Food for thought

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 12:12am
2BusyBoys's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/03/2004 - 09:00

[url="http://www.georgetownnews.com/articles/2006/08/22/news/news02.txt"]http://www.georgetownnews.com/articles/2006/08/22/news/news02.txt[/url]
By WHITNEY PRATHER
Georgetown News-Graphic
8/22/06

Obesity among children now shares the limelight of the nationwide health craze. Toast is not buttered but sprayed with cholesterol-free substitute, and what was once mystery meat, is now chicken.

A concept that can either delight or send shivers down a student's back, school cafeteria food continues to be a work in progress.

Within the last 4-5years, there has been a national effort to improve the nutrition of food served daily in public schools, said Eleanor Hall, Scott County Schools' director of food services. Scott County has joined this effort by offering several healthy options to students.

"We offer whole wheat bread so that kids have a choice," Hall said. "We have wheat buns and rolls most of the time, and sometimes students have their choice of white."

A food innovation, or stroke of genius depending who is asked, white wheat bread seems to be more kid friendly.

"We are using some white wheat bread now, so kids don't know it's wheat," Hall said. "We have to disguise it."

A trend as a healthy substitute, pizza now has a wheat crust, as do the corn dogs the schools serve.

Other healthier products include the daily use of Buttermist, a butter derivative with no sodium, cholesterol, fat or calories. The butter-flavored spray is used regularly on toast, rolls and for pan spray, said Hall, adding that butter buds are used to flavor steamed vegetables.

A recent federal law no longer allows schools to carry whole milk but instead requires schools to offer 1-percent white, chocolate and strawberry milk, as well as skim.

"For years, we had whole milk, and you had to have under 1 percent of the student population taking it to get rid of it," Hall said. "We always had just over the percentage, then last year the law was passed that we couldn't offer whole milk anymore."

Unprocessed fruits and vegetables tend to be a popular item among students, as well, said Hall, explaining that the department of agriculture allows schools to take up to 20 percent of their commodities in fresh fruit and vegetables. Scott County participates, taking the "20 percent off the top" of the commodities they receive, Hall said.

Another growing concern among food service staff and parents surrounds the peanut allergy that appears to becoming ever more evident among students, Hall said.

The most serious example of a no-nut zone is at Northern Elementary. To a couple of students who attend, peanuts are fatal, Principal Judi Hunter said.

Upon entering Northern, parents, teachers and students are met with large signs prohibiting food containing nuts, nut oil, coconut, corn oil or anything with "nut byproducts" from being carried into the building.

Overall, Hunter said parents have been very receptive.

"Parents want to keep their own kids safe, so they'll do whatever it takes to keep another child safe," Hunter said.

While some schools require a search of lunches to ensure there are no potentially harmful nut products, Northern does not.

"A parent knows that when their kid goes through the line, it's safe. I trust our parents to do the right thing," Hunter said. "To have a little boy come to you and say, 'Thank you for the signs - now I feel safe,' that gives me goosebumps."

In light of the allergies that exist among some Scott County students, others are still able to enjoy peanut butter and peanut products at school.

"We still have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everywhere but Western and Northern (elementary schools) where there are students with serious allergies," Hall said. "Most of our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches come wrapped from Smuckers, and peanut butter cookies are bought to avoid contamination. We try to avoid contamination and be as careful as possible."

Further precautions come in the form of proper medical training, said Hall, who explained that anyone working in a cafeteria where a student with an allergy eats must be trained to use an EpiPen, an injection used to stop severe allergic reactions.

While some seem to believe childhood obesity can be attributed to food the schools have traditionally served, Hall said other components, including the students' habits at home and outside of school contribute more.

"(Obesity) is really other factors, but the move in nutrition has helped us get a hold on things we used to sell, like Gatorade, ice cream and Little Debbies," Hall said.

Regardless of who is responsible for growing obesity issues in children, Hall said, food services staff hope children learn good eating habits based on school food options.

"I hope it helps. Hopefully if they drink 1-percent milk here, they'll want it at home and the same with white and wheat bread and fresh fruit," she said, adding that the reigning favorite school food among students is surprisingly chicken.

"Oh, they eat a lot of chicken," Hall said. "There's no telling how many thousands of dollars is spent on chicken. It's a wonder the school system doesn't cluck."

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 12:48am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:
Overall, Hunter said parents have been very receptive.
"Parents want to keep their own kids safe, so they'll do whatever it takes to keep another child safe," Hunter said.
That is as it should be. But judging from past posts on these boards, it too seldom is.

Posted on: Wed, 08/23/2006 - 12:48am
anonymous's picture
Offline
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Quote:
Overall, Hunter said parents have been very receptive.
"Parents want to keep their own kids safe, so they'll do whatever it takes to keep another child safe," Hunter said.
That is as it should be. But judging from past posts on these boards, it too seldom is.

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 11/12/2019 - 2:43pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:28pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:23pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:10pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:47am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 3:43pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 2:48pm
Comments: 7
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:44pm
Comments: 12
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:35pm
Comments: 13
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:11pm
Comments: 6
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/05/2019 - 2:09pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by chicken Tue, 11/05/2019 - 12:06pm
Comments: 5
Latest Post by sunshinestate Mon, 11/04/2019 - 1:44pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 10/31/2019 - 11:20am
Comments: 2

More Articles

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

More Articles

More Articles

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...

If you avoid peanuts, it’s likely you know the joy of cashews. Slightly sweet and smooth in texture, cashews provide not only relief to those with...

The prevalence of food allergy has dramatically increased over the past two to three decades, and not just among children. Preliminary results...

When someone in the family is diagnosed with a food allergy, a choice must be made whether to ban the problem food or foods from the home. The...

Looking for a fun way to share what you know about your own food allergies? Or are you hoping to educate the people around you in a fun way about...

According to the results of a new study, children lacking Vitamin D may be more susceptible to food allergies. Researchers working at the Albert...

If you or your child has a peanut or nut allergy, identifying the presence of nuts in food becomes a priority, but what if the written or spoken...

Soap allergies can cause a lot of discomfort and itching. If you suddenly develop a rash or bumps on your skin, you may suspect that you have an...