To the Editor:
With their children back in school, many parents have worry lists that now include nutrition. School cafeterias often serve up unhealthy meals during a time when growing minds and bodies need nutritious foods the most. Despite healthy options available, some school food distributors are afraid to upset the subpar status quo.
Not all the news on this front is bad, of course. First lady Michelle Obama has improved the system greatly with her efforts to provide healthy meals through the National School Lunch Program. But this initiative is only a beginning. The foods school systems offer generally have only the bare minimum of what healthy foods really require. Let’s face it: Ketchup is not a vegetable.
I have the good fortune of working at a food company that has the same regard for healthy and delicious eating that helped create the current healthy-school-meals initiative. As a mom, I have a passion for putting wholesome foods in the schools. We live in transformative times, and I believe we are beginning to solve the problem of getting more American children to eat healthy, veggie-rich meals.
The problems my company and other providers are finding now include roadblocks created by school district bureaucracies that often make it difficult to bring positive changes to school menus.
If we want to fortify young minds as they tackle tougher academic standards, we need to ensure that all students get a healthy foundation of wholesome foods that pack a nutritious punch—and this needs to include expanded school lunch offerings.
Assistant Brand Manager
New York, N.Y.
A version of this article appeared in the October 14, 2015 edition of Education Week as Are Healthier School Lunches Slowed by District Red Tape?