Unfortunately, what our schools are feeding our kids will be a concern for years to come, I'm sure. A reader friend, Susan, from Mobile, Alabama, sent me an email that I knew would shock all of you as it did me. And not in a good way, as you probably already guessed, based on the title of this post…
Kelly, see the memo that my daughter just sent me. This is from a wonderful Christian school that my 6 year old grand daughter goes to, and my 4 year old grand daughter will go to next year. I never let her buy her lunch (I take care of the girls while their Mom works), but still! They really are a fantastic school, teachers and staff are wonderful, the school is very well regarded, and they have the best of everything except for the horrible lunches they serve: hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, Capri Suns, chocolate milk, desserts, etc., and now this. Any suggestions on how to handle this?
“Dear Parents: We will be making a change from Pepsi to Coke products in the school cafeteria when we come back from Christmas break. All Coke products will be sold in 20 oz. bottles at $1.25 each. Bottle water will be sold for $1.00 each. Third grade students will be able to order Diet Sprite, Diet Fanta Orange, Powerade Mixed Berry. Students in grades 4-12 will be able to order Diet Coke, Diet Cherry Coke, Coke Zero, Diet Mello Yellow, Diet Fanta Orange, Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Sprite, Powerade Mixed Berry. Again, all Coke products will be sold in 20 oz. bottles at $1.25 each. We feel this will be a positive change.”
Pick all your jaws up off the floor, take a deep breath, and let's give Susan some advice. Unless you are shocked speechless.
More you might like:
- School lunches – healthy alternatives (Don't let your kids get hot lunch, whatever you do!)
- Real Food compromises in the school food revolution
- Parent complaints over chocolate milk – not what you'd expect, unfortunately
- Jane Hersey: Improving school lunch food is not that difficult, here's how.
Our private school finally got the kitchen update a few years ago which enables us to have the children eat their lunch at our own school. When I was there as a child, we had to ride the bus about half a mile to another school to use their cafeteria. The only downside is that our staff is not up to par to prepare lunches big enough, so the local McDonald’s owner is gracious enough to provide DAILY lunches for our kids – nice write off for him, not worth it for our children’s health. I know for sure this is a big issue w/ the parents, but at best it has prompted many parents to send a bagged lunch until we’re able to provide a better option for our kids.
On a separate note – LOVE Jamie Oliver’s food revolution.
When I finally made the switch away from diet sodas, I was amazed at the difference in my mental clarity – I’d been walking around in a mental fog for YEARS! This is definitely not a condition I’d want to wish on any school-aged child — we’re sending them to school so they can learn & think!
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy says
I think it would be an interesting to survey the parents. Would you rather have this soda sold to your kids or would you rather have your tuition raised a bit each month. I personally would much rather kick in the exta $$$ to the school rather than to the soda companies.
Susan W says
I can remember when I was in high school in the early 1970’s, our school cafeteria had a licensed dietitian on staff to plan the menus. As much as people made fun of the cafeteria food then, today’s school lunchrooms might as well be the snack bar at the municipal pool or the ice skating rink!
Several of the soft drinks listed not only contain all the gunk you all have mentioned but also contain brominated vegetable oil – the stuff that makes fruity drinks have a cloudy appearance – it helps the fruity flavor stay emulsified. It’s also toxic.
If the school MUST have a relationship with a soft drink company they should at least only serve the items that meet accepted standards. In Coke’s case that would be their bottled water. Maybe some orange juice – doesn’t Coke own Minute Maid? Granted most of us real food folks see the obvious problems with the school’s beverage choices but so many people, even medical and dieticians, see no problem with it. So at least suggest they serve only choices with real ingredients and no chemicals, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners – just real food ingredients. It’s a start!
I would write back “Is this a joke?”,,,seriously…wtf
hi everyone, and thanks for all the great advice! i am the grandmother with the granddaughter in this private school. the school has almost 2000 students. what i got from the email was that they thought the diet drinks would be better for the students due to no sugar calories. it was interresting to see that the 3rd graders only get the ones without caffeine, but by 4th grade, the caffeinated ones are allowed. i, of course, will not allow her to get either. i make her lunches everyday. i will try to read all the articles you posted here, and get back with the school. thanks again, and merry christmas!!!
Amanda Y. says
I am most appalled that they are offering only diet drinks. These are the most toxic of all soda. If they wanted to improve the drinks offered and still sell soda (which is not necessary, but if they need the funding like many schools do), then offer the throwback versions–the ones with real sugar at least! Not the HFCS or the fake sugar/deadly rat poison
Soli @ I Believe In Butter says
Let’s see, we encourage kids chugging down soda (funny, when I was in elementary school the worst we had was that orange drink junk, before the days of hfcs too) showing by example the only acceptable drinking water must be paid for… I’d be prepping food right and left to send with them to school for lunch. And having a VERY long talk with the principal… perhaps also talk with the school board about getting money from sources making people sick.
I have Sally’s seminar and I have had several groups in to do just that.
I think its time to get the children one though, as its a much better starter for the curious and uninitiated.
