An astonishing number of parents are not going to provide nutritious (or any
other kind of) lunches for their kids; hence, the school lunch program. Many
schools also have free or subsidized breakfast for kids because so many come
with empty stomachs. I have had breakfast with grandchildren at their school in
a low-income area. Many poor neighborhoods have no decent produce in their local
markets, partly because kids aren't being taught to eat it. Our schools
need to educate children -- and parents, if possible -- regarding good
nutrition. People who prepare lunches for kids need to learn ways of making
good food look and taste good (it's an art). Kids need good eating time
supervision and encouragement from volunteers and the coolest school staff.
Left to themselves, kids will waste food and eat junk. Your snide political
remarks, Ms. Parker, are inappropriate here. We should all be working together
to help kids eat better and exercise more. Parents, of course, should lead the
effort, but many, unfortunately, are not adequately informed, equipped, or
I'm tired of the racial overtones & GOP bashing when others don't
buy into the Obama's & liberal pathetic agenda. There's no war on
women or children by the GOP & if there were, blacks like me wouldn't
support the GOP. If, as a businessman, my company produced substandard products
like the Obama's & liberals consistently does,it'll fold or go
bankrupt. When the left does it, one million excuses for the failure surfaces
& eventually, & blames the Republicans or President Bush. Obama's
been in office six years & still riding the same old "dead horse"
namely "blame Bush." If MIchelle Obama's lunches are that terrible,
give her tips how it can be better. If it's bad it's bad regardless
who points it out. Let's rise above the pettiness and try to offer valid
suggestions. Republicans will continue to criticize the Democrats work just as
they will criticize the GOP's work. They will almost always be on the
opposite end of issues thus; politics happen.
"We can't all have a chef or send our children to private schools with
meatier lunches, as the Obamas do."Isn't envy a sin in
conservative circles, Ms. Parker?
It would be a needed and positive step for parents to take more responsibility
for the nutrition of their own children. Or, how about parents insisting that
CHILDREN make their own lunches with oversight from parents? What could be a
better way to teach children about food and nutrition? Kids love hands on
projects! Let's get big, bloated, expensive and ever expansive government
out of our local school cafeteria! Slim, trim, and healthy can apply to school
lunch AND the Federal Government. As it should.
"We can't all have a chef or send our children to private schools with
meatier lunches, as the Obamas do. "That says it all. These
arrogant know it all liberals make rules for everyone else but they never have
to live under their own tyranny.
Parents could help tremendously with this if they would not only fix their
children's lunches, but involve the children in fixing them. My
granddaughter now knows how to read labels on cans and jars at the store, she
looks up calories on line with me, she has become much more aware of what she
his eating and the cost to her body. We also completed our first 5K walk the
first of May. So she is also more active. Parents! The school can't fix
this by themselves. Our children must eat better and exercise more. They have
to do both! Take some time and go for a walk with your children, it will be
good for you also. Interesting, when you watch Biggest Loser, most of the
heaviest parents, have overweight children. Be careful the message you send to
Love the article! I agree. Mrs. Obama's goal is a worthy one BUT I
believe that some wiggle room is needed. I have seen a lot of waste as well.
The lunchroom should not be another source of government waste. We need to
allow the local communities to adjust the menu while choosing versions of local
favorites that have less fat, salt, and sugar. I have to say, the WORST
hospital food I ever tasted was in a suburb of Illinois. (I was recovering from
delivering my second son.) The hospital nutrition ladies brought in fabulous
looking meals. Unfortunately, they were all low fat, low salt, low sugar.
Other than the protein item, I could barely distinguish the flavor of the other
items from the bland dessert. Of course, that may be how they get people to
The overreach continues.
I have eaten many of Michelle's dumpster-worthy school lunches. I
understand the school lunch program was implemented after WW!(?) as soldiers in
the draft were to skinny for battle. I don't know when school breakfast
came on the scene. I wonder if the "who should be responsible
for our children's lunches" debate in the US is a "chicken or the
egg" argument? Do kids eat school lunch just because it's there, or do
kids really need it? In rural areas, I bet parents use it out of convenience
more than necessity, urban areas, kids really do go hungry. I grew
up in Canada. Until Hight school, our only option was the brown bag from home.
Then it was cool if you had money in your pocket to BUY something from the High
School cafeteria - cinnamon roll Monday, Chocolate chip cookie Tuesday, and
meals that were delicious, abundant and worth the MONEY we paid. There were no
subsidies or free lunch. It was a for-profit program for the school to pay its
cafeteria expenses and earn some $$ for the school besides.
