Last year, Real Food For Kids asked, “what do our children really eat for lunch in Fairfax County?”
We found a hamburger containing 26 ingredients – including caramel color, soy flour, soy protein and beef flavoring. We compared that to the ingredients in a McDonald’s hamburger: 100% pure USDA inspected beef, salt and pepper.
We found a quesadilla containing over 70 ingredients.
We found a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with 38 ingredients, including various preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and other sugars.
We found a grilled cheese sandwich that is served heated in its own plastic bag.
We found additive-laden, heavily preserved, highly processed foods at every turn.
Now what? Through our efforts, and thanks in part to the legislation in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, we’ve seen some progress in Fairfax County lunchrooms.
The hamburger is now 100% beef. The quesadilla has been removed from the menu. The grilled cheese is also gone, but the pancakes served as part of the “breakfast for lunch” menu are still warmed in a plastic bag. And the 38-ingredient PB Jamwich remains. What also remains are the large number of menu items that, while less processed than in past years, are still highly processed foods. By the end of the 2012-2013 school year only 11 of our 196 schools will have salad bars, and those that currently do are struggling to make it work due in part to logistical issues. Across the board, participation in the school lunch program is declining.
A recent study of teachers conducted by Real Food For Kids revealed that nutrition quality, healthfulness and variety, and selection were the reasons many stayed away from the cafeteria. In that survey 89% of teachers who responded agreed that a move to more freshly prepared ad in FCPS would enhance the educational experience for their students.
More than ever it’s time for real food for our kids in Fairfax County
With the help of our school board, FCPS has awarded a contract to Prismatic Services, Inc. to assess our food and nutrition services program and suggest cost-effective ways to offer more whole foods to our children. The school board also approved a pilot program at Marshall High School that will develop fresh meals for students.
We’re making progress and so can you.
Our children deserve healthier options. Here is more information unless you're ready to get involved
and start making a difference!