Feb 16 2014

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Our Civic Duty to Teach Health Habits

As we learned in our text we cannot expect children to choose healthy foods when they are not used seeing our eating them at home.  Sending this flyer home for this program helps the parents to learn how to feed there children healthy food, and in turn helps the school.

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Feb 16 2014

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Pizza with a side of Disorders please!

As I have mentioned in my earlier blogs, psychology and school lunch are hard topics to connect , but I did it. When looking at it from a psychological point of view it seems that there is not much that this profession can do for school lunches. Although when one takes the time to connect the research, there could be a better point of view from a psychological perspective.

Relationships with food can cause stress in children’s lives, this can change their association with food. Things such as food refusal are not uncommon in adolescents (Merrick & Latzer, 2011). Stress can hinder mental development and cause mental instabilities. Something so simple can mean so much to a fragile psyche.

my research I have learned that girls are more susceptible problems dealing with food, especially when considering certain eating disorders.While researching I found a study on a young girl refused to eat while at school (Wood & Flanagan, 2013). She would not except food from anyone and refused to eat school food. She was monitored during the lunch break in school and still would not eat.

After a day at school she would go home and binge eat for hours sometimes. If her mother would not have her favorite snakes ready when she arrived home, she would throw tantrums. The researcher went through possibilities of why this might have happen, and settled on the possibility of the girl going through a traumatic event, which triggered her symptoms:

There was no indicated medical, physiological, or organic condition that could account for Michelle’s food refusal, unless anxiety is conceptualized within this domain. Michelle was clearly able to eat without discomfort, there was no apparent blockage or structural abnormalities, and there was no known insult or illness to account for her sudden refusal to eat in the presence of anyone outside of her family. One may speculate as to the occurrence of a traumatic event, but one was never identified (Wood & Flanagan, 2013). This is a unique scenario, but it is possible that other students have become the same way.

While that specific scenario would not could not be fixed by more supervision. There is the possibility that the staffs within schools are in a position to be able to monitor and recognize signs of eating disorders. A study was done on whether staff within a school could recognize the signs of a potential eating disorder. The study was done in the form of focus groups. There were 8 groups with 7-12 people in the groups. The discussion within the groups were recorded and transcribed for the study. Within the study there were five subjects that continued to come up:

Many staff do not have a basic understanding of eating disorders. Eating disorders and other mental health issues are taboo in the staffroom. Staff do not feel comfortable talking to students about eating disorders. Parents are key to eating disorder recovery but sometimes the relationship gets off on the wrong foot. Staff would welcome ideas for practical support during the recovery period. (Knightsmith, Treasure, & Schmidt, 2013).This study shows that while it is easy to believe that professionals within the school should be able to recognize the signs of eating disorders and report them, this can be seen as taboo.

As our English 400 class has learned while reading, Free or Allby Poppendieck, lunch at public school is not always the healthiest and can be a big problem.  Nutrition is important to a child’s development, this means without it development can be stunted.  In some instances school lunch is the main meal for the children, and without that meal they go hungry. When young females are malnourished they have a lower body weight, which can lead to a later onset of menstruation, and has been linked to personality defects. When it comes to the subjects of psychology, public school lunch has many potential implications that can and have been made. With such minimal research, there are not many ways to see a correlation between the subjects.

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Jan 26 2014

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Photo Portfolio


lunch 1
lunch 2
lunch 3
lunch 4

 

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Jan 26 2014

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Shocking Scenery

This is a timeline of photos as I went to eat lunch with my younger cousin:

First as I walked in I seen this…  Yes! This was at the front desk. They sure had their priorities straight. I was shocked and a little embarrassed that the first thing people see when they walk into their children’s schools’ office was a price list of lunch. Not only that I was surprised at how expensive it was, maybe I am out of touch but to me that seemed ridiculous.

 

As we waited in line to go enter into the actual lunch line I seen this. Your basic flyer explain the guidelines to school lunch, seems innocent enough. I do not remember reading this specific set up of the way the lunch program went (we had to chose a fruit and a vegetable not one or the other) but, hey I’m no expert.

We make it into the actual lunch line and this is what I see.   A little blurry and hard to read, but basically it is telling us what is one the menu for the day. Which was a choice of: the French bread pizza, mini corn dogs, ham & cheese sandwich, or a Caesar salad; then for fruits: apple sauce or fresh fruit; then the vegetable: green beans or baby carrots. Now that sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it, well that’s not what was there.  What I saw was exactly what I got! No baby carrots in sight! No fresh fruit, but a scary looking apple. There was no ham & cheese, no salad, not even mini corn dogs, why would they advertise something that will not be given out?