Seems to me if parents took care of THEIR responsibilities and fed THEIR
children nutritious food, the onus wouldn't be on the schools or
government to do THEIR jobs!Also,if the kids are given healthy food at school
and refuse it,they'll soon get over their spoiled little tantrums when they
get hungry enough...parents need to be parents or don't have kids!
Kathleen Parker you have lowered yourself to the same level of stupidity of the
GOP. At all cost and no matter what the issue is disagree with anything and
everything the President and his party does. How can anyone in there
right mind object to good nutrition? Then there is the GOP who is suppose to
support Good Old Fashion Values. Well??? Isn't making kids eat healthy food
"Good Old Fashion Values"? Caving into to children and letting them have
their way with a nutritious meal is not "Good Old Fashion Values".Come on Kathleen pick your battles but don't lower yourself to such
I am astounded that Republicans/right wingers have their knickers in a twist
about Mrs. Obama's effort to promote better eating and exercise. They has
mocked this effort, tried to turn it into a nefarious activity, and otherwise
bad mouthed Mrs. Obama and her cause. I really don't know what is the
point of Parker's op-ed piece here, except to perhaps knock it in a more
discrete way. The fact that commenters here are saying stuff like
"liberals... tyranny" and take other cheap shots speaks to the petty,
negative and self-loathing cynicism of the right wing. Mrs. Obama's cause
is no different than Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign (which
was pretty weak with little follow-through) or Laura Bush's literacy
campaign. All of these efforts have been about enhancing the lives of Americans
and helping educate folks. There is nothing wicked, evil or coercive about any
of it. Spare us the drama.
My issue with this argument is the same issue I have with a lot of arguments.
Everybody wants to complain that their children hate school lunches, but nobody
wants to do anything about it. For the same price my children would pay to eat
school lunch all week I can provide a balanced lunch from home including all of
the food groups necessary. My kids help make it so they know what their getting.
We're all happy. While I know this isn't a possibility for all, it
would definitely cut down on waste for most. For those who must eat school
lunch every day, and the parents who support them, start coming up with ways to
fix it. Adjustments can and should be made to provide healthy, affordable meals
to children. Childhood obesity runs rampant and part of the reason is people
would rather complain than get up and do something about it. Perhaps if we
encourage people to stand up we could solve two issues; lack of exercise and
michelle:"let them eat cake".
We spend billions on obesity awareness and cafeteria lunches that kids
won't eat. Why not go backwards in time? I graduated in the 70's and
my yearbook shows few overweight students. I see three differences in lifestyle:
Mandatory PE, real cooking classes, and sack lunches. My children
stopped having mandatory PE after 7th grade. High school PE was reserved for
varsity sports. Kids need mandatory PE including some non competitive sports
options.My children had the option of taking "teen living".
The cooking class had a budget for food prep like microwave popcorn, ramen
noodles, and jello. Well equipped kitchen areas were practically untouched due
to no food to cook. They need to learn to cook real food.My children
could pack a lunch rather than eat in the cafeteria if they liked. It was often
tastier than cafeteria food. Too expensive? Why not a 15 minute period before
school where kids can pack a sandwich, fruit, and veggies to be eaten later plus
a voucher for milk. At least they would probably eat it.We need to
stop advocating and start providing workable solutions.
For an interesting school lunch cultural "compare and contrast" homework
exercise, try viewing Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" program on
his visit to Lyon, France (the series is on endless rotation on CNN, so the
episode will come around again). Bourdain has lunch in a French elementary
school. The menu is four-star, healthful, with fresh local ingredients,
prepared and individually served by a cook who dines with the students. The
plates are spotless at the end. I can't say that this is representative of
all French schools (Lyon has a foodie tradition) but, in concert with the fuss
about French parenting awhile back, it speaks to the fact that children are not
inherently fussy eaters who will only consume fast food or packaged convenience
foods. They are taught both good and bad eating habits. Bringing it back to
Ms. Parker's column, I suspect the French kids eat well at home and it
translates to accepting good food at school. In the US, I suspect too many
parents default to pizza and Hot Pockets for meals at home. Their kids are
naturally going to reject grilled asparagus with saffron couscous at school.
