Potatoes in school lunches

Potatogate rages on

Not since the great potato blight in Ireland in the mid 1800’s has this topic garnered so much attention. But we’ve gotten a lot of feedback about the “potatoes in school lunches” issue. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good potato gratin…In fact, I made an amazing one for Christmas. Yes I sometimes eat unhealthy carbs–on very special occasions. But when I do eat them, it’s my choice–they’re not being force fed to me like they are in school lunches.

I understand the economics of schools, the economics of providing for school lunches, and economics in general. I know it is important to keep costs down…and what better way than by feeding children–our nation’s most important asset–cheap food that I wouldn’t feed to my dog.

Sorry, but I simply won’t tolerate that as an acceptable solution to the economic issues facing our educational system, especially when the CEOs of  pharmaceutical companies can fly around in private jets and make 45 million dollars a year. Do you have any idea how much organic food we could feed our kids for that amount of money?

Starving our children in this manner is the modern day equivalent to robbing Peter to pay Paul. And starving them IS what we are doing. Starving them of vital nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. Not to mention that we’re teaching them poor eating habits from day 1.

Yesterday, I had a patient in my office and we started discussing her children and their relationship with food. She told me that her kids would rather eat a bowl of broccoli than a bowl of pasta or ice cream. And that their little friends also were quite food conscious.  They are a product of their environment to be sure. Yes, they are affluent Manhattan born-and-bred children whose parents are health conscious–point taken. But healthy food choices don’t only have to be for the wealthy.

The fact is, it is possible to entirely change a school’s lunch menu for less than a dollar per day per student. It’s been done in many schools across the nation. And guess what? Attendance improved, academic performance improved, and behavioral issues declined.

If you ask me, that certainly seems like an investment worth making.