Now we get to my tray   like I said I got what I saw! The pizza was okay, I guess, but I would not eat it again. The string beans were soggy, very unappetizing and the apple was the worst of all. When I bit into it was completely brown. I could not get a picture of the other student’s trays, but I thought mine looked empty. There’s had the pizza and milk and that’s it except for the occasional ice cream bar. It was very sad! I was truly surprised but the way the cafeteria was ran, even though I enjoyed my visit and the staff was nice enough I would not be happy with my child eating the food that was prepared there, would you?

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Jan 11 2014

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About Me

After taking this class I feel more prepared to enter the world as an active citizen. I have learned how to properly research and analyze several facets of a social issue. Before this class, I thought I knew about the nutrition issue with school lunches but there were so many parts of the problem that I had never been exposed to. I had no idea about how strict the government regulations were or that many home-packed lunches were just as bad or worse than school lunches. Taking this class was extremely helpful not only in teaching me about the specific issue of school lunches, but to show me how to properly investigate and form an opinion on other social issues which is a vital part of becoming an active citizen.

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Jan 11 2014

Posted by under engl400

Civic Document

WHERE IS YOU MONEY GOING???

Dear Parents,

Ever blindly give your children money for lunch that day? Or write a check to the school for the same reason? What are you really paying for? School lunches are not what they seem to be. Your children are not getting the proper nutrition they need to stay fit and healthy. This is not just an issue at our school but in all of the schools. It is a growing problem and we need to put an end to the junk food!

Back to school night will be held this Friday Jan. 10th from 7p.m. to 9p.m. Along with learning about your child’s classroom, teacher, and curriculum we will be addressing the lunch room issue in every class. More information on this issue will be provided as well as the chance to ask questions. We look forward to see you!

Sincerely,

School Administration

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Jan 11 2014

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A Healthier School For All

Hello again, Matt here, continuing to blog about public school lunches.  Over the past month I have endured a very eye opening experience to public school lunches.  Sadly, the majority of my research has been from a chair and computer.  So I figured I need to get a better perspective of what I was researching.  I wanted a second look from the eyes and the ears of the students and faculty of Goochland.  I know that the majority of schools suffer from lack of nutrition in their meals and that students don’t always make the right choices when it comes to healthy meals.  I have researched dozens of journals, arguments and blogs that tell me this, but I needed to see it first-hand.  I needed to see what my school was doing to make the cafeteria a healthier place and I wanted you, my fellow readers to get a better look and understanding of the public school lunch system.  So I decided to call Goochland High School and set up an appointment with the Principal.

My appointment for visiting the school was set for 9:45 am. I arrived early and began reviewing my questions that I had prepared to ask Principal Newman.  It was 9:35 in the school lobby when I realized, nothing had changed since I had left because the clock still moved at a glacial pace.  I became restless with anticipation and tried out my questions on the secretary and her assistant.  I simply asked, “Do you enjoy the food served here?”

Apparently that was the right question to start with because they began to discuss their insight of the cafeteria food.  They were blunt and in good spirits when I questioned them, bantering on about this and that.  The assistant chimed in, “I like the Caesar salad,” and responded to her statement with, “you just can’t mess up a Caesar salad, I would hope.”  I became more relaxed after talking with them, the secretary handed me a lunch menu for the following month of January.  I began overlooking the menu and asked, “So what’s the favorite?”  The secretary responded, “chicken nuggets, they always want more chicken nuggets.”  I laughed and calmly replied, “Good choice.” The school had started to use whole white meat chicken nuggets with a wheat bread crumb coating, supposedly a healthier choice from the previous option.

Principal Newman then walked out of his office and walked directly over to me and asked, “Are you Matt?” I nodded and greeted him and we began discussing my project in his office.  He was enthusiastic when answering my questions and responded in great detail.  I had asked him whether he believed the school food to be nutritional; he gave me a look as though that question had surfaced before.  He gave a lighthearted laugh and began discussing federal guidelines and policies.

