My Blogging Experience

January 20, 2010

Nutrition in Schools

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , — debyj @ 9:25 pm

I have a part time/summer job delivering chips for a snack food company. Today I was working in some small towns and had to make a stop at one small-town k-12 school. We deliver chips to a lot of schools all over the country so that they can sell chips in their canteens/cafeterias and make profit for various school activities/upgrades.

The secretary at this particular school informed me that the school division is requiring that principals create nutrition programs for their schools which they will implement in fall 2010. She was very upset that she would not be able to sell chips at the canteen as of fall 2010. She expressed her frustrations in that she had tried to sell a variety of health foods to the students (such as yogurt, fruits, veggies and dip) and had no success. The food expired and went to waste and they made no money for their school. Her argument is that a bag of chips each day really is not a big deal, so why set all of these regulations? Instead of staying at school during lunch, they are now just going to walk to the nearest convenience store to buy their chips and chocolate bars.

This viewpoint really made me think about what we are doing to change the current health crisis that is effecting people all over the world and especially effecting children. It made me think about smoking, alcohol, gambling, and other major health problems. Somehow my thoughts always ended up resolving to money and crisis. Why don’t we just ban tobacco altogether when we know that it has no health benefits and is contributing to the destruction of our environment? well…the answer is largely money. Why not ban the production of plastic now that we know it is destroying our world? Well, we do not believe we could survive without it…and there is a lot of money in that.

Check out this video on plastic and you will see what I mean:

Is our economy so dependent on health-destructive products and services that it would actually crumble if we tried to stop it? At some point, we may realize that a temporarily destroyed economy might have been better than a permanently destroyed Earth.

When an alcoholic goes to rehab, the alcoholic is not allowed to drink alcohol. In fact, it is typically completely unavailable to that person. After several intense weeks (and sometimes months) of training, the alcoholic returns to the real world “trained” to avoid alcohol and begin a new life. Unfortunately, even after all of that most alcoholics rebound at least once. So my question is: How do we take chips, pop and other non-nutritional foods out of schools when there is a convenience store next door or a pantry of goodies at home? Although not as extreme, this is similar to telling an alcoholic to stop drinking while handing them a beer. We can try to train our students to avoid these nasty foods, to avoid gambling, to avoid smoking, but when they are surrounded by it, what kind of chances do they have? It is nearly impossible to separate them from these things, to “train” them, to help some with “rehab”. We do not have the resources in schools, so should it really be the responsibility of schools? Should it be the responsibility of parents? Nutrition is becoming a major issue for both adults and children. If the large majority of parents are having this problem too, how can we expect them to be leaders in the situation? That is like asking an addict to help another addict recover! So who’s responsibility is it??? How do we stop this cycle of self-destruction?

These principals that are developing nutritional programs have quite the job to do and a whole lot to think about. It will be very interesting to see how their plans come into action in the next few years.

The following is a great article on this issue. Be sure to read the very last line of the article, a comment from a concerned parent: CBC kids health



  1. It is insane how much money the government makes off of tobacco and alcohol. Regarding the chips, I don’t think that the best option is to enforce nutrition guidelines. Chips and pop, in moderation, I absolutely fine. The problem is that students over consume these things and hardly ever eat anything of substantial nutritional value. That, compounded with a complete lack of exercise, is the reason that, the last time I heard, Regina was the second most overweight city in all of Canada.

    At the school I interned at, we had a trained Blue Ribbon chef. The semester I was there, the “healthy meal” option became available. It was something different each day. It was typically $4, or $3 if you bought a healthy meal punch card. The school still offered the poutines and chicken nuggests, but every day there would be a healthy choice. And they were delicious. Beef stir fry, if it was an option on a certain day of the week, pretty much made my day. After some word of mouth, the healthy meal was selling out, every day. Salmon was also a huge hit. The healthy meal often cost more to make than what we were making back, but it’s nice to at least give students a healthy option, even if they school takes a tiny financial hit.

    Comment by Mike Wolf — January 24, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  2. It always seems to come down to making a buck. We live in an economical society where making more money is the focus and it does not matter who it harms. The government puts all those slogans on the cigarette packages; smoking may cause cancer, smoking may harm your baby, etc. Yet instead of making it illegal it is more important to make some money out of the unhealthy habit. This unhealthy habit creates a new crisis in our health care system that in the long run does not pay for itself. The same goes for unhealthy eating in our country. The government would save a lot of money in the health care system if they never allowed the industry to make foods high in preservatives, trans fat, etc. It shows that the government is not looking out for the welfare of their country. There has to be guidelines to what is put in our food that we buy! Even when you buy healthy vegetables, they are not healthy, green tomatos for example are often sprayed with chemical to be red before it reaches the destination. Have you ever noticed some strawberries that are red on top evenly but green on the opposite side.. chemicals!?!? Why are companies allowed to do this?

    Comment by shiels3k — February 8, 2010 @ 8:22 am

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