Kid Food: The Challenge Of Feeding Children In A Highly Processed World by Bettina Elias Siegel
This book has opened my eyes to just how big the problems are with our school lunch program. I also gained additional knowledge about how the food industry (everything in me cringes at these two words being strung together) manipulates children at the youngest age possible (they are even trying to hook newborns). Initially, I had my own thoughts on how to try to improve our school lunch program. However, the more I read, the more I realized that there really isn't a easy solution. This left me to conclude that the obvious answer (albeit not likely to be received well by many) is to abolish the school lunch program, the same as we desperately need to abolish the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Before you freak out, hear me out.
First, regarding the EPA, they haven't protected the environment. It's just another drain on us tax payers. Go ahead & look into it. I'm not going to get into it here. If you do your research, you'll sadly see that I'm right. I am all for the protection our environment, but the EPA isn't the answer.
Second, is my idea to abolish the school lunch system (hear me out). There are too many problems right now with the school lunch system. This tiny book is crammed with facts. Note to those of you with bad eyes, the text is small. When I say this is crammed, I mean it. The school system was created so that no children came to school hungry. They were supposed to get nutritious meals. The lunch program is not funded by our taxes like the school system is. It is separate. At one point, funding was provided to update the kitchens. If my memory is correct, this funding stopped in either the mid 1970's or the early 1980's. The funding has not been reinstated. After the cost of employees, janitors, garbage pick up, etc. there is very little left for the actual food. Here comes the food industry to the rescue. They provide super cheap highly processed "food" enriched with vitamins & minerals to meet government requirements. The schools do not have to deal with as many health inspections, because the food is frozen. They just have to heat it up. It takes space, time, & money to prepare & cook fresh wholesome foods, not to mention, the health inspections are much more difficult to pass. Plus, the food is addictive, so the kids want to eat it. Therefore participation is up. It's a win for the school lunch program & a disaster for the children.
Schools also need a certain amount of children to participate in the school lunch program so that the schools can keep it running. The author seems to think that the solution might be found in forcing all students to eat a school provided lunch. Meaning, children are not allowed to brown bag it, in other words, bring their own lunch. The author mentions countries that already enforce this & she seems to think it's great. On this, I simply cannot agree.
She also feels that adding more taxes to junk foods will help solve the problem. Really? Come on now. How many more taxes do we really want to enforce? Are we not already taxed enough? Taxes & force are not the answer. This is supposed to be "The Land of the Free..." yet, folks are constantly voting to have their rights taken from them. Sorry, but I cannot agree with this.
What I can agree with is a law that doesn't allow children to be marketed to by food industries or any other industry for that matter. Pick an age, I'd say 18 or 21 for what I should hope are obvious reasons.
I believe in freedom of choice, even if folks aren't making what I feel are unhealthy choices. I don't want others to force their beliefs on me, so why on earth would I do it to others? What I believe in is education. An educated people is a powerful people. Educated people will not be duped by the food industry's marketing ploys to get you to buy their toxic pseudo food. We need to be held responsible for our own actions. However, if we are not being properly educated, we are at a huge disadvantage. Education is key.
Overall, while I don't agree with the authors ideas that she feels are solutions to the problem, I still enjoyed reading this book. It is jam packed with useful facts about the food giants & our schools lunch system. I absolutely recommend you pick this up & read it. You are likely to learn a lot. What you do with that information is up to you.
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