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Old 12-20-2009, 09:04 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
14,723 posts, read 17,045,521 times
Reputation: 18755
Default Backpack Lunches

The other day my local newspaper printed an article about a charitable organization which provides "backpack lunches" for children in poverty. The gist of the article was that these children experience a greater degree of hunger and that often, these care packages mean the difference between eating and not eating on the days when the children are not in school.

Now, those who know me well here on CD know that there is no love lost between me and America's youth, however, my philosophy is that if you are going to do something that you might as well do it right.

In the article they listed the ingredients of these backpack lunches. And frankly, it was pretty horrific for a purely nutritional point of view. They consist of "four canned meals containing meat, four gelatin and pudding cups, two bowls of cereal, two snack-size bags of Wheat Thins, two juice boxes, and two boxes of shelf-stable chocolate milk".

Just from what I know about processed foods, I can estimate that the sodium content of the products is most probably off the charts. The fat content, sugar content *and* the content of chemical preservatives, artificial flavoring and other ingredients is totally unacceptable.

I realize that it is unfortunate that people must live in hunger, but considering that the underprivileged in this country has the worst diet nutritionally of any of the socio-economic classes, wouldn't this be a golden opportunity to not only FEED the kids but TEACH them about good nutrition as well?

Couldn't they put in ONE STINKING APPLE? How about something GREEN? Maybe some roasted soy nuts, or something HEALTHY instead of junk to eat. Is it really better to feed them "just anything" to keep them from being hungry, even if the food they eat is NOT NUTRITIONAL and could end up hurting them more in the long run?

As a group of people who are interested in health and wellness, what are your opinions on this?

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-22-2009, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Texas
549 posts, read 898,192 times
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I think it's a great thing that organization is doing. I do agree with you about the nutrition aspect of it. It's not like any fresh fruits and veggies are going to go bad over the weekend. I think it is just easier for them to stock up their food pantry with non perishables.

I used to shop for Thanksgiving meals for needy families. They consisted of the same kinds of foods (not by my choice!): boxed mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, canned veggies. Ugh. I felt horrible buying the stuff. Those families appreciated anything they received though. Even crappy food is better than none at all.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:50 AM
 
3,387 posts, read 7,803,153 times
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I think your best chance about teaching is the young ones and in school and I know that a lot of the good stuff goes into the trash when they try with school lunches.

I had the same issue when our church took meals to the homeless and took a lot of hot dogs. They said they tried other things, good things, and people would turn it away. They wanted that garbage................

May be the kindergarten age is the only one you can reach. I imagine the good stuff would just get tossed by most kids.

I have some folks who help me care for my mother and they come from a different socioeconomic background and I offer to buy them anything they want to eat and encourage them to try the stuff I buy, but I can tell you that eyes roll when they try edamame, or whole wheat bread, or fresh fruit or brown rice, other good stuff.

One told me she LOVED fish but then she can't handle the fish the way I prepare it [broiled or baked]. Her idea of fish is breaded and fried. Period. Salad dressing - no wonder she buys the cheap stuff - she must put a half cup in each salad, where I use one tablespoon. I get queasy when she cooks her fatback. How do you counter that? About the only way I know would be to only allow fresh unprocessed foods to be bought with food stamps but you know the food company lobbies would get that killed in a heartbeat. Why else can you buy coke and other crap with that money?
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