You're what you eat (Blog 7)

Eat Up Kids…

5,290 pounds of fat served a year in one school cafeteria

In 2009 I only saw like one episode of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. But I’ll never forget seeing all the husky White kids (is it racist of me to note it?) looking horrified as he puts 5,290 pounds of fat, of 100% lipids from butter, animal fat, and so on in this disposal container. That is the amount of fat served in


at the school.  In the cafeteria.  He picked the town and county because it was listed as the most obese region in the USA at the time.

In terms of food supply, I have to wonder how animal proteins and fats, which over the long course of human history are among the rarer of foods to eat, have become so CHEAP.  Most schools serve up crappy food because it is cheap.  And try going to grump property owners to pony up more money to feed the kiddies.  I try to get my 9 year old son and daughter to pack lunch every day.  One of them resists a lot.  He or she wants to buy more.  Call me a bad parent, but there comes a point when it is easier to simply give in.

On the bright side, Oliver and programs he set up seem to be making a difference.

The 2008 CDC report measured the adult obesity rate at 46% of the population, and while there is still work to be done, a new Gallup report shows that it has dropped to 36%. There is still a long way to go, but it’s a significant improvement. It’s a huge step in the right direction, and one that Huntington should be proud of! 

2 thoughts on “Eat Up Kids…

  1. We shift the villain in the dining hall every few years – sugar, fat, carbohydrates, ….. my sense is that the biggest fraction of the problem for that cafeteria before J.O. popped in was the processing. Not that it was merely high fat, but that it was high fat, high sugar, low fiber, and largely stripped of vitamins all together in combination. It’s not going to be a one-bullet pre-packaged solution, but as Jamie attempted, actually cooking things (as opposed to just reheating stuff from the lowest bidder / free from the government surplus) that’s the needed change. But that’s difficult to implement, especially when tasty boxed options than 9 year olds prefer are available!

  2. I’d like to play off of the “lowest bidder” line in the comment by Margot Vigeant. As a chemical engineering senior, I am always learning how important the economic profitability behind a process is to the bottom line. Financial restrictions are everywhere, especially in public schools and unfortunately dining hall options have been suffering.

    There is hope for dining halls that are willing to put in some effort! I am currently taking a course in applied food science and engineering. Several weeks ago I had an assignment that required the production of a healthy scone. Yes, I said it, a healthy scone. Surely, if you are anything like the college student that I am, you have consumed a scone or two and you probably looked away from the nutrition facts while devouring the sugar and fat filled pastry. I did too! That is, until I learned that with understanding the chemistry behind each ingredient and its role in the final product, substitutions can be made. In completion of the assignment, my team’s healthy scone had 50% reduced fat, 50% reduced saturated fat, and 50% reduced cholesterol as compared to a typical scone [1]. I did it, cafeteria ladies can too!

    The issue, as it has been explored in several blog posts in the Blog 7 Assignment on this WordPress, is education. If schools across the country understand how applesauce can substitute for oil [2], how honey can be substituted for sugar [3], and how parchment paper is better than grease lathered pans then students may start to have a fighting chance against the obesity tidal wave that is consuming the United States. To all the public schools of America, you can be healthy while on a budget – you just have to try.

    [1] “Chocolate Chip Scones Recipe.” Taste of Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2013.

    [2] Mandi. “Quick Tip: Substitute Apple Sauce for Oil.” Food Your Way RSS. N.p., 04 Feb. 2011. Web. 12 Sept. 2013.

    [3] McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Scribner, 2004. Print.

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