Whole Grains Finding It Hard to Earn An A+ In Schools
Recently there was a conference about complying with the new July 2012 requirements involving whole grains. It states that school lunch guidelines are that at least half of the grains served in school lunches must be ‘whole grain-rich’, extending to 100% of grains at lunch and breakfast by summer 2014.
“While “there is no doubt” that revamping school lunches will benefit children’s health, the speed with which schools have to implement the new rules has made compliance extremely difficult in the short-term”, according to one child nutrition director.
Speaking at the Whole Grains on Every Plate conference in San Antonio last week, Byron Sackett, child nutrition director at Lincoln County Schools, North Carolina, said: “The end goal is wonderful, but a lot of us feel like it has just happened too fast.
“We know it’s the right thing to do and I’ve got no doubt that it will work, but we needed more time to implement it.”
One of the issues from a budget aspect is by the time the regulations came out in late January half the products that had been tested ready for the start of the 2012/13 academic year in his school district didn’t comply with the new standards (which kicked in in July 2012), and contracts had already been negotiated.
“There was also an issue with limited availability of certain products, particularly products rich in whole-grains”,Sackett said. “Soon whole grain products will be the new norm, availability will increase and prices will come down, but in the short-term, it’s been really hard on us and tremendously hard for manufacturers.”
Another problem with compliance with the new regulations involves the budget for school lunches. The increase given will not cover the new costs involved in preparing the healthier grains. As the use of these grains becomes more prevalent, the costs should go down, but that won’t help those school districts that have less funding right now.
The other concern discussed at the conference involved approaching the children in the most effective way so that the kids don’t reject the new product straight out of the box. Often times, children are resistant to trying whole grain breads, or grains such as wheat berry or quinoa, that they aren’t familiar with. Re-educating them on the health benefits and making their first experiences delicious ones are critical to the success of the program.
The alarming rise in childhood obesity and diabetes in American youth is the push behind the changes in the regulations for school lunches, but it will take the combined support of the media, government state boards, local school boards, administrations, teachers, parents and students to achieve success with this important program change, but it’s worth the aggravation for the kids!
Yoga DVD- 90 min
Organic steel cut oats(150 cal.)
1/8 cup blackberries, blueberries (30 cal)
protein shake with 1/2 cup pasteurized egg whites (190 cal)
1 cup cooked quinoa, mixed with frozen peas, 1 /4 tbsp. curry (183 cal)
1 apple (57 cal)
3.5 oz salmon (180 cal)
8 oz greens- spinach, 1/2 sweet pepper, 1/4 cup yellow squash, + 2 tbsp. garbanzo beans, 1 tbsp. roasted sunflower seeds (150 cal)
Gala apple (57 cal)
2 large crab legs, lemon (no butter) (360 cal)
1/2 acorn squash, spritz with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, cinnamon (65 cal)
1 cup wilted spinach, garlic, EVOO (85 cal)
1/2 cup non-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup blueberrries, 1/4 cup strawberries(120 cal)