The School Lunch Debate: How Parents Can Be Heard


School lunches are often a very hot topic among parents today. In fact, it is often a very controversial topic that spurs on feelings of frustration and angst in both parents and school nutrition administrators. It is quite common to see heated debates about school lunches on the news and in social media. As parents, it is important to understand that both sides of the debate need to act in a way that is helpful to the program. Here are some things for parents to keep in mind when going into a meeting about school nutrition.

Keep the Conversation Civil and Professional

One of the best ways to get your point across is to maintain civility in the conversation. When it comes to the health of children, many people get very passionate in their tone and speech. This can sometimes lead to a debate that is overly spirited and often does not make any progress. Instead, make sure to conduct yourself in calm and professional manner so that you can communicate in a way that achieves the desired results. Make it a goal to work together, not against one another, to achieve the common goal of healthy school meals for children.

Make Sure to Do Proper Research

Another key to a successful school nutrition meeting is to do proper research. Due to the wealth of information on the Internet, it is very easy to quickly find information that supports your argument. The problem is many websites can be very biased one way or another. When doing research, be sure to utilize websites that are unbiased and factual in nature. Some great websites to start with are the USDA's website on child nutrition or your county's school food services website. These sites contain data that can be helpful when supporting your case.

Understand the Restrictions Placed on School Lunch Programs

While it sounds easy to help schools by simply suggesting certain menu items be implemented, there is much more involved to the entire process. Schools must abide by government regulations, limited budgets, and school lunch schedules. These things can place limitations on what the school food program can do. Try to come up with some constructive ideas that can be implemented into the program that takes these limitations into consideration.  

Be Open to Small Changes

The old saying "Rome wasn't built in a day" also applies to changes in a school lunch program. School nutrition directors typically have their menus completed a year or more in advance, which means the ingredients have been ordered and equipment has been purchased. Keep in mind that certain changes will have to be grandfathered in over a period of time. Instead of getting frustrated with the slow progress, embrace the small changes that are occurring. For example, it can take some time to earmark funds for a salad bar, but serving two servings of vegetables instead of one at lunch is a step in the right direction.

Going into a meeting with the school's food program director or school board should be a constructive use of time. Make sure to be open-minded to what is said, but remain vigilant in your stance. Do your research by talking to school nutrition services like New Horizon Foods. In time, all parties involved will reach the same ultimate goal, which is providing healthy school meals for children.


7 July 2015

Streamlining Your Mealtimes

When you have a large family, mealtime can be incredibly stressful. In addition to dealing with a bunch of demanding children, you might also find yourself struggling to enjoy the meal that took you so long to prepare. After all, how much fun is it to enjoy a delightful soup when you have a kid hanging all over you? Fortunately, there are a lot of different parents out there that have learned how to streamline mealtime. My blog contains several articles that might help you to keep your children calm, talk people into eating, and prepare and make dinner a little faster.