Montclair Food Revolution!

BY  |  Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011 12:54pm  |  COMMENTS (23)

We told you about the petition to keep ice cream trucks away from schools here. Now a group of Montclair parents have started a petition fighting food IN schools.

In the spirit of Jamie Oliver, they are starting a food revolution. the group called Montclair Food Revolution: School Lunch Reform states:

Montclair school district is providing unsatisfactory school meals which include fast food style menus with processed foods that contain artificial additives and preservatives. Our kids are paying for this with their health. Lifestyle and diet related health problems are on the rise in children. At least 30 percent of children in the US are overweight, childhood obesity has more than doubled, and it is predicted that one in three will develop diabetes before adulthood. For many of our students, school lunch is their only complete meal of the day. We need to make sure it is a healthy and nourishing meal.

We need a change in philosophy not a change in costs. In fact, if our meals meet the new nutritional standards (which they currently do not) the district will be reimbursed an extra $0.06 per meal.

One of the single most impactful and sustainable ways to make immediate changes to school lunches is to implement healthy salad bars with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins.  Fresh fruits and vegetables at a salad bar can replace the typical school lunch vegetable – “baked” fries or tater tots. Two schools have won grants from Whole Foods for Salad Bar hardware, but these are not being fully utilized. Full salad bars and nourishing, tasty soups should be made available to all schools in the district.

If highly processed food, chocolate milk, hot dogs, chicken nuggets and canned fruit are not your idea of a healthy lunch, get involved and help make school lunches healthier. Let’s give our kids the right food to fuel their academic performance and teach them how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Show your support for better meals service by our school district by signing below. We’ll be in touch soon with more ways to help.

If you agree that Montclair schools are not providing its children with healthy lunch options, then sign the petition here.

Do you let your kids buy lunch at school?

23 Comments

  1. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  March 30, 2011 @ 1:42 pm

    Ice cream truck away from schools? Are you people nuts?

    Do gooders gone wild. Absurd. If your kids are little and they want ice cream, tell’em no. I know many parents like to be their childs friend and will never tell them No. Probably dont want to ruin their self esteem or whatever psychological babble goes around these days.

    If they are older kids, they’ll buy it there or go to 7/11 and buy Arizona Ice tea and all that garbage which is just as bad.

    stop with this non sense.

  2. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 30, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    As a teacher/Aide how many pounds of veggies are thrown out daily.

    Hate to tell you this: kids don’t want to eat the “healthy” stuff unless it’s prepared well. And since most have such a short amount of time to eat, most make “easy” (unhealthy) choices.

    But the obvious question is: Why wait for the Government/Schools to change??

    PACK YOUR KID’S LUNCH.

    This is so dumb. If YOU are concerned, don’t pay. Make it yourself! You’ll save money and feel good knowing that your kid is eating well. As someone who makes his kid’s lunch 4 days a week (he’s allowed ONE school meal a week), it’s not very hard. Remember: as a parent, you get to make the rules!

    (Keep in mind: no Montclair kid has ever starved to death from not eating lunch. Not to say all are “food secure,” because sadly some aren’t. But most of the kids of these “food-petition hawking” folks haven’t missed a meal in years.)

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 30, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

    As=ASK

  4. POSTED BY mommy  |  March 30, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    I have to say that while it is a great idea to promote healthier lunches, why not send in a healthy lunch each morning with your child? It only takes a little planning and your child will have the healthiest lunch ever! Lately I have my child choose from various options at the beginning of the week, and then there is no discussion about it each day. Like others, my child can buy one lunch a week. Typically it will turn out to be Pizza day.

    Now for banning the icecream man…

    this is one of the childhood pleasures that my children get to indulge in once a week! Don’t ban him! It is fun and is a treat in our house, no one expects it every day!

    Banning the icecream man’s song….well, that is another story!

