Tag Archives: school food

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Lessons Learned

After the disappointment in the last episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, it was a wonderful surprise to see that the administrator of West Adams High had hopefully found a loophole, so that Jamie and his kids could indeed cook for the entire school, at least as an assembly. The administrator said that the school was based on experiential teaching and preparing kids for college, so healthy eating fit right into their principles. In the mean time, Jamie continued his role of instructor, trying out different subjects beyond culinary arts.

In math class, Jamie taught about calories and consequences by allowing students to choose a snack between soda, chocolate bars, pizza, or oranges. He then allowed them to experience weight gain using weight backpacks. Jamie then took his math students out to the track having the students walk around the track enough times to burn the calories of what they had just eaten.

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Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution: Know What You’re Eating

If you are like me, you didn’t realize that ABC had snuck Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution back into the line up on a new day and time. Luckily, I was able to catch up on Hulu.com. Hopefully, the rest of the season will continue on Fridays at 9p EST.

In the third episode of the second season, Jamie finally made some progress with Deno at Patra’s who we saw last episode. Jamie offered to renovate the entire diner and join him live on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show if Deno would agree to upgrade the meat in his burgers from the patties he knows nothing about. Deno said that his concern was more about if his customers would like it rather than the extra 13 cents per patty, but he also spoke about the “bottom line” a lot in this episode. Jamie introduced Deno to Sophia, one of the students from West Adams High, who shared her story and her concern that fast food is the primary contributor to diabetes in her entire family.

I was appalled that Deno would argue to a crying teenager that fast food is a choice, just like alcohol or cigarettes. When a child is given fast food, whose choice was it to purchase it? When lower quality ingredients are used to make foods, whose choice was that? Yes, I choose not to eat fast food, and my coworkers have said they hide their “bad” lunch choices from my sight. Yet, I am disturbed by the lack of compassion and the choice to blame rather than to take responsibility for one’s own choices.

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Los Angeles the Worst Jamie Oliver’s Seen in Food Revolution’s Season 2 Premier

The premier of season two of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was better than I had hoped. It had everyone in my house shocked and engaged. I couldn’t keep up with the discussion on twitter because #foodrevolution was a trending topic with hundreds of tweets every minute. If you missed it this week, I will catch you up. Hopefully you can join the conversation tweeting live with us next week.

This season Jamie is in Los Angeles, but he has been banned from the LAUSD school system. Even after going before the school board, not like a celebrity but like any other citizen in a three minute slot, Jamie was dismissed unceremoniously. At one point, Jamie stated that his welcome in Huntington, WV, reportedly the unhealthiest city in the U.S., was warm compared to the cold shoulder he was receiving in L.A. Because he was not allowed in the schools, he asked school children and their parents to bring him food items from the school. Jamie stated that it was the worst school menu he had seen anywhere (and twitter seemed to agree). It was revealed that to save money, food is only prepared in one kitchen for all the schools in L.A. – the meals were only warmed in house.

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Mexico Schools Offer Healthier Snack Options to Children

The beginning of the year marked a turning point for schools in Mexico. In order to fight childhood obesity, a soda ban and new food guidelines were put into place. Unfortunately, the new food rules are proving to be too relaxed for the taste of some officials.

Mexico is among the most obese countries in the world and children are far from exempt in these statistics. To put it into numbers, one out of every three children in Mexico is overweight.

Schools in Mexico do not provide school lunches, but food and snacks are sold at recess. After long and painful negotiations with junk food moguls, officials stepped in to mandate what type of foods are allowed to be sold. Although considerable improvements were made, there is still a great need for change. Chips, candy and cookies continue to be readily available for children to purchase during school hours. After school, the situation worsens beyond the reach of the newly-set standards. Vendors eagerly wait outside for the throng of students to come pouring out. Nachos, ice cream and various confections tempt the children after a long day in class.

