J500 Media and the Environment

Hey, there’s something wrong with your kid by marybethw
March 4, 2009, 5:17 pm
Filed under: Food + Health | Tags: , , , , ,

veggielunch2That kid? That was me. In kindergarten I gave my teachers cause for concern — at lunch I didn’t eat my meat. Oh, I’d eat all my veggies (well, probably not cooked spinach), no problem there. Therefore they were concerned and asked my parents if I was all right. That was really the last time I ate daily in a cafeteria until…college. Don’t get me wrong, my college’s cafeteria was fairly accommodating to veg eaters like me; but, at the same time, I ate a lot of cheese sandwiches (yeah, not vegan yet). It really wasn’t until my senior year, when they added more veg options and even had soy milk available, when I finally got more choices.

Unfortunately, many kids eating in our schools cafeterias still don’t have much of a choice. More to the point, though, they aren’t consistently given a choice of something without meat and/or dairy or something low fat, which has many negative results. Luckily, however, change may be a comin’. There are various groups working toward healthier lunches and child nutrition. This is also a reauthorization year for the Child Nutrition Act; luckily, if the USDAs suggestions are implemented, schools will be able to offer things like soy milk and fresh, local produce without a lot of added costs. And it’s not just elementary, middle, and high schools. Universities are starting to not only offer more veg options, but are even making their facilities more green! All of which will be welcome news to the growing numbers of vegetarian youth.

I never really regretted growing up (generally) cafeteria-free — especially during middle and high school, when it seems the worst horrors occur. Who knows, though, maybe it helped me keep eating my veggies. I can only imagine what my early teachers would say now that I don’t eat meat or dairy.

~ Mary Beth

Image from: http://mb.sparknotes.com/sparktalk.epl?y=10