I recently made a guest post on Fed up with School Lunch (thanks Mrs. Q!)- and as I was reading through the comments I realized there were a couple aspects of the ingredient transparency movement that needed to be addressed. So thanks to all who posted comments on my guest blog! I really appreciated the support and ideas.
What about getting the calorie content and other nutritional information?
Aramark actually added a cafeteria food nutritional calculator to their District 300 site shortly after I spoke at the board meeting. A few weeks later they presented it to the board, suggesting that they were giving me exactly what I was looking for. However, I made it very clear to them that that simply wasn't the case. It very well may be a law that they have to present nutritional information, but ingredients are not required.
Can I get the ingredient information directly from the cafeteria workers?
I don't know. I haven't asked. Simply because I do not want to create more work for them, or get any of them in trouble. Not only that, but I am a senior at my school. If I spent the time putting together a booklet of facts this year myself, who would do it next year? Who would see that the information was updated when a brand switched? This is a policy change that needs to be enacted to last.
If the school food is this bad, can't you bring a lunch from home?
Yes! And I do. It's difficult being a vegetarian and eating at school as it is, let alone trying to eat something that won't send me into a food-coma for the following hours. However, many of the students at my school do not have that choice. We have a very large population of lower income kids that either eat the lunch or don't eat at all. Ingredient transparency obviously won't solve the food-coma epidemic, but it is a step in illuminating the cause. And hopefully after we get the ingredients out there, the students who are making the choice to buy will start bringing instead. If Aramark saw a drop in sales, they would be forced to cater to those individuals who wish the see their meals high-fructose corn syrup free.