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Obama’s Speech Addresses Little of Our Unhealthy Union

President Obama’s State of the Union address came at a politically fortunate time in his presidency. On the heels of the Arizona tragedy that took the lives of six people and injured 13 others, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who is still bravely fighting through her ordeal, the president has political capital to espouse some of his most prized initiatives to Congress and the rest of the country.

This tragedy has in some small way helped unify the country around President Obama after his well-received speech in Arizona… at least for the 53 percent or so who approve of the work he is doing as president, a dramatic turn from the low forties he was in just a few months ago.

The central themes to Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address were education, moving the country forward in the technologies of the future, and how we need to prepare the workforce for the 21st century economic realities. (more…)

Healthier School Lunch Guidelines on the Way

The USDA announced new guidelines for school lunches on January 13, 2011. These are the first changes to the guidelines in over 15 years and have been made in part to help stop the rapidly increasing rates of childhood obesity.

“The more we can reinforce the right set of choices and encourage the right set of choices, the greater the chances are that we will get a handle on obesity,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told Good Morning America. “This doesn’t mean that we are going to eliminate treats, not at all. But it is a circumstance, situation where treats have a special meaning, a special occasion, a special circumstance that we celebrate with a treat.”

The new guidelines set the first ever maximum cap on consumable calories in addition to the minimum already allowed. They set high standards: reduce saturated fat, sugar and sodium, increase whole grains and serve both fruits and vegetables daily. Children consume up to half of their calories at school, and these guidelines help to make sure that they are meeting their dietary needs.

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Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Act Passed

Five years after the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Management Act was first introduced in the U.S. Congress, the bill (more commonly called FAAMA) has finally passed. Part of an overall food safety bill,  it is expected that President Obama will sign it into law.

The bill was introduced in 2005 as part of the Food Allergy Awareness Network’s inaugural Kids’ Congress. It was approved on December 19 by the Senate and then by The House on December 21.

The bill creates a much needed set of regulations to help deal with food allergies in schools. The guidelines are not mandatory for schools; however, they will give schools without food allergy management policies a place to begin to create one. The new policies will give educate school officials about the severity of food allergies and implement plans for severe reactions, including anaphylaxis, should they occur while on school property. The guidelines are also helpful for those parents who are aware of their child’s food allergies and gives them a set of guidelines for reinforcement in the school setting.

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What the Passing of the Child Nutrition Bill Means for Your Child

One of Michelle Obama’s greatest passions is helping our children grow up healthy and reversing the alarming childhood obesity trend. Seeing President Obama sign the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act last week was particularly meaningful for her.

“We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, because in the end, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children.  Nothing.  And our hopes for their future should drive every single decision that we make,” said Mrs. Obama.

This new bill, backed with bipartisan support, was further explained by President Obama. “We need to make sure our kids have the energy and the capacity to go toe to toe with any of their peers, anywhere in the world.  And we need to make sure that they’re all reaching their potential.”

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Vegetarian Meals Called for to Save School Lunches

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) wants to give every child access to healthy vegetarian meals for school lunch. Their goal?  To help slash the fat and calories and reduce rates of childhood obesity.

The committee is pushing to pass H.R. 5504, the House of Representatives’ version of the Child Nutrition Act, which supports meatless meals and dairy alternatives. The House has set that bill aside to pass the less elaborate Senate legislation, which does not stipulate any meatless alternatives.

“One in three kids is now overweight, but many schools are still struggling to serve healthy lunches,” Neal Barnard, M.D., PCRM’s president said in a news release. “Schools should offer low-fat vegetarian options every day, and Congress and the president should take additional steps to give schools the resources to make that feasible.”

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USDA Teams With Author Brian Wansink to Improve Lunches in Wichita Schools

Brian Wansink, author of the bestselling book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” has been hired to help improve school lunches. Wansink, former director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion and director of the food and brand lab at Cornell University, has long been successful at getting people to make healthier choices. His book focuses on how people make hundreds of decisions each day about food. His belief that people make different food choices based upon their environment has recently been put to trial in Wichita cafeterias and will be slowly moving nationwide. (more…)