Saturday, January 25, 2014

Schools Don't Need Junk Food

Over the past five, going on six years, I think it is fair to say I have not agreed much with President Obama's policies, in fact, I cannot really think of one off the top of my head, save for ending DADT, that really pleased me. On the other hand, his wife Michelle has pushed for something that I wholeheartedly support - healthier school lunches.

Through her campaign, "Let's Move," Mrs. Obama has been trying to curb childhood obesity through healthy meals and exercise. Part of this campaign includes "Chefs Move to Schools," which involves professional chefs volunteering some time to work with students and train school workers in the kitchen on how to make healthier meals.

Now, why would someone like me, a staunch supporter of small government, support such an endeavor? Simple, I don't want my tax dollars and healthcare premiums going up because your lazy kid needs insulin for their preventable diabetes. Kids don't need vending machines with sodas or candy bars, they need sports or some other after school activity that does not involve holding a video game controller and healthy meals. And schools have an obligation to see to it that they offer them. And if you don't believe me, you should have watched the latest episode of "Opposite Worlds" on Syfy - the professional gamer got her ass kicked in the elimination challenge that involved physical activity costing her a chance to win $100,000.

What really pisses me off about school dietary plans is what they get away with. As far as nutrition goes, they can count tomato paste as a vegetable and potatoes in on the nutritional side. Sounds ok, right? Well, what are they used for? Tomato paste is used to top greasy pizzas, and potatoes get made into French fries, mmm, more grease.

Oh, your little Johnny won't eat healthy food? Fuck that, Johnny will eat what you tell him to. Of course, if mom and dad define "family meal time" as a trip to a fast food drive thru, can we really expect kids to choose mixed vegetables over a corn dog? Probably not.

I heard a great point be made by either a local political pundit, or a friend the other day concerning the fast food employees wanting $15 an hour, bear with me, I promise I can connect the two issues. People who rely on fast food restaurants to provide sustenance for their families are usually poor, ergo, they buy processed burgers and mechanically separated "chicken" instead of fresh food from the grocery store because it is cheaper, and really, who can blame them for making their paychecks last longer? Well, if we were to pass laws making the minimum wage $15 an hour for burger flippers prices at fast food joints will go up - a lot, making fresh grocery store foods cheaper in comparison, (at least artificially due to inflated prices at the fast food joints and mentally in the minds of conscientious shoppers). While I do not support a $15 an hour minimum wage for people who ask me if I "want fries with that," it undeniably would have some benefits for people looking for an excuse to go to Wegmans instead of Wendy's. Hell, even the asinine firearms bill Obama tried to get passed included reciprocity throughout the US for concealed carry permit holders...but I digress.

So, how do they fit together? Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour at fast food joints, people will stop going to them, parents will start making healthier meals for their kids and your little Johnny won't wrinkle his nose at school when he sees cauliflower instead of cheese fries. There really is no intelligent reason not to get rid of junk foods and soda machines from public schools. While it may cost a little more to get things rolling, the money saved by not becoming one of Wilford Brimley's diabetic friends will surely pay off the difference.

Besides, kids go to school to learn and think right? How can they with caffeine and saturated fat rushing through them?

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