  5. POSTED BY not a jersey girl  |  March 30, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    as the parent of a bloomfield first grader i am totally appalled at what is offered for school lunch. so instead i do send my son with lunch everyday. but in doing so not only am i robbing my son of the “fun” of getting hot lunch, i am also adding one more task (make lunch) to my already to my already busy evenings. it would be wonderful to once in a while be able to use hot lunch as a safety net, say when my husband is traveling and it’s just me and the crazy kids. but with their current menu i can not in good conscience do that. i wonder, would the folks who purchase the food and create the menus actually eat the meals on a daily basis? i can’t imagine so…

  6. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  March 30, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    I’m not down with the petition against ice cream trucks, but this is a petition I support. My daughter only buys lunch on Fridays, because it’s pizza day. Or the occasional pancakes for lunch she loves. I don’t care for them myself, b/c they are processed and I’m certain it’s HFC syrup instead of maple syrup, but it’s once a month.

    There are simple changes that can be made to offer our children healthy food, without making it food they won’t eat. Stop offering chocolate milk as a choice, offer real fruit, not gross syrupy canned diced peaches, add more whole grain options, don’t offer french fries daily, etc..

    prof,

    Your argument that if a person doesn’t like the lunches, just send them from home is one I follow, however with the many children in town who receive a Free or Reduced lunch, it doesn’t work.

  7. POSTED BY alma  |  March 30, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

    Not everyone can afford to make lunch for their kids everyday and receive it for free at school.

    Wouldn’t it also be helpful, in addition to healthier school lunches, to learn how to make inexpensive, quick, easy meals from home so that parents aren’t struggling with time and finances and so that the entire family can get healthier?

    Yes, the ice cream truck and hot lunches are certainly a part of the problem but we must also educate and support our families to integrate healthier foods into their daily meals at home. We need to be talking to our kids about healthier choices and why it’s important. We need to model healthy eating/cooking behaviors ourselves if our kids are going to grow up and make these healthier choices on their own.

    Kudos to Melina and Abraham for speaking out on healthy food initiatives to raise awareness and improve health!

  8. POSTED BY walleroo  |  March 30, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

    School lunches could probably stand an overhaul. Obesity is a huge health problem, processed foods are generally unhealthy, so it makes perfect sense. But where is the money going to come from? Even with the extra $0.06, I doubt it’s going to be cost neutral. At the walleroo household we buy good, fresh food, and it is numbingly expensive and takes more prep. Perhaps some of the town’s revolutionaries could do some fundraising. After all, I would guess the poorer kids, who might not have healthy options from home, rely more on school lunches than the rest.

    My kids always wanted to take their lunches, because they didn’t like what the schools served. Except, of course, for Friday pizza.

  9. POSTED BY herbeverschmel  |  March 30, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    You can buy a lb. of fresh (not processed)turkey on sale and a loaf of whole wheat bread and feed 4 kids for a week. I’ve been doing it for years. Stop buying Lotto tickets and cigarettes with limited funds and invest in your childrens health.

    In my youth I was recipient of the discounted school lunch program and i don’t recall the lunches were ever that bad. Long time ago and I’m sure they can overhaul that program.

    My kids have friends that are in these strict diet households and then come to Herb’s house and eat like their going to the chair. Behind the parents back they’re sucking down soda’s, cup cakes ..anything.

    In my house there are plenty of potato chips, and taystee cakes but there is also a lot of fresh fruit and veggies.
    There is a cure for all this, its called moderation (unless i’m at Tierney’s pounding some tap beer).

    This ice cream truck story is misleading. It seems as though parents want it banned for dietary reasons when in fact its a safety issue. I hope next there is a petition for the parents that drop their kids off in no stop zones because they “will only be here a minute”

  10. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  March 30, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    I am glad to see that there are so many sensible paretns on here…kudos! It really is not that expensive to send your kid to school with a nutritious and tasty lunch. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something they like. School lunches cost 25 cents when I was a kid but I hated all of them except for the pizza so I usually brought my own.

    An observation: My husband subs and he says that he sees a lot of kids who do receive the subsidized breakfasts, lunches, fruits, milk, etc. throw it away in the trash. :-(

  11. POSTED BY deadeye  |  March 30, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

    First the ice cream truck, then the unhealthy lunches, next thing you know you just want to sit down for a while. http://wtrf.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=96699 (warning very disgusting)

  12. POSTED BY saras  |  March 30, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

    Of course, if as a country we didn’t subsidize such unhealthy food, it wouldn’t be cheaper to serve the junk in the first place. But that’s a whole other topic…

  13. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 30, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

    So is this about the choices that free/reduced lunch kids have? If so, I missed that from the petition. Everyone else can make their lunch. Because if everyone else can make lunch (and please don’t give me the “I don’t have time” stuff- IF your kid’s food is important, you’ll find a way).

