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Friday, August 27, 2010

The College Lunch Revolution

I am writing a post to contribute to the Fed Up With Lunch blog party talking about school lunch revolution! Now, I am not the average target audience of Mrs. Q's crusade to change school lunch in grades K-12, but I think that it is just as important to look at how poor nutrition and food choices affect college students too!

1) Answer any, all or one of the following questions in a blog post on your blog, flickr account, or youtube video:
  • How is “Back to School” going for your family?
  • Well, back to school is happening for me for the first time in 10 years :-) Returning to college as an adult is VERY unique. Things that I took for granted in the corporate world (refrigerator, microwave, money, stable schedule) are now GONE. I am back to packing my lunch in a lunch bag that can fit in my backpack and that doesn't require refrigeration or reheating. Also being in classes with people 8-10 years my junior does take some getting used to :-)
  • Is school lunch important part of your child’s day?
  • School lunch is not an important part of my day, but only because I live off campus and I don't have a dining plan.
  • What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?
  • School lunch (and breakfast and dinner and snacks) at college take place in the dining hall or in the food court in the University center. Basically, it is giving kids who are away from home for the first time, all you can eat access to fast food 24 hours a day. The quality of the food is low, and the choices are primarily high fat/high calorie/high sodium and the vegetarian alternatives are slim to none.
  • Does school lunch need to be reformed?
  • ABSOLUTELY school lunch needs to be reformed! And I think that needs to extend from preschool all the way up through college. Especially at a college like mine where town is 8 miles away so the only options for 80% of the student body is on campus, I think there is no excuse to take a captive audience and give them only unhealthy options because it will boost the school's profit margins. Even at the mini marts the best you can find is maybe an apple or a banana in among the candy and chips. I am lucky enough to have access to the grocery store so I can get fruit and veggies and the ingredients to cook and pack my own food, but many if not most of the students here don't have that option and I think that is a crime.
  • Do you pack lunch for your kids and what do you pack?
  • I pack lunches for myself and a sample (what I packed yesterday) would be: sandwich with hummus, sprouts and cucumbers, homemade granola and greek yogurt, apple slices, homemade muffin and cherries for an afternoon snack (recipes for my granola and muffins are both on my blog!!)
  • What are some of your favorite lunch recipes (kid-friendly or adult-friendly)?
  • My favorite recipe right now is for my pumpkin cranberry muffins (which I had to improvise and make with mashed baked sweet potato since there is still no canned pumpkin in the stores). It uses no oil, no butter, and is super awesome for breakfast and snacks. Recipe is on my blog!
  • What are some great beverages for kids and adults?
  • My favorite beverage is making a pitcher of iced tea and then just keeping that in the fridge. I collected a couple of Snapple size bottles and I keep them clean and then just fill them with my own iced tea when I want it to take with me. Might be tough for kids where the glass bottles would break, but it is perfect for me to take $0.o5 worth of tea instead of paying $1.50 for an oversweetened bottle when I am out.
  • How much time should kids get to eat lunch?
  • My biggest issue right now is that I only get about 10 minutes to eat lunch in between classes and work and running around. I have turned into more of a grazer bringing small snack items to eat when I have time instead of a big lunch like when I was in an office.
  • What are some products that you use when you pack lunch?
  • I bought myself an insulated lunch bag and a little blue ice pack and a selection of tupperware containers in 1/2 cup, 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup sizes. That and my giant waterbottle covers me on a daily basis.
So that is just a little bit of info from an (untraditional) college student's perspective on the school lunch issue.