Molly O’Brien: Involve the kids |

Molly O’Brien: Involve the kids

In order for the school lunch program to be the best, you absolutely need to involve the children in the decision-making process.

The result will be more successful, plus, they will know it was their idea and not dictated to them. A survey should outright ask them: “Why don’t you eat cafeteria food? Does it really taste bad? Do you skip it because your friends do? If you like the food, do you risk looking nerdy if you eat it often? Does it take longer to get and cuts into your free time? Does it just look gross?” Then you can go about fixing the problems. You have to think like a kid while making smart decisions. What about offering incentives? After buying 10 well-balanced meals they are automatically entered to win something really cool, like a CD. The winner’s name is posted or announced somehow.

Secondly, as to the french fries, are they offered every day? If they are offered often, we are teaching that this junk food is really a mainstay. French fries, in reality, are a treat, meaning they are not to be eaten often. Parent monitoring is tricky. Kids are typically really hungry. When they walk into the cafeteria, does it smell like hot, oily, salty, delicious french fries? Are we to tell them to eat salad and fruit even though you have to watch your friends crunching and relishing french fries?

I certainly don’t have them at my home or I would be really fat and eventually ill. It is like baking a big, warm, gooey chocolate cake, putting it out after dinner and telling your family they are having watermelon for dessert because you care about their health. Isn’t it hypocritical to offer children a big sugar high by way of candy bars at lunch time in an educational setting?

I say cut way back on the junk and work hard to make the cafeteria food really great. Kids can have a choice. They can bring junk food from home. That way the public school isn’t participating in bad choices – and getting caught teaching one thing and doing another.

Molly O’Brien

Steamboat Springs

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