Day 74: chili

Today’s menu: chili, nacho cheese (?!), tortilla chips, tater tots, apple (!), cookie (?), milk

The dearest, sweetest lunch lady offered me a choice today and so I took the alternative. Like I’ve said before, when I get a meal choice I usually take second option so that I can experience all of the meals at least once. Plus the main meal was the bagel dog and I just couldn’t do it. That was the meal that started me thinking about this project last Fall in the first place.

Notice how much stuff I’ve got on my tray today! I think I picked up too much from the line. I just go down the line and get out of there. So we’ve got the meat (chili), veggie (tater tots), fruit (apple), tortilla chips (grain), and cookie (grain). Reading over the nutritional requirements set forth by the USDA, I wasn’t able to decipher whether or not they had to offer the cookie so that there was another grain component. I think that schools are required to offer two grains. Can someone who knows these things comment on why I was served all of this food?

I’m fairly certain that the nacho cheese was a “bonus.” I abhor processed cheese, but I forced myself to dip a finger in and taste it. I was surprised to notice it was tangy in a very mildly spicy way. Branching out a little with spices? Still I just couldn’t dips chips into it. My sister loved vel*veeta as a child, but I was not into it. Processed cheese in liquid or solid form is absolutely not something I’m able to ingest without vomiting.

Apple! Yippee! 

***

Many of you have suggest that I watch “Food, Inc.” Ironically my husband rented it and watched it last year, but I passed. A few years ago I watched “The Future of Food,” which I highly recommend. Like so many movies in that same vein, I have to be in a particular mood and I have to gear myself up to watch these kinds of films. They linger with me for so long. I’ve got a lot of guts, but sometimes I just need a rest.

But I will watch “Food, Inc” at some point and report back to you.

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29 Responses to Day 74: chili

  1. Whitney May 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    It's really disturbing that a fried processed vegetable (that's BARELY a vegetable to begin with) counts as the "veggie" requirement. Equally disturbing is the cookie that's supposed to pass as a "grain" – I agree with Mrs. Q! Can someone explain that? And the processed cheese? Poor kids. Sure sounds better than a bagel dog though, more processing, more processing, more processing.

    Our bodies don't even recognize that as food!

  2. iStylista May 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    Looks yummy….
    oh I HATE processed cheese too! ugh….gross.

    "Food, Inc." was very educating. I suggest you watch it when you're ready.

  3. Anonymous May 6, 2010 at 11:18 pm #

    I'm current in high school, graduating soon, so from my point of view, I don't think schools are required to give two grains. At least mine personally. With most lunches though, they do give you one and you have the option to get bread if you'd like. With the cookie, I think it may be something that comes with the food program? I'm not sure if that's the right thing to say. But, if it's given to the school, they give it to you.
    I also had a chocolate chip cookie with my lunch today. =)

  4. Alyse May 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Food, Inc. was very great. There is another good movie. Killer at Large, its more about obesity but does focus on the processed crap people shove in their mouths.
    The Future of Food is on my amazon wishlist. 🙂

  5. zahirah.com May 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    Definitely watch Food, Inc. It's very enlightening, and I don't remember any parts that really turned me off to eating. It just helped educate me about the food choices I make. Like hunting down a farm that delivers pasture-raised chickens.

  6. Cove Girl May 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    You definitely have to be in the "right" mood to watch Food Inc. I watched it 2 weeks ago and it still haunts me.

  7. Cove Girl May 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm #

    You definitely have to be in the "right" mood to watch Food Inc. I watched it 2 weeks ago and it still haunts me.

  8. Maggie May 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Mrs. Q, you'd have to know which meal planning pattern your food service provider is following to be able to answer your question. Depending on that, yes, a cookie could count as at least a portion of a bread/grains serving. Contains flour, right? All info, for all meal planning patterns can be found on-line.

    I know, I know – whole wheat bread, made of wheat grown in the school garden and ground on site would be much better. *smile*

    I won't deny that for a moment. Just answering the question about the current regulations as best as I can.

    IS your concern is that the contractor is not fulfilling the legal requirements?

  9. Heather May 6, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    I suggest you watch "Food, Inc." this summer. You think you can't stand looking and eating this food now, it will be nearly impossible to eat it afterwards.

