Dietitian Allison J. Stowell and chef Erin Dow offered a webinar to those who were interested in Guiding Stars changing school lunches. Allison and Erin noted the rising obesity rates among children and how a change is needed as soon as possible. The issue at hand is childhood obesity and how changing school lunches can help lower obesity. The webinar basically described steps that Allison and Erin took to change a school district’s meal plan. The team offered advise to those who would like to implement healthy meals at schools in their home towns.
Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 will take effect July 2012. Congress passed the act to help children grow into healthy adults. Guiding Star wants to educate children, parents, staff, and administrators about the importance of healthy eating, and they want people from the community to gather credible research about children eating healthy at schools and summarize it to the school board or community members. With that support and information, they can get everyone on board for the cause. The next step is to find a chef who is willing to work with the school and help create healthy recipes for the kids. Finally, schools need to enlist the help of staff and teachers to encourage and educate kids on the importance of eating healthy.
Guiding Stars’ program has similar characteristics to Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. While Guiding Stars’ effort deserve praise, the concept of making school lunches healthier is not new. The ability to change a nation’s breakfast and lunch program is hard work. There is going to be a tremendous amount of criticism from community members and school board officials over concerns of budget, time, and acceptance. In any district these tend to be the biggest hurdles to cross to make the program work. However, there are success stories of revolutionized school food programs in the U.S. and Europe proving it’s not impossible.
An interesting piece of information I took from the webinar was the food finder Guiding Stars offers on their website. Food finder is a resource tool chefs can use to find nutritional information on food they want to use in their recipes. Efforts to decrease obesity rates range from banning soda to taxing high fast-food, but changing the way children eat to ensure they live a long life is a practical act that can and should be implemented.