I figured that we’d start out back to school look at what they’re feeding kids at schools these days. One third of US children are overweight (that’s one in three) and the obesity rate has more than tripled the last thirty years. What’s worse is obese children are more than 80% likely to become obese adults. Most would blame fast food from a fast paced life and sedentary laziness (from video games and t.v. and a complete lack of physical activity). All of this is part of the problem, but are kids getting better choices at school? I think not, potentially worse, with an array of non-identifiable meats, french fries, and utter lack of vegetables and fruit! School food is an over processed mess that is loaded with fat (the bad kind- polyunsaturated), sodium, and fructose corn syrup. Thirty percent of schools rarely offer (which doesn’t even mean they serve it, it’s the kids choice whether to grab the broccoli!) vegetables that does not include potatoes. The food is so over processed! A typical grilled cheese (which is still bad- refined flour and dairy) has 30 ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup. Beef and cheese nachos has 24g of fat and almost 1,500 milligrams of salts (seriously?). One slice of pizza and 20 fries contain 801.8 calories and 44.8 grams of “bad” fat (a typical diet is 2,000 calories or less, this is almost half!). Just look at this meal above. First you have the beyond greasy (it would probably take at least 2 napkins to soak up all the polyunsaturated fat) traditional rectangle pizza, with corn (high sugar grain), pretzel and cheese (refined flour, sodium, and abnormally yellow and over processed cheese), and chocolate milk (I don’t promote milk period, but flavored milk have an added 4 tsp of sugar, so if you drank two of these it would be like drinking 16 oz. pop. There is fruit there you say, but it’s syruped-sugary fruit that spikes your insulin even more than the pizza, corn and pretzel. You have a tray loaded with sugar and refined flour, with a high concentration of carbohydrates and virtually no protein. You almost better off eating fast food! McDonalds and Burger King have more rigorous meat checks and KFC won’t even use the chicken that they serve in schools (how sad is that?) Not only is the school bad but the other food sources they have aren’t any better. Nine out of ten schools offer a la carte which don’t even have to follow government regulations. Kids can load up on popcorn chicken, pretzels and cheese, nacho and cheese, mozzarella sticks, and more.Worst still is the presence of vending machines loaded with pop, candy, and potato chips! What’s disgusting is schools don’t want to band them because of the funding they provide. So kids are getting fatter at the cost of school funds. Vending machines provide 98% of money for public high schools, 74% of middle schools, and 43% of elementary schools. Still worse is that 75.8% allow advertising of candy, fast food restaurants or soft drinks on school property. Think of those scoreboards with the Pepsi logos (disgusting)! So if kids choose to eat school food their healthy options are limited. A lunch could be comprised of a pretzel and cheese with a pop and candy bar. What is good about this? The pretzel is refined carbohydrates that will spike insulin (plus all the sodium), then you dip it in over processed cheese (probably with a higher concentration of omega-6). Then you wash it down with cups of sugar to raise your insulin even more and you top it off with a sugary desert (and we wonder why diabetes rates are skyrocketing in kids!). They are getting virtually no protein in this meal (at least not any complete sources of protein), so they have nothing to feed or fuel their growing bodies and growth hormones. This is sick (it literally makes my stomach turn at thinking that this is what are kids are eating). School is supposed to be a place of learning, but really it’s counterproductive, when they’re being fueled with junk! Malnutrition actually compromises intelligence and academic performance. So pumping them with all this toxic poison is making them do worse in school. The long run is worse. Being overweight puts them at risk later on in life (and now because they’re susceptible now to diabetes) for cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, hypertension, gall bladder disease, liver disease, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol. What to do? Start your kids young! Don’t feed them grains, starches, and sugars (how can you crave something that you’ve never had, eating sugar after not having it for awhile, it is violently sweet and these kinds of food would probably make you sick). Start at home, though, don’t have it in the house and teach them the right way to eat. Prepare lunch ahead of time (just like you would prep your own food ahead of time). It takes just a little bit of time to plan and pack meals ahead of time.What to pack? Saturday we’ll post some sample menus and examples. If you want to take it further, challenge your school system (whether locally or at higher level like state). The first step is to be aware of the poisonous cafeteria food!