Wednesday, February 13, 2013

You Can Lead A Child To The Lunchroom But You Can't Make Him Eat

The children of Arlington Heights, Illinois, will no longer be subjected to such adult-oriented entrees as black bean burgers or grilled salmon.

Those who run the school lunch program there have discovered that they can lead the children to the most nutritional foods, but they cannot make them eat it.

And the kids were not eating it.

So it's back to the hot dogs and chicken nuggets for those who buy a hot lunch at school. It's likely that the number buying instead of bringing from home will increase, now that there's something the kids like to eat.

Healthy foods were introduced by a trained dietician, looking at all those important factoids like calories, protein density, fiber, and all the things that dieticians like to measure.

The number of children buying lunch at school began to decline. Those who continued to buy avoided the healthy entrees as if they were poison.

The school district, which must be run like a business, could not afford to keep putting the recommended food items out there, only to throw them away at a loss. To save money, they chose to abandon the program and return to the good old days.

How can a school convince the students to change their diets?

Remarkably, it must begin at home. The school lunchroom just doesn't have the same cachet, the same influence as the home environment.

And it's clear that the parents weren't adhering to the government's mandate to make kids eat healthy. Instead, they gave in to the little ones and sent them to school with a lunch from home, where who could say if the ingredients were suitable to the dieticians who know what's best?

What can be done?

It's time to send a dietician to every home, someone to prepare the family meal every evening. A dietician who will make everyone sit there until they've cleaned their plate, while reminding them of the starving children in China who can only dream of eating four ounces of grilled salmon. A dietician who would not let them have dessert if they didn't finish dinner.

The students of the Arlington Heights school district need June Cleaver and Harriet Nelson at home. Today's modern parent just isn't doing things the right way.

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