The conservative bashing of the First Lady for trying to get kids to eat more
nutritious meals is especially mendacious. I don't know why trying to get
kids to eat vegetables has becone a controversy--oh wait, I do. It's
because Michelle Obama did it and anything an Obama does is going to make
Republicans freak out. If Laura Bush had done it (as she did with literacy)
everyone--both liberal and conservative would have praised her beyond measure
but because her last name is Obama the GOP go haywire and use terms like
"fascism" as though they never took a government class. After all,
wasn't that Mussolini's first step? Getting the Italian kids to eat
This is really very simple. If I, Joe Q. Taxpayer, am going to subsidize food
fed to children, and the choice is healthy food or junk food, I will opt for
healthy food every time. I don't serve my own kids at home junk food, why
in the world would I serve junk to someone else's kids. If the kids
aren't eating it, then its time for adults to take charge and start
teaching the kids about the difference between good food and bad food.
There's a reason the kids aren't in charge. Its time for adults to be
"Food is love". I'll write that one down. I will also add
"gastro-fascism" to my vocabulary. Whole wheat tacos in the Southwest
and no fried chicken in the South, not common sense. Children have under
developed taste buds. I hated broccoli then. Didn't Elvis thrive on
peanut butter and bananas? In reality, this isn't about nutrition. It is
all about control and "one size fits all". The info on "added
dumpsters" is frankly horrifying. Actually, children could live on French
fries and pizza. The adults of today did it fine.
It seems that we cannot legislate good parenting. That makes a solution even
more difficult for Washington. Perhaps bigger government is not the answer to
Wow, Ms. Parker really has to stretch to make Mrs. Obama look bad in this
one.Just another example of the GOP
anti-anything-Obama-all-the-time.Obama could cure cancer and the GOP
would complain that he's taking jobs away from the chemotherapy drug
I got a stunning, never heard of idea for y'all:Let's let
Mom make the lunch and the kids can take it to school!! WOW!! Think of the
money that will save the schools and they could then raise the salaries of the
Principals and Superintendents. WOW!!! What a deal, right?Mom's take care of your kids; not the government! you do a MUCH better
A teacher friend says it breaks his heart to see the kids being given nearly
half the food that they had before. The kids complain they are still hungry.
Only a small percentage of the kids are overweight in his middle school, so why
punish the others who are often playing sports after school...and going through
growth spurts!! Government's one size fits all applications fail over and
over. Why doesn't the government take the feedback and change? Because
ideologues are impervious to feedback.How can there be droves of
"school nutritionists" people who have gone to college and graduated
with a science degree in nutrition - and have had those original school lunches
be non-nutritious? The problem now is that they have "requirements"
which end up making the food taste terrible. In the Los Angeles School
district they pre-tested the new official lunches, and had positive results, but
when the cafeterias actually made the meals, they were not the same, and the
kids rejected them. (This is the same school district notorious for spending 1
billion dollars to build ONE new high school. )
We have raised generations of people who have avoided or not taken Home Ec or
Shop classes. There are generations who do not know how to cook, period. They
are dependent upon fast food and convenience food items for their diet. The
present situation is the result, semi- to totally helpless adults and children
who are unable to function in a world of raw materials such as food and tools
and basic materiel with which to feed, clothe and house themselves without some
form of government intervention.From about 6th grade on through high
school I fixed my own breakfast, hot or cold cereal, sandwiches for lunch all
through high school and a lot of college. I learned to do so because I had to,
or it wouldn't have happened in my home.I have worked in a
school lunch program and the food is high caloried and very sugary.This is a local problem - school lunch, let the local schools deal with it
without Federal Control Freaks getting involved.
In my view the problem is not trying to get America's children to eat
better, the problem is FORCING them to eat foods they would rather not eat. The
problem is FORCING schools to comply with unreasonable federal mandates as
imposed by the First Lady, who holds no elected office. The problem is when
schools are FORCED to throw away lunches made at home because they do not meet
the federal government's unreasonable and ludicrous "guidelines."
We need to put PE and recess back into schools (the elementary school my
children attended did not have recess or allow the students to play outside
during the lunch period, so they sat ALL DAY! Obesity is a problem not just in
the U.S., but throughout the world. Education and encouragement will go a lot
farther than force.
Instead of name calling, why don't those who favor Mrs. Obama's plan
address the concerns raised by the article. And if anyone is calling Mrs. Obama
names, please make the conversation constructive. If we would do that, then the
Deseret News could accomplish what they try to do but fail.
To all the name-calling posters who favor Mrs. Obama's program, please
don't misrepresent the article or the GOP or Mrs. Parker or those who
express concern of the 'forced' program with no local latitudes. The
article gives good points that need change consideration. Please focus on the
talking points and offer rebuttal to those if you have any. Imagine, if you
will, what constructive conversation from your point of view might contribute.
