...the food police are at it again. This time it isn't Santa Clara County, but the city of Los Altos instead. You see, they've got a nutritionally balanced school lunch program and they're upset that students are either bringing their lunches from home or they're visiting the taco truck that comes by every day around lunchtime.
This was a big deal in the newspaper yesterday around here, and that's why it caught my attention.
They're (the food police at the school) more upset about the taco truck than anything else. After all, the school meets the state requirements - all the entrees must be 400 calories or less. And there's no soda; only low fat or non-fat milk and 100% orange juice as offered drinks. But they want to get the taco trucks banned for a 500 foot radius around the school.
The kids like the taco trucks because it offers a choice and for some of them it's either cheaper than the school lunch or it's just tastes better. And the trucks aren't hurting the school's business at the lunch line either because they have plenty of kids who eat on the line.
Santa Clara already successfully banned the catering trucks (also known as 'roach coaches' to some of us) within a 500 foot radius of a school, but what happens when that impacts a business who asks for a catering truck to visit? Does the truck get fined? Does the business?
Probably the truck, which is sad. For the owners of the truck and for the business who requests it.
But let's get back to the school. What would happen if a fast food chain opened up across the street from the school? I've seen it happen - fast food chain within walking distance and the kids go there. Not all the time, but still. I think the high school in question is targeting a few kids who do something different. Even the kids who walk home from school are getting some flack for leaving campus and turning their noses up at the healthy choices they're being offered at school.
If I had a choice between home cooked meal and school lunch I suspect y'all know what I would choose. Yup, the home cooked food every time. Because I *know* what went into that food.
The lunch lady at the school criticized the students by saying that many of them have never even tried the food yet they say that they hate it. And some do try it and like it, but she didn't let on to what percentage that may be. And in a very large school, how does she know what students have and have not tried the food? She can't know every face when there are hundreds of them passing by every day.
There are too many reasons why kids don't eat on the school lunch line, and I think that pointing at a catering truck that needs to be banned so that kids will eat the food the school provides is a shaky reason at best. If the truck gets banned, then the kids are automatically going to eat on the lunch line, right?
Wrong. They're going to bring food from home. They might choose to not eat at all. They might go home with friends or to their own homes. It's shaky reasoning that removing a choice is going to force someone to do what you want them to do, especially when there are other choices out there.
Ah, but that's the beauty of the food police. They're shortsighted. And I don't think that 400 calories is enough for your standard teenager to consume at one sitting. I checked the food guidelines that the FDA puts out. A 16 year old female, weighting 115 pounds at 5'4" has a recommended pyramid of 1800 calories a day. And that's with less than 30 minutes of exercise "most days". If you add P.E. class into that (30-60 minutes "most days") then you're looking at 2000 calories a day, recommended.
I know they're worried about childhood obesity, and I know that schools don't want to have to bear the responsibility of anyone accusing them of feeding kids junk. I'm sure that the meals are balanced food wise in terms of meats, vegetables, etc. I know that the state wants to make sure that kids get one good meal a day because, after all, the hard working two career families out there can't possibly feed the growing next generation healthy meals all the time. But 400 calories?
Yeah, let's underfeed our kids in schools instead. Go food police Go.