Does Fast Food Belong In Our Schools?

By on October 19, 2011

Last week, my daughter brought home a handout from school, alerting parents that students could now take part in the school's food plan. Each Wednesday until the winter break, students would have the opportunity to enjoy  lunch delivered straight to the classroom. The cost of the meals ranged from $2.00 to $3.50 per week.

So I took a look at the menu. Week 1: chicken wrap. Week 2: hot dog. Week 3: 6″ ham or turkey sub. Week 4: chicken fajita.

Sounds good, right? I mean, it's inexpensive and it means that I am scrambling to make a healthy, creative lunch one less day per week. They weren't exactly the healthiest options, but also not so far off from the things I send for lunch. Then I scanned a little further down the list.

Week 7: hamburger & sliced apples with caramel sauce.

This one made alarm bells go off – I've heard of this combo before. Just where was this food coming from? I scanned to the very bottom of the bright yellow page.

“Hamburger & Sliced Apples, Chicken Wrap, Chicken Fajita are supplied by McDonald's … Subs from Quiznos …”

Seriously? McDonald's? Quiznos? Delivering lunch to school-aged kids? I am so not ok with this.

Checking the page for more information, I see that we parents are to be assured that the food selections are “based on those food providers who have submitted their menu items along with ingredients to comply with the new standards that are listed int he Food and Beverage Policy.”

My head actually spins with all the reasons why this is troubling to me, including, but not limited to:

- The low standards that must make up our school board's Food and Beverage Policy

- The indoctrination of children into fast-food culture

- The soaring childhood obesity rates in Canada

- The acknowledgement by the Government of Canada that the marketing of fast food MUST be reduced and that we must reduce our intake of fast food

- The recommendation that sodium limits in children up to age 8 do not exceed 1200mg per day

To ensure that I was not over-reacting, I looked up the nutritional values of the food they want to feed our kids:

Food from McDonald's

Hamburger and apple slices with caramel sauce

Calories: 350

Fat: 9

Sodium: 550mg

Chicken fajita

Calories: 200

Fat: 5g

Sodium: 460mg

Chicken wrap

Calories: 290

Fat: 13g

Sodium: 650mg

Food from Quiznos

6″ turkey & cheese sub

Calories: 470

Fat: 26g

Sodium: 1110mg

6″ ham & cheese sub

Calories: 460

Fat: 25.5g

Sodium: 950g

I have never taken my kids to McDonald's (or Quiznos) for a meal, and while I don't judge those who do, I absolutely object to these meals being brought to my kids – any kids. McDonald's can health-wash it's food any way it likes – it's still crap.

I already have a call in with the principal of the school. What do you think?

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  1. Angella says:

    OK, that is just not cool. I mean, we do take our kids to Rotten Ronnie’s, but usually only when we’re on road trips or as a special treat. So, like, every two or three months, if that.

    Our school has a hot lunch program which has volunteers making most of the food (hot dogs, spaghetti), with some from elsewhere (Subway, local pizza parlour). My kids don’t like subs or spaghetti not made by me, but we let them have the hot dogs and the pizza (we know the owner and like to support local).

    We would NOT be participating if the lunches were supplied by McD’s.
    Angella´s last [type] ..Blissed Out

  2. MaMammalia says:

    Yes, definitely call the principal! I agree, fast food delivery to school sounds wrong on so many levels. What’s really scary is that even if YOUR child doesn’t participate directly, there is still a good chance they will eat that food anyway. Kids trade lunches, share, and hey, even steal bites from friends. This could happen DAILY at school, which is pretty different from the occasional outing with a friend to McD’s (I wouldn’t like that either, but it would be easier to accept and prevent). I can’t believe a school would allow fast food on the premises at all, let alone invite them over to feed the kids!
    MaMammalia´s last [type] ..Punishment and Praise at the Playground

  3. Darlene says:

    Oh ya – I’d be calling too!!

    Our school does “pizza day” every Friday where the kids purchase a slice for $2. Parent Council had a gung-ho volunteer who had the time and energy to dedicate to a monthly hot lunch – it was prepared by a local caterer, provided in re-usable individual containers – and the options were homemade and very healthy – no McD’s in sight!!

    I’m not sure where you are located, Karen – but I don’t believe that those options would make it here in Ontario! The Province has established strict guidelines on what food can be provided by the school, and they are only allowed so many “overages” during the school year – and I highly doubt all the items up for offer would be permitted to be offered on a regular basis!!

    Let us know how you make out!
    Disgusting that the school is promoting McD’s especially!!

  4. Emma says:

    I am shocked at that! Our school does Pizza lunch with Pizza Pizza bringing in the slices which is bad enough. But McDonalds? I am surprised those meals are okay under the new guidelines. Of course the problem with those guidelines are that in the attempt to be more healthy, food that has nutritional labeling is preferred which means processed food over homemade food. But that is a whole other issue.
    But of course, call the Principal!

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