foods taste different too me. Watermelon and tomatoes taste very bitter. Citrus fruits are so sour that I can't stand them. When I was in grade school they started a program where they made us drink orange juice every day. They would line us up and threaten to force feed me (they said I was just being difficult).
I never ate the school lunch because it was always stuff I couldn't eat. Now I hear schools are throwing away sack lunches because they don't feel they are healthy enough and forcing kids to by a school lunch. This is crazy. A lot of the stuff they are pushing isn't any better, it just sounds like it should be.
I am pushing 50 never eat fruit, hardly eat veggies, and that's just the way it is.
I wish I liked all those things but I don't so it is scary that the government thinks they can force us to do what they want.
The study was supposed to come out supporting the new, more socially acceptable lunch programs, and worked hard to come out with positive sounding results.
Here are the very obvious conclusions that the unnecessary study comes up with, worded in a less pandering way:
1 - veggie consumption increases at schools that offer no choices except veggies
2 - the kids who are most likely to have options other than a state-controlled menu and who are most likely to take advantage of those other options tend to be older white and Asian males.
3 - those kids whose only option is a mandated veggie-heavy school lunch are not the same kids who can leave campus for something they'd prefer to have
4 - kids who have learned at home to be selective in their food choices, earning them the label "picky", tend to reject the official veggie menu
5 - Kids who are considered by others to be needy and hungry are probably not starving after all.
Change the student group studied to that of grad students who are responsible for securing their own income. I would not be surprised if one finds alot more beans, rice and oatmeal in the diet.
You mean if they aren't taught to eat properly at home they don't at school? madness.
Next you'll tell me that parents are responsible for rude children and not the teachers.