  10. amandaew2001 May 7, 2010 at 12:12 am #

    I believe that they have to serve two grains. We had soft tacos today with a finger roll. Many times throughout the year we will have bread and butter or finger rolls (a.k.a. breadsticks) with taco or nacho lunches. They also served us pears, corn, and a hashbrown today.

  11. Wise Take May 7, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Wow that looks awful! But this is a fun idea for a blog!

  12. Maggie May 7, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Food Inc is very informative. I am VERY turned off of meat right now, though, and I'm only halfway through it. Maybe you should wait to watch it until you're done with the project. I've been watching a lot of documentaries on food lately and I'm really starting to think more about what we are eating.

  13. Andrea May 7, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    Love your blog! I watched Food, Inc a couple of weeks ago and it has definitely changed my perspective on what I eat. One thing that struck me from the movie was that in the 1970's the market share of the top 5 beef producers combined was 25%. Now, today, the market share of the top 4 (yes,4) is 90%! That tells me that there is less organically grown meat being consumed in this country than ever before! I was never a proponent of the organic movement, but I am now after seeing this movie! It is a must watch!
    I am glad summer is coming as I am looking forward to buying locally grown produce and meat at our local farmers markets. I found organically raised, hormone free, vegitarian fed chicken meat at, of all places, WALMART a couple of days ago and although it was twice as expensive as the other chicken meat, I purchased it and plan to purchase it regularly. Now I just need to find a reliable (and reasonably priced) source of organic beef. Trader Joe's has it but it is really expensive so I will use it as a last resort. Organic eggs are pretty easy to find and I am hoping to find a regular source at the farmers market.
    Someone asked me today why I want to spend more on these products- if they were healthier for me and I said that I didn't know if they were healthier for me, but for sure it is healthier for the environment AND for the animals themselves. I don't want to support the giant food companies with my money anymore. I'd rather pay more to get locally grown, organic stuff from my neighborhood and support the little guy. JMO

  14. Sweet Virginia May 7, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    Another interesting series of programs is called "Blood, Sweat, and Takeaways" and has been shown on Planet Green recently.

  15. Stepshep May 7, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    I got Food Inc. on DVD for Christmas. No surprising or new information, but still a good watch. The Meatrix is a good internet series which is in the same vain as the whole "food indutry" related genre of media. A movie that was eye-opening was Coal Country, hit some bits I had never read of before. The Cove was a good one too. Sent you the USDA guidelines chart throught Twitter about minimum amounts of food groups needed.

  16. Rachel B. May 7, 2010 at 2:20 am #

    I was browsing the USDA's website a few weeks back and found the national lunch program is based on nutritional guideline of 1995! If you don't know, the nutritional guideline are update every five years. Why aren't we using 2005's? Here's the link: http://tinyurl.com/3429rr8 third one down.

  17. Jess May 7, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    All you have to do is mention Food, Inc. and everyone has something to say about it, so I'm going to be one of those people to pipe up. I would just warn you that, like all documentaries, this one uses a lot of scare tactics and questionable angles to stories. I think it's an incredible documentary and I do believe a lot of what it suggests, but I would say try to watch it as objectively as possible. Yes, there are disturbing issues raised and it makes you question every little thing you put in your mouth, but not even the film maker is a full-fledged vegetarian. It's about making smart choices and supporting the "good" guys in the industry and, more than anything else, simple, basic awareness.

    That's my two cents. Even if I don't join in all the time, I'm constantly checking up on this blog – I think what you're doing is great!

  18. Monica May 7, 2010 at 2:36 am #

    Yesterday a lot of folks were talking about how the kids don't eat the orange because it's too hard to peel. I wonder how many kids don't eat the apple, either, because they can't bite it? The littlest kids' mouths are just too small, and I know whole apples were definitely not allowed when I had braces. You had to slice them or you'd risk breaking the braces. It is NOT hard to provide sliced apples…if McDonald's can do it, the schools definitely can too.

  19. Roseanne Victor May 7, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    http://www.wlwv.k12.or.us/DistrictDepts/FoodService/NEW%20Brk%20Pri%20May%202010%20Menu.pdf

    Please check out the breakfast menu in my grandchilds school district. All the items are put on the tray there is no packaging. I hope you can see the menu. The nutrition goals are there too. We are so lucky.

