Friday, December 28, 2012

NOVA scienceNOW on Food Science

Not really directly about school food, but here's a really fascinating show about taste and cooking and the science behind it.  What might we learn from all of this that can be applied to school food?  I have a number of ideas, but what jumps out?


Watch Can I Eat That? on PBS. See more from NOVA scienceNOW.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Smart Progressive Food and Nutrition Information

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, one of the best sources of real information (that is, uncorrupted by the spin of corporate food lobbyists) on food and nutrition, has released a really smart animated video.  It takes on an icon of advertising to show the destructive impact of sugary beverages.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dinner, too

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jon Stewart on the kids left "hungry" by school lunches

As always, Jon Stewart gets to the heart of the matter on the calorie crisis:

The hungry kids issue on ABC

The full story shown in the Jon Stewart piece.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Up in Arms About Calorie Maximums

I admire student protests; it is a virtue that must be instilled in the young as a deep form of patriotism and democratic values. I think this is awfully funny, and the production values on the song are pretty darned good, too.

All that said, I do think that the policy message is a bit misguided. 850 calorie maximums for lunch should be plenty for the average kid. Remember, the average calorie count for a person to maintain their weight is 2000 for the whole day. If you had 850 calories at every meal, and didn't even have a snack, that would be more than 500 extra calories a day you would eat. But who doesn't have a snack. And most teens also drink a lot of their calories irrespective of the food they eat.

 Many have cited linebackers complaining, and I do feel for them. Yes, athletes need more food, but I'm not sure the solution is to give every child, particularly those that don't play sports (the majority of students), more calories. That is a good way to get our childhood overweight and obesity levels through the roof; and they are already at about 30%. No, the solution is to find a way to give linebackers more food without throwing out an otherwise very reasonable policy that has been a long time coming.

Oh, and as a parent, I'm wondering who the heck thought it was a good idea to let a kid slide out of the back of a moving ambulance?!!  Kids, don't try that at home!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Federalism is bad because a principal won't turn off his vending machines?!

One of the things that makes school food political, of course, is that it makes so much money. The other is that there are always fights over who will get to make decisions. I make this point in my article in Educational Researcher and in the introduction to School Food Politics: The Ecology of Hunger and Feeding in Schools Around the World. These two things interact, of course, in that control over policy comes with control over the money, usually. Conservatives of a particular stripe resent any control over the money and prefer that local schools do whatever they want with the food served in schools. Here's GOP Representative Rob Bishop of Utah talking about why federalism is bad just because two principals got busted for clear, avoidable violations of a longstanding rule about competitive foods. They got busted, by the way, by state inspectors. Yes, Rob, the states monitor compliance with the rules. And, the rules are there to protect the federally funded program that is feeding actual nutritious lunches to the kids at those schools. If the schools were allowed to make money during lunch off of vending machines, the program for giving healthy food wouldn't be able to survive financially. Ask those schools how they would feel if the funding for the program and the commodity products used were just left up to Utah to provide. The schools could opt out of the program (not all schools use the National School Lunch Program), but what would that do in terms of "punishing" the kids at that school? If you want the federal funds, you have to turn off the vending machines at lunch; it's very simple. If you don't want the millions in federal funds, and you'd rather get the couple hundred dollars the machines would make during lunch time each week, by all means keep them on. It's still a local choice, no federalism problem involved.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012