I soon realized that he had little to no control over what was being served in the cafeteria.  Principal Newman stated, “I have no say in what gets served at lunch.”  I asked if he made comments or offered different opinions to the cafeteria manager.  He said comments to the cafeteria manager were made often by himself, the faculty and student body.  He said that some issues get changed, but that it just wasn’t probable for everyone to get what they wanted changed.  I then asked him if they offered ‘free’ or reduced lunches.  He replied, “Yes, roughly 30% of the school is on free or reduced lunch.”   A number he claimed wasn’t too high but not necessarily low enough to be considered great.  He said that the school must maintain strict federal guidelines when serving food, making sure that the participants are eating correctly portioned meals.

I asked, “Are the foods getting healthier?” and, “what steps have been taken?”  Newman said that the food had been getting healthier.  He gave me a few examples.  He said that all milk was now reduced fat, salt packets had been removed and that French fries were no longer being served continuously throughout the week.  Several more options of fruit and vegetables are now being offered.  Many fruits such as peaches, apples and cantaloupe are being prepared fresh every day.  The school is also offering a beef taco entrée. The beef from the taco is 100% Angus and is raised and bought locally from a vendor.  These may be small changes to the cafeteria menu but they are creating big changes in the nutrition and diets of the students and faculty of Goochland High.

My experience with visiting Goochland High School has closed so many questions that I needed answering.  I encourage all of my readers who are interested in my research to go out and see first-hand what your public schools are doing to make healthier lives for their students.  Talk with students, innovate with the faculty and support a healthier lunch program.  You may find that your ideas could create a healthier lunch program and a healthier lifestyle for your local schools!

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Jan 11 2014

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The Final Me!

This past month has been amazing. I have a repertoire of skills that I can use to be an active citizen. This is extremely important because I am better prepared to take on change and make my voice heard. In order to be an active citizen, I had to be extremely dedicated about an issue, such as school lunch programs, and do tons of research to better understand it. I also needed to know how to bring about change, what some of my options were to get my point across. Surprisingly, many people have been able to do just that by writing a blog. Others can form groups or boards, write letters or engage people using their rhetoric skills in hope that they can persuade them to make a change.

 

I think the main thing I learned this semester is confidence. The confidence that no matter what, I can fight for what I believe in because it is important.

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Jan 11 2014

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Letter Home

Dear (Mr./Mrs. Parent)

This letter that your child has brought home has two messages that I hope will encourage you to take a stance against child hunger. Earlier today a student in your child’s class came to me with stomach pains and complaining of being hungry. Because of this they were not focused in class and were disruptive. More importantly though I believe that the children were not doing there best work and I feel that their grades are in direct correlation. I took it upon myself to begin stocking the classroom with various healthy snacks to help fight hunger with the students.

I bring this to your attention because I am asking now for your help more than ever. The struggle with child hunger is now coming closer to home. With that in mind we are beginning to take up a collection with the proceeds moving in two directions. The first front is the immediate one. Purchasing healthy snack for the children should there be an off chance that a child has missed breakfast or needs a bit of a pick me up. This is not meant to take the place of breakfast. The second front is a more long term one. Letters like these are being sent out by many of the teachers and we are taking a portion of the proceeds with a group of strong willed educators to the school board to present our case. The case will consist of a pitch to provide students with a healthy breakfast potentially integrated into the daily schedule and less of an optional meal for the students. This is of course a rough overview of the actual plan and the selected group is more than happy to take any suggestions or input from parents at home.

This is not a call for an alarm but a call to take action. It is our jobs to provide a safe and healthy place for children to learn and we feel that we can do better. Of course change can not happen without the support of all of you which is why all of this is being brought to your attention. The plan is to help the children as well as save money with this collection that we are taking up which will help us sell the idea to the school board.

All donations are welcome whether that be money or your input.

 

Thank you for your time and I look forward to speaking with you on this matter further.

Sincerely,

(Mr./Mrs. Educator)

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Jan 11 2014

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Embrace the Taste Flyer

EMBRACE THE TASTE

Come up to the stage during your lunch period to “EMBRACE THE TASTE”. Ms.Denton and Mr. Taylor from SJMS’s cafeteria staff will be providing samples of exciting, new, healthy options our lunch menu will soon be including!

Try out these samples and fill out a quick survey in exchange to enter into a drawing for our multiple Health Baskets with cool gifts ranging from Yoga How To Videos + Yoga Mats to Rachael Ray cookbooks and Whole Foods gift cards! It’s a WIN WIN situation!

LET’S IMPROVE OUR SCHOOL’S LUNCH MENU AND EMBRACE THE TASTE

 

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