The start of the school year brings excitement and anxiety to the Hadrick house. After all we have all three of the Hadrick's starting school this year. There is a lot to be thinking about; everything from first outfits to leaving my baby at her first day to getting ready for 4th grade homework!
The one thing that is on my mind that shouldn't be a concern is if my children are going to receive a school lunch that fulfills their nutritional needs. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which administers the federal school lunch program has come out with new guidelines on what children participating in school lunches this year can eat. Please take the time to look at the new guidelines. I would also encourage you to check out the before and after menu suggestions from these guidelines.
The thing that stuck out to me the most is that Meat has been decreased in the school lunch program. I support eating a variety of foods in moderation. In my house we eat fruit and vegetables at each meal along with a healthy source of protein and calcium. But I know not every house is like mine. I've been in many schools across this country to know that for some children the school lunch program is the only opportunity they have to get the food they need for proper development of their brain and body.
Meat has been cut out of the breakfast program all together and the lunch program has 8-10 oz per week for a children in grades K-5. My son is 9. He is one of the tallest kids in his class and is within his ideal weight. For this active child, I know 2 ozs of meat in his school lunch is not going to fill his calorie needs. I also know that hungry kids don't perform as well in school.
I've relied on the school lunch program to provide my children lunch and I will still continue. The change I'm making for my children is to be sending them with healthy fulfilling snacks that they will be able to use to supplement the lack of food they are getting at lunch.Oh, and I will be letting my legislative representatives in Washington DC know that when it comes to my children's nutritional health, USDA school lunch guidelines are missing an important component- MEAT!