I'm all for healthy options at lunch but I don't think the government should force kids to eat a certain way because they blame obesity on everything. I don't think the one slice of pizza a child eats is what is making him obese. I used to be a teacher and even 30 years ago there were healthy veggies and fruits on the kids trays, but most ended up in the garbage can. You can't force the kids to eat healthy. I would also think most of the junk the kids eat is eaten after school.
When I was a kid we would run around and play hard outside every day after school and on Fri. and weekends we'd play out until after dark. Same thing when my kids were young. These days I go to my kid's house and my grandkids are either watching the boob tube, on the computer or laying around talking on their cell phones. I think overweight kids these days isn't so much a matter of what they eat for lunch as lack of exercise. But then again, who can let their kids play outside these days with all the pedophiles and missing kids we hear about.
I think parents always have the option of making their kids "healthy lunches". Most of my kids hated the school lunches and made their own salads or PB&J sandwiches. A couple of my kids went to Catholic Schools and they didn't even have a cafeteria. One or two days a week the PTA would make lunches or order Pizza and the kids ate in their classrooms. No subsidies there. I do think Parents have to start being parents again and make sure their kids eat properly, get some exercise and get a good night's sleep. Growing up, my kids didn't eat perfectly but I always had healthy options available for them to choose. I never expected the Public Schools to take over my job as a parent.
When my two boys were growing up the school lunches were made at the school. There was none of this 'bring it into the school and re-heat it stuff'. However that was in grade school. Once they got into High School, it was: "Let's run over to the fast food joint and grab a burger with our lunch money". They didn't want a lunch from home because no one else does that - or that is what I heard from them.
...forgot to tell you how I learned that they were eating junk food. A cousin of mine saw both of them at the fast food joint and just happened to mention that to me during a phone conversation with me several days later.
When questioned "why did you go to McD's"? - their jaws dropped........"How did you know that"? Sorry kids......I grew up in this town and many of my cousins still live here. My oldest son got caught skipping school by the same cousin. Needless to say it was cause for him being "grounded"
I did school lunches until high school. What I remember most is that there weren't any choices. If it was pizza day, then that was the only food available. Pizza, milk and tater tots. Or on chicken fried steak day, it was fried chicken + tater tots + milk. I don't remember ever seeing vegetables or fruits served.
Since I am allergic to milk, that meant most days I would end up eating just the pizza bread and the tots. I wish my mom had made my lunch as a kid...
In high school they added a salad bar (pretty meager) and candy station. The candy station had more food and choices and real estate than the other stations combined.
I didn't make my kids lunches, much past 2nd grade. They were responsible for making them. I always had appropriate things available peanut butter, bread, fruit, drink boxes, yogurt and salad fixings. I would give them $5 a week to spend on lunches ( school lunches were cheaper back then). So they figured out early on that they could save that money for the weekends and brown bag it. I had one son who loved cereal so he would bring cereal in a plastic container and just buy milk.
School lunches came up as a topic of conversation with my 29-year-old daughter a couple of weeks ago:
Kid: We never had the fun lunches! Everyone else got chips and Little Debbies. We got a sandwich, apple, carrot sticks, and a carton of milk.
Me: Hey, wait a minute. We sometimes gave you string cheese, or yogurt.
Kid: Sure, mom. Like that compares with a Ho Ho.
Me: So what will you pack your own children for lunch?
Kid: Err . . . umm . . . a sandwich, apple carrot sticks, and a carton of milk.