    West Linn Wilsonville School District in Oregon

  20. e. May 7, 2010 at 3:13 am #

    Those tater tots don't look fully cooked!

  21. ashley schoolar May 7, 2010 at 3:15 am #

    Mrs. Q,
    I saw Food, Inc and was heavily disturbed, but that only fueled me into buying and cooking better food for my family. I have heard that Fresh is also a good movie, but in a different way than Food, Inc. The food today doesn't look as appetizing as it had been for the past several weeks. Not too much longer!

  22. Raul, Lily and Mason May 7, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    I really liked Food Inc. but i agree with everyone who said that it really makes you think about what you eat. Before i would not eat eggs that did not come from the store and packaged up, now all I eat is eggs that come from a local farm. Now i feel opposite store bought eggs make me feel sick to my stomach!

  23. Raul, Lily and Mason May 7, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    I really liked Food Inc. but i agree with everyone who said that it really makes you think about what you eat. Before i would not eat eggs that did not come from the store and packaged up, now all I eat is eggs that come from a local farm. Now i feel opposite store bought eggs make me feel sick to my stomach!

  24. Phil May 7, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Lunch choices, more than enough food AND a continuing streak of fresh fruit?…The lunches seem to be improving each week. 🙂

  25. Kayla May 7, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    When i went to elementary school (95-00) tater tots were always everyones favorite, and I remember the kids gathering around the lunch lady afterwards to get extra leftover tater tots. Which also reminds me that we didn't have these strange single-serving packaging-filled meals. Times have changed it seems!

  26. Anonymous May 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    The following is the link for the menu patterns that every school district can choose from that participate in the National School Lunch Program.

    http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/menu/menu_planning.doc

    The Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning Approach

    Under the Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning Approach, schools must comply with specific component and quantity requirements by offering five food items from four food components. These components are: meat/meat alternate, vegetables and/or fruits, grains/breads, and milk. Minimum portion sizes are established by ages and grade groups.

    The Enhanced Food-Based Menu Planning Approach is a variation of the Traditional Menu Planning Approach. It is designed to increase calories from low-fat food sources in order to meet the Dietary Guidelines. The five food components are retained, but the component quantities for the weekly servings of vegetables and fruits and grains/breads are increased.

    Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (sometimes called “NuMenus”) is a computer based menu planning system that uses approved computer software to analyze the specific nutrient content of menu items automatically while menus are being planned. It is designed to assist menu planners in choosing food items that create nutritious meals and meet the nutrient standards.

    The Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning Approach

    Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (sometimes called “Assisted NuMenus”) is a variation of Nutrient Standard Menu Planning. It is for schools that lack the technical resources to conduct nutrient analysis themselves. Instead, schools have an outside source, such as another school district, State agency or a consultant, plan and analyze a menu based on local needs and preferences. The outside source also provides schools with recipes and product specifications to support the menus. The menus and analyses are periodically updated to reflect any changes in the menu or student selection patterns.

    I hope this answers most of your questions.

  27. Barbara May 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Mrs. Q~

    I watched "Food Inc" and was horrified but better educated. Then I watched "Supersize Me"(laughable) followed by "FatHead"(some good info) and learned a bit more. There is so much WRONG information out there that it's difficult for the average consumer to know what is HEALTHY! We were taught to fear fat but low and behold fat is actually not so evil. Stayed tuned because the new studies on Carbs are going to be very interesting…

    It's always something….

    My humble .2

    B

  28. stephanie May 10, 2010 at 6:11 pm #

    Under the traditional food-based meal plan, you are required to offer a grain everyday, but over the course of the week you must have 8 grains. This means that some days, very unnecessarily, you have to have offered an extra grain. Yes, the cookie (since it is made out of flour) counts as a grain just like a brownie, a pretzel rod, etc. This is why you'll occasionally see something outlandish like a sandwich with a side of noodles or pasta with a roll. I'll let frogfarm continue to preach on the hazards of grains…

  29. Anonymous May 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I almost wonder if you took the tater-tots, which belonged to the bagel-dog, inadvertently. The tortillas were the grain for the nacho cheese, I believe. Most kids would have gotten one or the other…

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