The new line drawn in the sand over eating healthy lunches in our schools seems set to come to an eventual standoff before long. With Republicans wanting to loosen some of the health standards set in the ongoing Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, First Lady Michelle Obama is adamant in not wanting to go back to adding unhealthy foods to school menus. And despite some signs that not all kids are going for these 100% healthy lunches in their schools, is there some way to find a compromise on the menus so kids can enjoy eating without ruining their health?
When it comes to diet, there seems to be as much extremism as there is in politics. Every fad diet you see come around is one extreme or another in eliminating all of one food or even not eating anything except one kind of food. Almost all of those are potentially dangerous because you’re not getting the proper nutrition by cutting out things considered bad because of how they’re easily overeaten.
Dieticians with more sense will always tell you that having a diet in moderation means you can eat anything and still keep your weight under control. The problem is going from the extremes of eating more and stabilizing your metabolism so you can enjoy food on a moderated level and without putting on excessive weight.
Is this the approach Michelle Obama’s school lunch program should go, or is the notion that all junk food is automatically bad going to continue into the indefinite future?
Controlling Portions in School Lunch Programs
If you’ve ever taken on a moderation diet, you know that you need an assortment of foods in order to get all the proper nutrition, along with the balance of exercise. It’s a plan that usually has to involve eating in controlled portions, which is already a given in the school lunch program. But we tend to forget that sugar is still allowed in moderation diets, just as long as it doesn’t exceed a certain amount over other essential nutrients.
Those who keep sugar within 75 grams in a day can still have a chance to enjoy something sweet without worrying about it hurting them. The same goes with sodium where anything under 500 milligrams is going to be all the body requires. As we know, though, store-bought products sometimes have sugar and sodium totals going way beyond this in just one product. Even if the sugar and sodium content is listed as lower on the package, some people can’t stop eating sugary and salty snacks and end up tripling the amount per serving.
The good news is that if school lunch programs are made from scratch, much of this can be controlled easily in students. Combined with exercise during the day, you almost see the point that perhaps allowing a moderated amount of sugar or sodium in a school lunch isn’t going to affect the health of students. When you’re a kid anyway, having some sugar is almost a rite of passage, as long as it isn’t overboard as the road to ever-increasing obesity.
Will there be a compromise eventually on allowing a moderated diet in the school lunch program rather than forcing kids to eat nothing but healthy food? The obesity epidemic has obviously scared us so much that anything with the word sugar or sodium in it is starting to be shunned completely. While everyone is better off if they eliminate as much sugar as they can in their diets, kids aren’t going to do this willingly unless they’re truly committed. Michelle Obama, with all the great things she’s done in fighting obesity, no doubt understands this.
The better psychology for helping kids is to control how much they get while still allowing moderated amounts of anything so they can get back to enjoying lunch like they used to.