Plus its shorter!
Going off of Paul’s last comment. I’m considering getting the WAPF power point about how to feed your children and taking some friends through it in my own home. This could hopefully get some more people on your side. Build yourself a little army!
My advice, after stating what I feel the note is saying, is that I would actually praise them first for taking such a stand and firing Pepsi.
After that, I would work in as positive a way as possible, showing scientific proof how the ingredients in the drinks are bad for the continued health and well being of the students at this school.
One of the WAPF periodicals has an article how one school made the change to real food and drinks, and I believe that they talk about the change in grades as well.
I would advise staying as far away from a backlash as possible, because they really do not know any better.
Change needs to start slow, and starting in individual families might be more effective over all.
I am assuming the school is small, so it would not be hard to be acquainted with most if not all the families in one way or another.
I would suggest classes on healthy (and low cost) snacks that the families can afford and can have fun learning to make together.
Start small, and end big. In a few years 😉
The positive change has nothing to do with the actual drinks, but has to do with what one company supports versus the other. And its not the new flavorings I am referring too either ( which by the way, it does not matter when the child was aborted, it matters that it was even used for such things)
One company is very anti Biblical, and they fund groups whose very existence is to fight conservative Christianity.
Lori Popkewitz Alper says
I had to read the memo several times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. How could this be? I would be very curious to hear what the “positive change” will be. The piece that truly frightens me is that third grade students will be offered Diet Sprite, Diet Fanta Orange, Powerade Mixed Berry-and all of these contain BVO (brominated vegetable oil) which is a patented flame retardant! There needs to be a meeting pronto!
I like the idea of a friendly meeting with the principal. One point that should be made is that our bodies are God’s temple and should be treated as such. This includes how we eat! Share some basic websites, especially Nourishing Our Children, and possibly offer to buy that presentation for the school to show to the staff and hopefully, in the future, other parents and students. Since this is a Christian school, the principal should “get it”.
If it was my child’s school, I think I would make an appointment with the principal and go in and have a friendly conversation. I would make it a “sandwich” conversation. Start out thanking her for all of the obvious benefits afforded by your child attending the school. Then, say, “There is something I wanted to ask you about that is causing me and my husband some concern. This school is so very excellent in so many ways, and it just puzzles us as to why more emphasis isn’t given to feeding the children healthier foods.” Then see what she says. Listen. Listen. Listen. Ask questions and listen some more. Don’t say anything “back” until you really GET and UNDERSTAND where she/he is coming from. Thank her/him again, and leave the premises. THEN, a few days later, send her a thoughtful email that goes something like this…. “Dear Mrs. ___, I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation the other day. Again, thank you for taking time with me. I don’t know if this would work in your situation, but it crossed my mind that perhaps if you instituted _____, it might make a positive difference for the nutrition for the children. You might even want to consider _____, or ____. I hope you and I can talk some more about this topic. Have a great day and thank you again.”
That is how I handle “things.” First, listen to understand, then, when it’s not in the “heat of the moment” make suggestions if it seems appropriate. I would even make the principal my “nutrition buddy” sending, occasional links to interesting articles about other successful school lunch programs if you think she might be interested at that point.
DON’T go in and put her on the spot. Rather, be her friend, her cheering section, her best supporter.
My motto…. “When you’re in the hospital, it pays to be nice to the nurses.”
Fiftytolife Sally says
Excellent advice. I’m a real estate broker with 20 years of negotiating experience. This is right on the money and beautifully put. Thank you.
This is fabulous advice!
[email protected] The Coconut Mama says
I would ask how much the school is getting from Coke. Since this is (I am assuming) a private school, ask how much their tuition is being reduced since Coke is paying them to switch.
Or, if the switch is prompted by Pepsi’s use of fetal cells in their flavor testing, ask them if Coke has proved that they do not use such methods.
Lastly, I would bring in the numerous studies that show how diet and fructose based sodas are associated with negative health consequences.
Pepsi uses fetal cells in their flavoring?!?!?! As scary as this school’s new beverage choice menu is, that is far more heinous! I had no idea! Not only is that an enormously sneaky atrocity to anyone who is Pro Life, but for any and every human being it means CANIBALISM every time they drink a pepsi!?!?!?!?! Now I am speechless!
While it is very offensive, Pepsi isn’t technically using fetal cells every single time they make a batch of soft drinks. Fetal cells were a part of the original technology to develop artificial flavors, and these cells came from one aborted fetus more than 30 years ago. The company doing this is Senomyx. This is where our fake flavorings have come from for years, and it isn’t just Pepsi using them. Many, many other companies do too. While I find this extremely offensive, and it breaks my heart as well, it isn’t like Pepsi is hanging out around the back door of an abortion clinic. My sister wrote an excellent article about this in the summer 2011 issue of Wise Traditions. You can read it here: https://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/senomyx
Interesting, Amy! Thanks for sharing that. I watched the CBS 60-minutes clip on natural flavorings recently and it made me watch to avoid “natural flavorings” in products, but this fetal cell thing just really cements that in more for me. Thanks for the info!