Back in 2011, Michelle Obama announced her new national food program, designed to curb childhood obesity, the “greatest threat to American national security”. Her efforts have certainly been guided by good moral principles. Unfortunately, Miss Obama still does not seem to realize that her efforts are the greatest security issue for our teen health – and our grumbly stomachs.
School food is absoutely horrendous and terrible. Why? It does not provide adequate calories and fat for normal teenagers to properly function throughout the remainder of a school day. Additionally, schools still provide ample opportunities for students to eat unhealthy foods that contain too many UNHEALHTY calories and whatnot (via being able to leave the campus for lunch, vending machines, etc.). Therefore, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. Returning to the food served at lunch -it is bland and boring, and when it isn’t boring, the lunch ladies attempt to overcompensate by creating weird abominations that taste great to no one and cause stomachs everywhere to riot in protest.
And that, my friends, is the great failure of the high school lunch system. Overcompensation. Kids have allergies? Better make all the food taste bland and boring! Kid are getting fat? Better give them lettuce and nothing else! Kids are complaining about the quality of their lunch? Better waste all of our efforts and provide them with unlimited amounts of chips and candy!
Perhaps the major issue with the overcompensation is this: Michelle Obama’s healthier food program is geared at helping overweight or obese children lose weight. But the thing is, not every high-schooler needs to lose weight. In fact, there are certainly some high schoolers that need to GAIN weight, for example, a wrestler if they are under their mark by too much. Perhaps, then, a better word to suit this issue is not overcompensation, but rather, oversimplification. There is no one single lunch system that can solve the nutritional needs of every kind, every build, every size of child.
So what then, is a solution to this crisis? Well, right now, there isn’t one, but there are steps that can be taken to builds towards such a goal. School lunches needs to provide more degrees of variance and potential personalization of meals to suit the needs of individual children. If this would be fiscally impossible, money at least needs to be put in place to educate children more about their health needs or encourage them to bring their own (better) school lunches.
Long story short: we need better school lunches. When do we need them? Now.