News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
5th October 2009

Three veggies and two fruits a day

posted in Education, Healthy Living, In the News, Lowell High |

Remember when President Reagan said that ketchup counted as a vegetable in school lunches? Well, apparently today’s youth are not only forgetting to eat their ketchup, but they’re way behind in their consumption of fruit cocktail. (I use these foods facetiously; obviously ketchup is not the best vegetable, nor is processed fruit soaked in corn syrup the best fruit.) According to this article in the Boston Globe, 90 percent of American high school students are not eating enough fresh fruits and vegetables. The Center for Disease Control, which ranked the diet of American high-school students as poor, requires three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day for a healthy diet. Another interesting point in the article: Some New England states ranked higher (with Vermont the best of that bunch), and those states with students consuming more fruits and vegetables also had more farmers markets and school vending machines stocked with healthier options.

A few years ago, the Lowell School Committee developed a wellness policy that included healthier food options at lunch, and limited the amount of candy and junk food sold during school hours. Since we started serving fresh fruits, carrots and celery sticks in elementary and middle-school lunches, the children are eating the healthier choices. Also according to the new wellness policy, LHS students were required to stop fund raising by selling candy bars during the school day, and high-school vending machines were stocked with water, low-sugar beverages, and healthier choices. Clearly, however, the problem extends beyond school control and has more to do with what’s happening in our homes. Like most aspects of parenting, the real work is modeling the behavior we wish to see in our children; in this case, it means eating healthy ourselves, and making fruits and vegetables part of our own, as well as our children’s, daily diets.

There are currently 2 responses to “Three veggies and two fruits a day”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On October 15th, 2009, kpemscott said:

    I have to disagree with you on this one. I find very little to be healthy or appealing with the school lunch menu.
    Todays menu- Beef and cheese taco’s, doritos, chilled fruit, milk
    I would much rather see cold sandwiches like turkey or ham on wheat bread, pretzels, chilled fruit. An occasional candy bar sold for a fundraiser is nothing compared to what the current menu offers and does not teach about moderation.
    This month…
    6 servings of pizza
    2 servings chicken nuggets/popcorn chicken w/ fries
    4 spaghetti type dishes
    1 tacos w/ doritos
    1 cheeseburgers w/ fries
    2 pocket sandwiches w/ fries
    2 meat plus gravy meals

    If we as adults ate pizza, burgers, tacos, and spaghetti all the time we would be hitting the treadmill constantly. The word “white” should be eliminated from the school vocabulary when it comes to bread. My children take their lunch from home most of the time (pizza is great as a treat) they take tuna whole wheat, whole grain goldfish, fruit, most of the time. I feel bad for children stuck eating this everyday.

  2. 2 On October 16th, 2009, Jackie said:

    You are right. We still have a long way to go in regards to serving healthier lunches. My point in the post is that we have made progress in the last few years, and when given the healthy options, children were choosing them. Years ago, candy bars were being sold EVERY DAY, ALL DAY at the high school–outside the cafeteria and throughout the halls. Elementary students were not getting fresh fruit and vegetables nor choices of salads and sandwiches, in addition to whatever hot item was featured that day. Like you, I make lunches for my children most days because it is a healthier option, which is another reason we need to revamp the program: we need more parents (and kids of course)to choose school lunches. The other issue is cost; we need to keep the cost for buying lunch down while improving the quality, nutritional value and kid-appeal of the food–not an easy task.

  • Blogroll

  • Contact Us

  • Education Links

  • Local Groups

  • Local media