Being in favor of every aspect of Mrs. Obama's program just because she is
Mrs. Obama is no more helpful than being against her program just because it is
authored by Mrs. Obama. Don't be guilty of the very thing you complain
It's funny that liberals get their knickers all in a twist when someone
doesn't agree with the O's
"We can't all have a chef or send our children to private schools with
meatier lunches, as the Obamas do."The comment was not about
envy, but pointing out the lack of meat in the program. Not everyone is a vegan.
Her idea had good intentions, but they need to be refined and
relaxed a bit.
No one objects to Michelle "SUGGESTING" and speaking about healthy
eating for kids. What we DO OBJECT to is the mandating and forcing from the
federal government that requires kids to eat this way in public school. There
have already been cases in public grade schools where a child's sack lunch
was confisgated by the "food police" because it contained a Twinkie.
This actually happened. The Obama's only understand FORCE - there is no
choice. Also liberals ALWAYS think they know best and they REMOVE choice - the
choice of the parents. When Hillary spoke about "it takes a village"
people didn't realize she actually meant that the village will take the
place of the parents in choosing how to raise their kids. This is NOT America.
This is more akin to Communism. Again this is all about the progressive mind set
vs the freedom that we have all lived ...up to this point at least. The more
progressives create laws the less freedom we each have....but after all
progressives know best how we should think - eat - dress - etc.... Right? The ironic thing is liberals pump their chests and talk about the right
to "choose" an abortion.
Nowhere in the laws of the land, including the Constitution, is the Federal
government granted the right to dictate what citizens eat or drink. Remember,
the federal government is restricted to rights explicitly granted by the
constitution.The best approach is to teach good principles and let
people govern themselves. The heavy-handed, intrusive regulation advocated by
liberals should not be a part of American government.Don't try
to pull the general welfare clause on this one. "General" refers to the
nation as a whole, and "welfare" means well-being, as in safety,
freedom, and prosperity. It is not a reference to the "welfare"
programs as we call them today.
Anyone out there believe that Michelle Obama's 2 girls eat the same lunch
that her pushiness decreed in hundreds of thousands of schools all across
America?Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?.....'Nuf said.
@ Screwdriver - Casa Grande, AZ - "We can't all have a chef or send our
children to private schools with meatier lunches, as the Obamas do."
Isn't envy a sin in conservative circles, Ms. Parker?"Screwdriver, yes, envy is a sin.However, what Ms. Parker said is
not "envy". It's "fact".Not everyone can
afford a private chef. Period.Now, having settled that, I'll
tell you what is a sin: misrepresenting someone else when you know danged well
what they mean. Not cool.
We do not need the wives of presidents telling us what to do, how to think or
championing whatever it is they happen to be interested in. They were not
elected to make policy or implement policy. Michelle Obama and Kathleen Parker,
you are not our mothers! Focus on your own families and for heavens sake, leave
the rest of us alone, enough already.
All this GOP bashing. What did they say to bash Michelle Obama's program?
Where did the source come from? Put their complaints in writing in order for all
to see and make educated decisions. All about control seems to be the problem
just as it was when Hilary and her followers wanted every parent to work and all
the children to be under the control of the state: "It takes a
community!" Fascisms running amuck as we sit around an wait for it. We need
to stop bloviating and get things done. Let the states take care of their state
and the Federal government assist when states ask.....sovereignty?
Everyone agrees that having healthy food is a worthy goal (but many in the GOP
don't like to see such a good idea coming from Michelle Obama). From the
health care bill to healthy lunches, some conservatives don't like to admit
that the Democrats and our President and his wife have good ideas for our
country. If the food is being wasted that certainly isn't their problem
(and if people don't like their health care bill, they certainly have the
right to get their own plan through work or wherever it is available to them.
But I have a health care plan that I didn't have for seven years through
the ACA and I encourage my grandkids to eat healthy meals and not to through it
away at school and I am happy with our President and his wife and feel lucky
And now you are complaining because the President of the United States of
America sends his kids to private school (where the environment is more
controlled), and has a cook? This is the President, for crying out loud, not
your neighbor. All this ruckus because Mrs. Obama wants kids to eat better and
exercise more. I'm telling you, the right wing has lost its marbles.
You do realize that Mrs. Obama does not mandate anything? She is the
spokesperson for a program she helped develop and strongly supports. But she
did not mandate it. Anymore than Laura Bush mandated that preschoolers should
be read to or Nancy Reagan mandated "Just Say No."