    But looking at the menus (http://www.schooldish.com/en-us/SSSMA/Montclair_PS) I have to question the premise of this “petition.” Hell, even check out the breakfast offerings, again, nothing outrageous (http://www.schooldish.com/NR/rdonlyres/30394FCD-D8DE-4EFD-BEA7-AABEC775C103/0/WeeklyElementaryMenu.pdf).

    Some of the offerings are pre-made, but that is an issue of whether or not a school has the facilities and staff to make the food fresh. However, there are healthy choices available. The issue is, as I wrote above, when left alone, a kid may not choose the carrots. (Is that surprising to anyone?)

    But are the chicken nuggets, brown rice and glazed carrots that are offered by the schools any different from the meals folks offered here when the dad needed “help” with food suggestions (http://kids.baristanet.com/2011/01/help-a-mother-out/#more-8051)? Check them out- folks offered up cheddar chicken, burritos, and pasta with butter and cheese– about the same as the school menu. (My favorite was “Easy Stuffed Chicken Breasts” with Stove-top stuffing, which is nothing but processed!)

    Again, ask folks who work in the schools about the waste of these “healthy” choices.

    And is the petitioner really suggesting “tasty soups”? Please, no kid is going to choose a “tasty” soup (or any soup) for lunch.

    Sorry, I’m still not signing because I think with the changes the food service recently made, and that most- if not all- can choose to bring their lunch– this is really a non-issue.

  14. POSTED BY Schooled  |  March 30, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

    During the recent school tours I went on, I saw the salad/fruit bars, and children did indeed partake of them. It looked like the majority of kids brought lunch or were eating pretty well.

    The menus also look pretty decent to me. Not fantastic, but pretty good on the whole wheat and turkey instead of red meat and so forth. The breakfasts don’t look good at all, however. THAT could use a rehaul. When I used to go to the summer breakfast with my kids at the NYC schools they at least had more protein once in a while. Switch out the sugar cereal for Cheerios or Chex or something at least.

  15. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 30, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    The breakfast is a bagel and cream cheese 2 times a week, cereal once a week and muffin/bread the other days. Each with juice and lowfat milk.

    OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

    No sugary cereal.

    So, what’s so bad about those choices?

    And don’t go with some dumb pie-in-the-sky expectation, these choices are not that different than what most around here eat.

  16. POSTED BY qby33  |  March 30, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    People, please….there are SOOOOO many more things we could be focused on right now. Ice cream trucks near the school? I say NO to my child every time we pass one of those disgusting things. Especially after the time I watched a very disturbing news show on how dirty those trucks are! And as for the lunches, the same kids everyday pick the same types of food. The ones who like the salad with chicken, get that 4 out of the 5 days. The others, well…they choose the “kinda” chicken sandwich or other not so great item on the menu. Our family can’t afford much these days, but I can handle a lowfat yogurt, banana and peanut butter sandwich for my kid. And it takes about 3 minutes to throw together!!

  17. POSTED BY Schooled  |  March 31, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    Prof,

    Take a deep breath and step back from the sarcasm. I’m pretty sure (though I await correcting in capital letters) that Cinnamon Toast Crunch counts as a sugary cereal.

  18. POSTED BY pamplemousse  |  March 31, 2011 @ 10:07 am

    I was very disappointed when I first saw the school lunch options. While I’ve seen way worse selections at other schools, I had expected more when I moved here, thinking the progressive attitudes of the community would trickle down to something as basic as school lunches.

    At my son’s school, hot dogs and chicken nuggets were each offered 3 times for the month of Feb. Chicken patties were offered twice in that same month. I have no problems with the occasional hot dogs or burgers (although I do wonder what else is going into those nuggets and patties), but having these offered regularly is a really awful way to teach kids how to eat healthy. Subbing in “wheat” bread and pasta and turkey instead of beef is a start, but how about occasionally using grains like quinoa or barley? Or lentils? How about grilled or roasted veggies? How about frittatas? How about stir-fries? These are dishes that easily incorporate veggies into their meals. And introduce kids to other foods.

