This blog post was written by Pack to Plate Grant Captain, Amy Share
Healthy eating is an important skill that begins at home, but children and young adults spend the majority of their time at school, between 6-8 hours a day over the work week. While some children will pack their lunch, a majority of those on or below the poverty line in Athens-Clarke County will rely on free or reduced lunch meals provided by the school.
An article was recently published that discussed the average lunch meal offered at schools all over the world, from Italy to South Korea to Brazil. The majority of meals listed provided strong representations of cultural differences and the types of food that is made outside the United States. However, they had something in common. They all provided healthy servings of a fruit, a vegetable, a starch and a protein. Except for one country.
As you can see from the picture, the average school lunch includes mashed potatoes (starch), fried popcorn chicken (protein with fatty starches), a fruit cup (processed fruit with added sugar and preservatives), peas (starch, even though they are green), and a cookie (sugar & starch).
How are we supposed to teach our children healthy practices when we do not provide them with an example? This is exactly what Pack to Plate is trying to acknowledge and solve. We want to show the students of Fowler Drive Elementary and all the other students in the ACC school system that they can have a delicious lunch and grow up healthy at the same time. It may take some time for the organization to reach all of these children and young adults, but I think the awareness of what schoolchildren are eating on a regular basis shows the definite need for Pack to Plate to fulfill its mission.