Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Processed foods still dominate school lunches

Schools and education experts say providing healthier entree options comes down to how to most easily meet nutrition guidelines and cost.

“I’d love to have full-cut chicken breasts, instead of pre-formed,” Hillsboro food director Tracy Collins said. “But the price point, it’s just not affordable.”

An educator from the University of Illinois Springfield said such lunch tray fare is all too common among American schools, despite highly visible pushes to get school children eating healthier.

“The biggest factor is the nutritional guidelines,” said Allan Cook, an associate professor of teacher education at UIS. “They tend to encourage pre-processed food, rather than locally grown, locally prepared.

“The guidelines say ‘vitamin A,’ instead of broccoli. Unless you have a nutritionist on staff, it’s a lot easier to go by the labels.”

Cook was featured in an October 26, 2011, article in The State Journal-Register.

Read the article online