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Food Fight: Are LAUSD's New School Menus Worth Cheering For?

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(Photo by via the chidorian on Flickr)
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Last year's movement to change LAUSD's school lunches was a bit of a failure to say the least, but the District claims that they've remedied the issue, launching a new menu with today's start of the school year.

Says the Daily News:

"After last year's failed experiment with exotic vegetarian fare, LAUSD has revamped its lunch menu with healthful dishes that officials hope will also appeal to the kids' palates. Instead of unexpected dishes such as hummus and chick-pea stew, cafeterias will be serving up pulled-pork sandwiches, hamburger sliders, whole-grain spaghetti and meatballs and the like."

David Binkle, interim director of the district's Food Services Division, says he wants to teach kids about "eating healthy and eating right," but are sliders really the answer? Do two slices of commercially grown tomatoes sitting on a couple shreds of lettuce really count as a salad? And how much change can really be made when all the District's food is still being made off-site, and then being shipped to campus.

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Without a serious shift in the way LAUSD food service operates -- like allowing knives or actual cooking on-site -- there's really no way truly healthful food is going to taste good. According to an L.A. Times story, the problem with last year's new menu was due to mass production, not in the recipes or the ideas itself. As one of our earlier stories stated:

"When the district tested out the menu, it found that 75 percent of students liked the food, but the food at the taste-test did not have translate well to mass production. One student the Times spoke with Andre Jahchan, a 16-year-old at Esteban Torres High School, said the food was "super good" at the tasting but it was super gross on campus: the chicken pozole was watery, the vegetable tamale was burned and the noodles were soggy."

While it may be a good intention and a step in the right direction, until a serious shift is made in the school lunch system, our kids will remain sick and fat.

Also:
The School Lunch Follies: LAUSD Lauds Themselves For Agreeing Pizza is A Vegetable
LAUSD Students Hate New Award-Winning, Healthy School Lunches, Black Market for Cheetos and Ramen Springs Up
Beefing Up the Veggies, Banning the Candy Milk: Is the LAUSD Actually Saving School Food Today?
All The School Board President's Men: The LAUSD's Spin Control Machine Gets an "F" for Food Services
What's for Lunch at the LAUSD? Certainly Not Oliver's 'Food Revolution.'
All Jamie Oliver coverage