Sunday, September 6, 2009

Good food at school

"We are learning that when schools serve healthier meals, they solve serious educational and health-related problems. But what's missing from the national conversation about school lunch reform is the opportunity to use food to teach values that are central to democracy. Better food isn't just about test scores, health and discipline. It is about preparing students for the responsibilities of citizenship." (Thanks Mike)

I tried it this year: I asked the cafeteria to serve only local, Lebanese food. We had a nutritionist draw menus for 6 months based on traditional recipes. I also talked to the students about it, and allowed them to use the cafeteria kitchen one evening a week to cook whatever they like. Carbonated soft drinks and juice made from powder were banned. It worked well with the menus and the nutrition, but the student's were craving burgers and hotdogs and junk food throughout the 6 months. We also faced the problems of drinks with food: many are used to something more than water, and after mid April, oranges become too expensive for fresh juice. We made a lot of fresh lemonade, but this is full of white sugar. we tried youghurt drinks, but few people like it. We also made rose water drinks and mulberry drinks, but the basis is also a lot of white sugar. Also, good food is more expensive and this could be an important consideration. But I carry on with the traditional local food in the cafeteria.

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