I met Sarah Wu when she was Mrs. Q., the anonymous teacher blogger, chronicling her year-long experience eating school lunch. Since then, she’s officially come out and published a book which I know you’ll want to read.
“I know that at some point in your life you ate hot lunch at school. . . I have news for you: School lunch has gotten worse. Much worse.” (p.22)
Fed Up With Lunch, the book based on the blog, shows Wu’s viewpoint by sharing her history with food and business from childhood to adulthood. Throughout the book Wu shares what happened to the quiet teacher that turned her into an advocate for better school lunches. Not only that, we learn how both her health and her son’s health were affected by the food and what they did about it.
Food and Learning Linked
If you’ve ever done a detox, or as I have, stopped eating gluten, you know that food affects everything in your body. It changes your energy – and makes you feel either good or bad.
Food is a drug – either good medicine or health-killer.
In school, learning is tied to having a high quality education with good teachers for sure but what Wu (and I) want parents to understand is that a child’s learning ability is also very much tied to nutrition. “Studies have shown that children who suffer from poor nutrition during the brain’s most formative years score much lower on tests for vocabulary, reading comprehension, arithmetic, and general knowledge.” (p.25) It’s common sense though – we know this don’t we? And, I’ve read some good research about better focus on a gluten free diet which is helpful for many kids, especially kids with ADHD.
BE Scared. I Am . . .
Because Fed Up With Lunch taught me some new things . . . that are scary!
Do you know that the school lunch program has no ties with the Department of Education???? (Only the US Department of Agriculture.)
Do you know that there isn’t full-disclosure on the food ingredients in a school lunch?
Do you know that more than 90% of food brought into cafeterias is frozen? (and therefore contain ingredient fillers that aren’t good for us?)
Do you know that school districts usually serve fruit juice to fill the daily requirement for fruit? But without the fiber of the actual fruit, it’s just sugar! Sugar + kids + math = ?
Do you know that the chocolate milk contains high-fructose corn syrup? (Now this, my friends, is practically a poison, no question about it.)
Do you know that children eating school lunches will affect YOU?
- Kids in poverty often don’t eat much else than what they get for free at school. Consider the effects of poor nutrition from the school lunches these kids eat: obesity, heart disease, diabetes, poor learning, drop outs, . . .
- We are sending a message to our children that we could care less about their health and learning when we feed them crap.
Who Will Help Our Kids?
Wu ends the book with LOTS of ways for you to help in small ways and big ways for you and YOUR KIDS! (I love this section!!)
I believe that we all share in the responsibility of making this world a better place but even more than that, I believe we MUST speak for children who have no voice — we MUST be the voice of the children or we fail them as a community.
5 Ways Parent Can Improve School Lunch is an article by Wu on Babble that will give you some ideas for right now. But you still need this book – and you should pay it forward. Tell a friend, spread the word. It’s how change happens.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Now, I ask you, WHAT WILL YOU DO?
(Even if your kids don’t eat school lunches!)
(I know, caps are screaming – are you hearing me? I’m getting worked up!!!)