Monday, December 13, 2010

As Child Nutrition Bill Becomes Law, White House Releases "Before & After" School Lunch Menu

In dreams begin responsibilities: Changing school lunch menus, one meal at a time...
In conjunction with President Obama signing the groundbreaking $4.5 billion Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act today at a special ceremony at Harriet Tubman Elementary School, the White House released a special "Before & After" weekly elementary school lunch menu. It's a comparison of meals that currently exist under National School Lunch Program meal guidelines, versus "Proposed" lunches under the new bill's framework.

It's supposed to give an idea of what a typical week of junky, high-fat, low-nutrition school lunches can look like after the new bill is fully enacted, in all its school garden, locally farmed, fresh fruit & vegetable glory--and using that crucial 6 cent per meal reimbursement boost that the new bill provides. The bill calls for more whole grains, low fat dairy products, low salt and sugar, and plenty of fresh produce.

"I think that our parents have a right to expect that their kids will be served fresh, healthy food that meets high nutritional standards," First Lady Michelle Obama said today, before her husband signed the bill into law (above).

"When our kids walk into the lunchroom, we want to be sure that they’re getting balanced, nutritious meals that they need to succeed in the classroom," President Obama said.

So under the *current* unhealthy school food ethos, Monday's Before Menu would be:

Bean and cheese burrito (5.3 oz)
with mozzarella cheese (1 oz)
Applesauce (1/4 cup)
Orange Juice (4 oz)
2% Milk (8 oz)

But under the new bill, Monday's After Menu is dazzlingly delish & nutrish, excellent fodder for any junior locavore:

Submarine Sandwich
(1 oz turkey, .5 oz low-fat cheese)
on Whole Wheat Roll
Refried Beans (1/2 cup)
Jicama (1/4 cup)
Green Pepper Strips (1/4 cup)
Low Fat Ranch Dip (1 oz)
Cantaloupe wedges, raw (1/2 cup)
Skim Milk (8oz)
Mustard (9 grams)
Reduced fat mayonnaise (1oz)

Tuesday's Before Menu:

Hot Dog on a bun (3 oz),
with ketchup (4 T)
Canned pears (1/4 cup)
Raw Celery and Carrots (1/8 cup each)
with Ranch Dressing (1.75 T)
Low-fat (1%) Chocolate Milk (8 0z)

Tuesday's After Menu:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (1/2 cup)
and Whole Wheat Roll
Green Beans, cooked (1/2 cup)
Broccoli (1/2 cup)
Cauliflower (1/2 cup)
Kiwi Halves, raw (1/2 cup)
Low-fat (1%) Milk (8 oz)
Low Fat Ranch Dip (1 oz)
Soft Margarine (5 g)

Wednesday's Before Menu:

Pizza sticks (3.8 oz)
with marinara sauce (1.4 cup)
Banana Raisins (1 oz)
Whole Milk (8 oz)

Wednesday's After Menu:

Chef Salad
(1 cup romaine, .5 oz low-fat mozzarella, 1.5 oz grilled chicken)
Low Fat Italian Dressing (1.5 oz)
with Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel (2.5 oz)
Corn, cooked (1/2 cup)
Baby Carrots, raw (1/4 cup)
Banana
Low Fat Ranch Dressing (1.5 oz)
Skim Chocolate Milk (8 oz)

Thursday's Before Menu:

Breaded beef patty (4 oz)
with ketchup (2 T)
Wheat roll (2 oz)
Frozen Fruit Juice Bar (2.4 oz)
2% Milk (8 oz)

Thursday's
After Menu:

Oven-Baked Fish nuggets (2 oz)
with Whole Wheat Roll
Mashed Potatoes (1/2 cup)
Steamed Broccoli (1/2 cup)
Peaches (canned, packed in juice – 1⁄2 cup)
Skim Milk (8 oz)
Tarter Sauce (1.5 oz)
Soft Margarine (5 g)

Friday's Before Menu:

Cheese pizza (4.8 oz)
Canned Pineapple (1/4 cup)
Tater Tots (1/2 cup)
with ketchup (2 T)
Low-fat (1%) Chocolate Milk (8 oz)

Friday's After Menu:

Whole Wheat Cheese Pizza (1 slice)
Baked Sweet Potato Fries (1/2 cup)
Grape tomatoes, raw (1/4 cup)
Low Fat Ranch Dip (1 oz)
Applesauce (1/2 cup)
Low-fat (1%) Milk (8 oz)

Hmm, looks good enough to eat, even if you're not, say, five to 12 years old. And it dramatically boosts the consumption of fruit and vegetables, a big goal of Mrs. Obama's campaign.

>Read the White House fact sheet about the bill [PDF]

>Download your own handy dandy White House menu revamp here [PDF]

Related: The full transcript & video of the President and First Lady's remarks at the ceremony is here. Following the bill signing, the White House released a document with quotes from a wide range of high-profile advocates lauding the bill; read the statements here. (Above: The President and First Lady during the bill signing)

*Top image from Let's Move!; photos by Lawrence Jackson/White House