In the last post I discussed L.A. Unified’s failed first attempt at introducing “healthy” menu items into the school lunch program. Not only have school kids rejected dishes like black bean burgers and quinoa salad, but a black market junk food trade has cropped up as a result. And my response is…yeah, no kidding.

Listen, I can appreciate the attempt by a large institution like the L.A. Unified School Lunch Program to combat obesity, diabetes and other illnesses by introducing healthy foods–but black bean burgers? C’mon! I was fortunate enough to be raised on health foods, as my mother was a health nut back when it was considered real weird, and I still wouldn’t eat any of that yuck they’ve tried serving to those kids.

It’s not that there is anything wrong with those foods, but there is a severe misconception as to what “healthy” is, and what it is not. Vegetarianism is not automatically healthy, nor is meat eating unhealthy–that notion is utter nonsense! However, some people believe just that–and L.A. Unified has sure tried jumping on that bandwagon. Here’s some advice for school boards: Only vegetarians will eat purely vegetarian. Duh! Take a poll at the very least.

Further, mass produced anything is not healthy. When multiple people handle food, the health-factor diminishes progressively with each set of hands involved. And add to that a variety of preparation styles, and…well L.A. Unified is getting to see the result. It’s pretty hard to mess up a burger, but chicken curry? Ha ha ha…

Now in the last post I stated that my words would likely provoke some people that feel school lunches are an inalienable right–and maybe they are–but I never ate them as a child. Why? Because they were disgusting…at least to my palate.

And I won’t subject my children to that mess either. Instead, my mom made us bagged lunches–sandwiches, fruit and an occasional cookie. In high school I would sometimes sell my sandwiches to classmates. They loved them, and they would beg me to sell daily. They loved them for one simple reason: My mom’s bagged lunches were delish. She took the time every evening before the next school day to prepare them, and yeah, sometimes I wished I could have the yuck they were selling at the high school cafeteria–but not very often.

So if you care about your child’s health and nutrition, bag their lunch every day. If it’s just too hard (I know, I know–my mom was a single parent, too, who worked full time to make ends meet–and she bagged our lunch anyway), then keep sending your kids to the school lunch line. Maybe school lunch programs will get it right one day.

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