In her documentary Two Angry Moms, Amy Kalafa uncovered the alarmingly unhealthy food being served in America’s school cafeterias each day. Her upcoming book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health, empowers parents to make a change. Looking at the facts below – it’s time to get reading and start the war!
- By their own assessment, our government determined that American schools are flunking lunch: A 2007 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment concluded that the vast majority of schools in America exceed USDA guidelines for the quantities of saturated fat, total fat and sodium in school lunches.
- The surplus beef and poultry that the USDA offers as free commodity items to our school systems are held to a lower standard than fast-food chains like McDonald’s. In the past decade, the USDA paid $145 million for pet-food grade “spent-hen meat” that went into the school meals program.
- The average dollar amount spent per school lunch nationwide is a mere $1, 25 cents of which is spent on milk. Factor in the minimum number of calories that school lunches need to provide our children with that remaining 75 cents, and it’s easy to see why many cafeterias wind up offering cheap, high-calorie foods like Pop Tarts, chocolate milk and pizza.
- Even free water is not a given in many school lunch rooms across the country: As bottled water brings in revenue for schools—not to mention the food management companies that supply them with goods to sell in cafeterias—many schools’ water fountains have fallen into disrepair.
- The kids who DON’T buy lunch at school are healthier—and they perform better academically: A 2008 study found that children who bought lunch at school were at an increased risk for being overweight. The study also found that students with a higher consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables performed better on a standardized literacy assessment, independent of socioeconomic factors.