School lunches becoming tastier

Eating school lunches back in the day had a traumatizing affect on me. Whether it was undercooked pizza, bland hot dogs that probably didn’t have any real meat or crappy stale burritos for breakfast. School lunches never provided any real merit of joy or happiness for me, especially sine there were always long lines for them. I remember basically running straight from the class room to the lunch line just so I can be able to get a decent meal. The few times I ended up in the back, they either ran out of food or had measly scraps and left overs that no one wanted to eat. Then there are other times that I would lose or forget my lunch ticket, then your totally screwed unless a friend had an extra one. On days like those chips and soda were life savors. However, when the Los Angeles Unified School District banned all unhealthy snacks like chips, those huge cookies that cost $.50 and sodas school kids have been suffering. At least that’s according to what my younger sisters use to say. Fast forward a few years later and the LAUSD is finally doing something about its lunch program. In an article published in the L.A. Times today, head chef Mark Baida is finally doing something about it. They used Garfield students as testers for the new school lunches, which is a great idea. Better late than never. At least now the next generation of kids won’t have to eat stale tasteless food like I did going through school. Now if they can do something about the lunch ladies serving the food.     

14 thoughts on “School lunches becoming tastier

  1. It’s about time! but I got to admit I did like some of the choices like the pizza and the pigs in a blanket the coffee cake was not bad as well. The ones I dreaded where the fake rib sandwich,the chalupa and the breaded fish sandwich that had gooey cheese in the middle yuck! but I guess none of the choices where healthy so maybe they can ponder something healthy that is actually good.Lucky for me I was still in high school when they still allowed chips and soda yay-ya I lived off that from like 10th till 12th grade!

  2. I’m glad to hear that LAUSD is finally moving forward with its promise to provide healthier food to students. I remember hearing about this pilot program at Garfield about a year ago and I was happy. The schools sorely need to serve healthier alternatives than what has been served in the past years.

    I never thought about school meals– they were just a part of my day at school. I never gave them thought until I was in high school and my friend pointed out two things: South Gate High School had just started a vegetable bar and school was the only place where she would consciously eat pizza with milk. When I heard about the vegetable bar, I immediately thought it was a good idea and had a salad every other day. It was one of the few times I had food that didn’t make me feel a bit bad after having it. Most LAUSD food passed the gag test, but some of it was intolerable.

    LAUSD banning the sale of potato chips (which are still sold, albeit only the “baked” potato chips) and sodas was a step in the right direction. People aren’t suffering; if anything, it serves to dissuade students from eating that shit when they don’t like the county food. Throughout the day, the chips and soda combination is much less filling than LAUSD food.

    The confounding variable in this equation is presented at the end of the article and in a previous post by Art (http://laeastside.com/2008/06/random-flicks-in-the-flats/). Though I don’t support public education taking the place of good parenting, I hope that healthier food choices at schools will serve to increase community demand for healthier food alternatives in poorer areas. These communities are full of small corner stores that serve nothing but the cheapest food stuffs (soda and chips) and the lack of healthy alternatives is ultimately what drives this increase in childhood obesity in all areas. A parallel can be drawn with Mexico; as the economy has moved slowly from farming to more industrial endeavors, more and more corner stores have opened in Mexico providing Bimbo bakery goods, sodas and potato chips, leading to an increase in childhood obesity and obesity in general.

    Having these corner stores that sell these lower-quality and lower nutritional value foods subverts having healthier foods at school. Students will keep going to these stores and buying their bags of Hot Cheetos, dulces mexicanos, and Cokes and storing them in their backpacks and will eat them instead of the healthier food, especially since all high schools have either a small corner store or a gas station nearby selling that junk.

    I’m for the school district hiring an outside vendor to come into the school and sell their prepared healthier alternatives at schools if it is too costly to serve their own. Whatever it takes to serve healthier food in the school districts.

