My girlfriend was complaining that schools serve junk food to the kids for lunch. They are so used to eat “useless” food that when they return home from daily school, don’t even want to hear about the “real food” their mom, my girlfriend prepares.
She was telling me that her girlfriend in Italy commented that when her kids are in school (Italian schools that is) eat as adults do and the school menu looks the same as a restaurant menu, but I think it has to do a lot with our culture.
In Italy food is an integral part of our daily life, we get up in the morning and already think of what to eat for dinner. That gives us plenty time for planning the daily meals, go to the market and buy the food needed for the day.
Yes, we go to the market every day as Italians eat fresh food daily and not from the freezer, or pre-made, processed food prepared a year ago and sold in styrofoam packages, with a plastic film on top.
In America, au contraire of Italians, I have observed a huge disconnection from food. American “real food” is good, tasty, nutritional, colorful, which says a lot when people eat food in all the colors, yet Americans have opted for fast food and for days empty of cooking, as if cooking is beneath them (sorry, but I had to say this).
In my circle of friends and clients, I know many people who don’t cook and don’t even know how to boil water.
I also know many people who take the time to get up at 4:00 am to go to the gym until 6:30-7:00 am before tackling their day.
They do find the time to exercise, but have no time for cooking and eating well. I see no point of working the muscles to a statuesque perfection when the stomach is full of junk food.
The first death happens in the stomach! Just so you know.
I am including a link to an interested article I read about the artificial preservatives and color dyes in many junk food.
OK, enough of that!
Kids should be educated at home first. I don’t think it is a good practice to give in to any kids’ requests. Kids will try anything to bend the parents to a nice sculpture and most of the time they will succeed. Parents are their kids’ managers, but often it is the other way around in America.
In my Italian family, when I was in the age I had no say so about anything, as in many of my friends’ families, there was no choice of food. We ate all that our moms prepared and if we didn’t like it, too bad, we went hungry. There was no alternative, no other choice and no junk food either. Our parents did that for our good, not to be abusive. Food in Italy is perceived as our friend and not our enemy that makes us loses time. It is not just perceived, it is respected, it is loved, appreciated and not wasted. That’s why kids in Italy will never eat from a kids’ menu, not in restaurants, not in the family, not in the school.
I have young nieces and nephews, they are a different generation, but their mom, my sister, taught them the same as our parents taught us about food. Equally, I can say about the young cousins in my family, when we sit at the table, we all eat the same food.
Bare in mind, this is not only the Italian people’s prerogative; I have seen the same attitude towards food in many cultures too, except in America. Here people have embraced a fast culture and don’t have time for food and cooking, the most important fuel for our brain. My question is: what do they have time for?
Unfortunately, in America, due to this mentality of everything fast, kids are treated as a non-important class, when it comes to food.
Why do they have to be fed so badly with junk food in the growing stage, the most important time of their life?
Kids will be the future managers of our society, we have a responsibility not to grow sick flowers!
Schools are expensive. For the money parents pay to send their kids to school, they should be able to get at least one healthy meal a day in return, but they don’t.
Parents should be able to count on schools not only to educate on academics, but to educated their kids on nutrition and cooking to provide them with the knowledge that will contribute to their life time good health. Sport, cooking and nutrition should be obligatory subjects to take, no excuse and while we are in this subject, teach kids also how to get closer to earth and grow natural food.
In the future and I strongly believe this, people who know how to grow food from seeds, who know how to make breads, pasta and know how to eat with vegetables, people who know how to preserve food will be the survivors.
Please, parents make your own battle against bad food in schools, let your voice be heard and if schools don’t have the right person with the right knowledge of food, find that person.
Remember when your kids get sick due to bad nutrition, you are the only one to pay for, not the school.
I am an advocate of good eating, please don’t mistreat our kids, they are our future heritage. As a food author, I am available to be hired for speaking engagements, or any seminars in any schools. Ciao,
Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She especially loves to design all those rooms with a “make me feel good” tag attached, such as kitchens and wine grottos, outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms, great rooms and entertainment rooms. She is a public speaker and a mentor. She is also the author of two Italian regional cuisine books, available here in this site on the Books page and in various locations:
Come Mia Nonna–A Return to Simplicity
Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts
Robert Taitano, a friend and business associate says: “Valentina - an International Professional Interior Designer is now giving you an opportunity to redesign your palate”.