Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Better School Lunch

I almost always find our periodic board visits to the schools enlightening.  This week’s visit to Corl Street Elementary (the alma mater for my three children) was no exception.  What struck me most was a subject that in my opinion, has not always received enough attention:  lunch.

I was able to choose milk (flavored or not), fruit (grapes or an apple), and two vegetables (fresh broccoli and carrots).  A chef’s salad, with or without meat, was one of the entrĂ©e choices.  I thought to myself, “You know, this is really quite good!”

It has not always been so. (Way back when I went to school, lunch was typically dreadful, and not the least bit healthy.)

Tossing irony to the wind, I eschewed the salad for a cheesesteak sandwich.  But I wondered, why not a whole wheat bun for my cheesesteak?

Turns out, there’s an answer to that question.  In order to save money, the district purchases much of its food through a food service consortium based in Pittsburgh.  This year, the consortium failed to write a whole wheat option in its specifications for bread, so, of course, white bread came in as the low bid.

It appears the consortium will address that issue for next year; the District is waiting to see before it signs on.  But either way, students will see a whole wheat sub roll next year.  I find this very encouraging.

Meanwhile, the USDA recently proposed nutrient regulations that will require all bread products to be whole grain rich within 2 years.  Kudos to the USDA!

On another note, I learned that all the leftover food that used to be tossed in the trash is now picked up and composted by the Borough.  And the students are thrilled to do their part.