  3. Healthy eating needs to begin at home. The worst nutritional abomination I’ve witnessed is parents putting soda in their babies’ bottle. A child grows up with
    horrible eating tendencies before he can even realize what dire health consequences
    he may be heading for. Then at adolescence, he’s bombarded with more junk food coupled with the independence to possibly make more bad choices, and Voila’-now we’re all trying to fix the problem after the fact. School food sucks and not for just the obvious reasons. The district has to prepare bulk amounts for thousands of students every week. That means it’s packed with preservatives ie.=sodium. Some kids today show a trend of being more nervous, jittery, irritable , bad tempered, poor sleep, fluid retention and obesity all affecting academic performance. This should be scaring enough parents to start considering preparing and packing lunches for their kids more often. I realize it could be a hardship in some cases
    but is it not worth your child’s health? Anyway, providing healthier choices is a step
    in the right direction that could help in the poorer areas as Soledadenmasa states.
    I have faith in the kids that they’ll take the steps to become more health concious.

  4. My mom is a recently retired LAUSD teacher, she worked with pre-K kids in South Gate. She noticed that every year the students seem to be less attentive and have more behavioral problems. I mentioned to her it’s probably the kids’ diets.
    How I cringe when I see a mother giving her toddler a can of soda. They should seriously put skull and crossbones on that sugary swill. For toddlers and babies, it’s poison in a bottle (or can).

  5. Well I will believe it when I see it…LAUSD has been saying this for years..and to comment on chimatli reply, I do agree about the behavior problems that the kids have is diet and parenting..and what blows me away is that our children have to pay to eat this terrible lunch, i usually make my kids lunch because she tells me the food makes her stomach hurt, and she is 7. and what really pisses me off is that if she doesn’t have a home made lunch and she did not have enough money to eat lunch they won’t feed her..how can you do that to a little kid..deny them food, and how can you expect them to concentrate the rest of the day..they should be paying our kids to eat the shitty food.

  6. There’s something that doesn’t make sense — why do elementary school kids need to pay to eat lunch? They aren’t old enough to make the decision to skip lunch. What are they going to do? Walk down to the jr. market and get a microwave burrito and orange juice, for $3?

    The lunch should be part of the school budget.

    When I was in elementary school, it seemed like the school made an effort to hire mothers to work in the cafeteria. They made fresh bread! Okay, it wasn’t great bread, but it was homemade. They cooked their food there, mostly. My faves were turkey and mashed potatoes, tostada, burgers (which were kind of hard actually), hot dogs in rolls, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

    They were all loaded with fat and sodium, and not enough vegetables, but they tasted good to me!

  7. elementary, jr high and high school lunches are not free unless you qualify for the free or reduced lunch. i have a child in high school and one in elementary and every year you have to fill out a lunch form, and every year we had to pay full price for lunches…only if you make under a certain $$ amount a year (annual income)that determines if your child (children) qualify…it is stupid because i also think that the school lunch should be free for everyone. so the way it works now is that you give your child money and they take it to the cafeteria and they put the money on the book…that’s what they call it and if you run out of money, and your child goes to get lunch they tell you there at the window you need to bring money tomorrow and they turn the child away…it happened to my daughter who is only 7. but the horrible thing was that they gave her lunch then they realized she didnt have money on her “books” and actually went over to where my daughter was and took her food away and gave her a receipt that had 0 balance to bring home to me…i was furious when my daughter came home from school and told me she didn’t eat lunch and that they took her food away from her, of course I went to the school the next day and had words with the principal.

  8. Some of you people are so irresponsible. Its the parents fault if the child has no money on account. Stay involved and know what your child is up to. Food is not free someone needs to pay for it. You want free lunches but do you want your taxes increased? Get an education you people from east LA. Oh you must all be LAuSD dropouts.

  9. Well you know me, I work for LAUSD and have been since July 2008 and yes there are new healthy meals on the menu but the old things are still floating around and are still very unhealthy for kids. Even if we ran out of food we serve the kids peanut butter or measly cheese sandwiches which the kids throw away. The food is still the same, but question yourself, is Kung Pao Chicken and Nachos really healthy? Making those just makes me want to lose weight due to the amount of grease that is in there. but good article eric and i found it on google! lol

  10. I agree with Al Desmadre, it all begins at home…. but what do the kids get at school?? Is it tasty, or tasty and healthy?? I know it’s hard to do both, and we all know if kids don’t like the taste they wont eat it no matter how healthy it is.
    I was lucky, I went to catholic school, and in those days our mom’s made the food in the cafeteria, it was actually homemade, not frozen!! I was very fortunate!!
    In class you could smell the aroma of the food wafting upwards towards the classrooms, when that bell would ring we would run as fast as we could to the cafeteria.

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