    There’s a school lunch consultant called Chef Ann Cooper who’s been revamping school menus: http://www.chefann.com/index.html Would love to see her called in. Not that I expect it with all the budget issues.

    My son is always asking to be a hot luncher, but I only allow him the occasional (and I mean 3 times this whole year so far) pizza lunch at school. Budget-wise and health-wise, I can offer him way healthier and tastier lunches.

    Oh, and as for those ice cream trucks, not only are they annoying sitting at the front of the schools, but most of what they offer is NASTY. Have you ever tasted one of those Dora ice cream pops? I don’t know what the hell they’re made of but it’s definitely not ice cream. And $2 for a Good Humor ice cream bar? When my son asks for one, I ask him if he wants ONE from the truck, or a box of SIX when they go on sale at the supermarket and I stock up on them.

  19. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  March 31, 2011 @ 10:54 am

    Coffee–breakfast of champions.

  20. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  March 31, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    Schooled, despite your charming avatar, I tire of “wit.” But if you found that by linking and actually looking at the menu selections that seem to run counter to the fake outrage here sarcastic, then YOU ARE CORRECT, SIR!

    pamplemousse,

    C’mon. Are you kidding here? 3 times in a month is not much. (And you do see how odd it is that you claim to not mind the “occasional” hotdog, but have a problem with it 3 times a month. If three is not “occasional” I don’t know what is.)

    As I pointed out above, in another post here on b-kids, it seems that most folks don’t have the kind of variety that would offer a new meal for each day of the month.

    Further, from those comments, it’s clear some kids like to know that they are having something more than once (read the comments above to see how many folks let their kids have pizza, should THAT be once a month too?)

    (But from the rest of your comments, you sound like a real party “When my son asks for one, I ask him if he wants ONE from the truck, or a box of SIX when they go on sale at the supermarket and I stock up on them.” The point of the ice-cream truck is to eat outside of home afterschool FROM THE TRUCK!!!)

    That’s the fun part.

  21. POSTED BY pamplemousse  |  March 31, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    Prof,

    I would fine with hot dogs 3 times a month to be fine if the meals offered the rest of the month was relatively healthy food. But In the month of Feb, the menu lists:
    4x pizza
    3x hot dogs
    3x chicken nuggets
    2x chicken patty
    2x pancakes
    1x burger

    So, 15 of the 24 lunches offered that month are basically processed fast food fare. This isn’t even considering whether you would call turkey tacos and nachos as healthy or not. So, more than half of the food offered for the month is unhealthy. So, no, that’s not what I consider “occasional”. Would you feed your kid fast food more than half of each month? Since you say you pack your kids lunches, I’m guessing not.

    And btw, I prefer to teach my son to spend his money wisely. If any of the ice cream trucks served decent softserve, if they serve softserve at all, I would consider that a better purchase since we can’t make it ourselves or buy it on sale. He can get ice cream and ice pops at home. Which is usually less than 10 minutes away from school or summer camp or the playgrounds. If he wants to eat it outside, we’ve got a yard. So, you think I’m robbing my kid of happy childhood memories? Man, life’s rough when the saddest part of your day is you couldn’t get crappy ice cream from the ice cream truck. Boo hoo.

  22. POSTED BY thislittlepiggy  |  March 31, 2011 @ 10:09 pm

    I was not going to post but the negativity is really bothering me. We have a huge problem with food in this country, the reason people are so fat/ sick is due to all the processed stuff they eat. Pamplemousse has listed a horrible list that I would be horrified if my kids ate half of it – all those nitrates, unidenitifiable parts of animals, all those hormones in the meat. So why is it okay for other kids, usually from poorer backgrounds to eat it?
    I applaud Montclair Food Revolution as for the sake of future generations people need to start eating real food.

  23. POSTED BY pamplemousse  |  March 31, 2011 @ 10:12 pm

    Yeesh, correction:
    I would be fine with hot dogs 3 times a month if the meals…

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