When my kids were signed up on the school breakfast and lunch programs, they
needed them. I needed for them to use those to help me feed them properly--years
ago. It allowed me to use the food assistance program better, so they could eat
even more nutritiously at home, even though I didn't always eat--and still,
I spent more than my allotment for food. Junk food? It would have been cheaper.
I had health challenges, so was not a candidate for work, but could see that
they got what they could--not to take advantage in a bad way, but so that when
they grew up, they would be the healthy adults who could have meaningful lives,
both for themselves and the world around them. I would imagine that many a
parent has done the same, and for the same reason.
Thank you Ms. Parker for pointing out the easily attainable middle ground. While
it is important that our children eat nourishing foods and learn good eating
habits I think that the real problem lies with the lack of direction at home.
Home is where I learned to cook and where I learned basic nutrition-supplemented
by what I learned at school. I was taught to cook and safe food handling
procedures by my Mom and she saw to it that I had plenty of practice. But she
also made it fun. She never looked at cooking and feeding people as a chore-it
was a cherished honor and many came to our home to enjoy her culinary skills.
Her granddaughter, my daughter is now a mother and she is also a professional
chef. I have delighted in watching her teach her little ones how to use a knife,
how to make a sandwich and how to make salads and yes, cookies; Madi (6) and
Zach (3) love to be in the kitchen....it is all in how you perceive your job as
I agree with distant thunder. My grandchildren complain of not enough to eat at
school. No seconds are allowed. Growing children need more food than they are
being allowed at school. It has started teachers reminding children to bring a
snack for the afternoon and they take time out for it. I hate to see children
being hungry at school. Not easy to think on an empty stomach. I don't
know of any overweight children in the elementary schools around here.
Re: the many suggestions from rugged individualists that parents have their kids
make their own lunches -- I'll get right on that, just as soon as my wife
and I overcome our constant exhaustion, our oldest is cured of autism, our
almost-4th grader beats her long-standing incontinence challenges, our
6-year-old grows out of her speech delays, and all 3 of them unilaterally
disavow further resistance to doing homework & chores, eating healthy food,
practicing good personal hygiene and going to bed on time.What world
do you folks live in?
“I'm employing hyperbole in the service of a point”Not exactly Kathleen, you’re employing hyperbole in the service of
ultimately pointless whining in which “Conservatives” routinely
indulge. “ . . .our nation's diminishing sentience . .
.” I agree there. The upsurge of “Conservatism” in this
nation has retarded the ability of many citizens to think coherently. Critical
thinking has been supplanted by the uncritical acceptance of
“Conservative” ideology.“Moreover, the kids detest
the food and are tossing their lunches, so to speak, into the
dumpster.”Do you think this might have anything to do with
“Conservative” adults encouraging such behavior to make a point?Teaching unacceptable social behavior and ruining the physical and
emotional health of children is a small sacrifice if the end result might
somehow hamper the evil Federal Government.The School Lunch program,
subsidized by the Federal Government, has fed millions of children. Where I grew
up, almost all the kids bought a lunch ticket and ate school lunch.It was just more convenient. Today, when working mothers are juggling
multiple responsibilities, declaring them lazy for not preparing a lunch for
their children is not something any legitimate journalist would do.
The Spanish Fork Chamber of Commerce introduced a program called Unplugged this
summer. It is to get kids off their computers, ipads, etc and get them out and
moving. There are lots of activities for them to do and they get tags for their
lanyards, enabling them to win prizes, etc. I have already seen many families
out and about doing these activities and they are having a great time and
learning about their community. That's a good way to get kids (and
parents) moving and having fun in a productive way.
It's kind of a shame when you look at school lunches in other countries and
then see ours. It's awful. We are making things too complicated. Some food
it getting thrown away in some places. Before this was implement kids threw food
away. It happened before cafeterias were built in schools and kids brought lunch
from home. We need to go back and make a sensible sandwich with some fruit and
veggie side options, milk. Before the rules Cheetos were given as past of a
Seems like the reason the righties have their knickers in a twist is that Mrs.
Obama is "forcing" their kids to eat certain food. Number 1, Mrs. Obama
isn't forcing anything. She can't pass laws or regulations. She can
suggest, she can cajole, but she can't make laws. Number 2, your kids are
not being forced to eat anything. Only thing is, if you want to eat the
government prepared food, it's going to be nutritious. Don't like it,
don't eat it.