Friday, April 16, 2010

The Ugly

To round out my school food "research," I must include the foods I found to be particularly bad. Most of them could be made healthier or just not served at all. They are overly processed, have too much fat and/or sodium, too many unnecessary ingredients, and don't have much to offer in any way nutritionally. I'd like to see these foods off the school menus as they are now.

The ugly stuff:
  • Flame broiled beef patties - made from 70/30 ground beef - 13.42 grams of fat in each (compared to McDonald's burger that has 9 grams of fat). These patties contain a lot of extra filler ingredients, like textured vegetable protein, which shows up a lot on the bad list.
  • Chocolate low-fat milk - 2nd ingredient is HFCS, then some other unnecessary ingredients. There are 26 grams of sugar in a 1/2 pint carton. While it does provide 30% of daily calcium needs, it has about the same amount of sugar as a soda.
  • Hickory smoked ham - a 3 oz slice has 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, and 45% daily value for salt.  Plus, it has sodium nitrites added in.
  • Desserts (cake, cookies, etc.) - too many ingredients, including partially hydrogenated shortening and/or HFCS. Elementary students get snack time (with ice cream being sold every day), so I don't see dessert as all that necessary with lunch.
  • French toast sticks - 3 of these have 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 9 grams of sugar, and loooong list of ingredients I can't pronounce. 
  • Sausage - 1 patty (1.5 oz) contains 9 grams of fat and 3 grams of saturated fat. No ingredients are listed.
  • Cheese pizza - 12 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 650 mg of sodium, and a crazy list of ingredients. This is offered every single day at the high school. Pepperoni pizza is worse.
  • Breakfast sausage and textured vegetable protein pizza -Sounds delicious, right??? 11 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 680 mg of sodium, and a ridiculously long list of unpronounceable ingredients.
  • Maple pancake & sausage wrap on a stick - 10 grams of fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 20% sodium for the day, partially hydrogenated oils, and it is fried.
  • Breakfast on a stick - no nutritional information, but the first ingredient is dark turkey and mechanically separated turkey. Fried. 
  • Beef franks - no ingredients listed. A 2 oz. hotdog contains 325 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, 11.8 grams of saturated fat, and 1,012 mg of sodium. Unreal. Add some chili to that and you're adding on 239 calories, 19.6 grams of fat, and 746 mg of of sodium. No ingredients listed for chili. 
There were some other foods that didn't have much listed about them, so I wasn't sure where to put them such as pasta salad, sherbet, spaghetti w/meat sauce, french fries (which were listed as a veggie), meat lasagna, cole slaw, and taco salad. 

I think it is also important to note that the schools use Styrofoam plates and sporks. When I was in elementary school in the 80s, the food was almost all homemade and we had real plates and utensils. Why so much change?


    1. The food then was so good, too! Some of this stuff you listed sounds so gross.

    2. Paper goods are used instead of tableware because the kids throw out the tableware making it cost prohibitive to continue to buy replacements.

      A metal fork and plastic plate stay longer in a landfill than a platic fork and paper boat.

      Even at our schools were we have done intensive "green" education and recycling training, students STILL throw the tableware into the trash.

      We tried magnet rings on the garbage tables to catch the forks -- nope.

      We tried making the holes of the garbage tables smaller so the plates couldn't fit through -- nope.

      We would love to go back to tableware, but the cost is unbelievable.

    3. I get what you're saying...what a shame that we are raising a society of kids that can't be responsible for tableware!