The Problem with Your Child's School Lunch

Moms Make a Move

As anyone who has gone up against a school-lunch program knows, change can take years. That's why even if your child is just a toddler, it's not too early to start pushing for better food. When Weston, Connecticut, mom Amy Kalafa realized what was being served in her children's lunchroom, she made Two Angry Moms, a documentary about what's wrong with school lunches and how parents can improve them.

Kalafa's film follows the efforts of Susan Rubin, a mom who had been working for more than a decade to improve the lunches in her children's schools in Westchester County, New York. The film takes viewers through Rubin's successful crusade to get items such as neon-green slushies, supersize cookies, and greasy fries off the menu.

Since making the film, Kalafa has seen improvements across the country, including chicken served on the bone, hearty soups, and vegetarian options. Change is possible. The CDC reports that while junk food is rampant in schools, the percentage of schools in which children are not permitted to buy it is increasing. But even though the government is advocating for change, parents still need to push for improvements at the district level. "Go into any school that has joined the school-lunch revolution and you will see kids eating unprocessed food, helping themselves from salad bars, and actually eating the meals, all within the typical 20-minute lunch period," says Dr. Nestle. "Teachers in these schools swear that the kids behave and learn better, do not bounce off the walls after lunch, and show fewer signs of learning disorders. Can we teach schools to care about what students eat? Of course we can."

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