Healthy Lunches for Palm Beach County Schools
There are three root issues that account for Palm Beach
County’s unhealthy school meals.
The first problem is the lack of funds for school meals. Because the county has such a strict budget to follow, serving unhealthy food is the only option. Breakfast costs a student $1.00 per day. At an elementary school lunch costs $1.75 and at a middle school lunch costs $2.00 per day. Necessary portions of fruits, vegetables, and proteins cannot be served with such small appropriations. Fried, fat filled, and processed foods are the only options for schools given the Palm Beach County budget.
The second problem is that there is an enormous amount of impoverished students in Palm Beach County. The county receives funds from the federal government through the National School Lunch Act; however, this amount of money per student per day cannot cover healthy food options. In 2008, Palm Beach County received $30,139,891 from the federal government for student meals. That year there were 170,883 students enrolled in the district, and 41% received free or reduced price lunches. That means per day the county had $2.39 to spend on school meals per impoverished student. In 2009, Palm Beach County got $33,585,818 from the federal government. There were 170,757 students enrolled in the district in 2009 and 44% had free and reduced price lunches. That means that each day the county had $2.48 to spend on meals per impoverished student. In 2010, the federal government gave Palm Beach County $38,996,428 for school lunch meals for impoverished students.For these impoverished students, school meals may be there only source of food. We need to feed them healthy food that gives them the necessary portions of vegetables, fruits, and proteins, so that they can grow and prosper.
The third problem is that children would rather choose the more unhealthy choice . Vegetables do not appeal to young students, yet are vital to their health. Additionally, when given the choice between fat-filled, fried food and a healthier option. They will automatically choose the unhealthy option because it is more attractive to them. We need to find a way to make healthy food look appealing by providing food choices to students that they will want and that are healthy.
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