Although obesity is rampant in children and adults in the United States, the government is doing its best to encourage children to eat healthy foods. Students have returned to school and may have noticed cafeteria meals are not the same. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed its rules about what should be served, and schools are now required to serve more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other more nutritional foods. Additionally, cafeteria staff is being trained to encourage students to eat more fruits and vegetables. Students who receive free and discounted school lunches will have to pay for lunch if they do not take a fruit or vegetable with their lunch.

The philosophy behind the new rule is that childhood obesity is problematic, and many children do not eat healthy foods at home. While everyone recognizes that the students cannot be force fed vegetables, the government is hopeful that putting the vegetables in front of children will  encourage kids to eat them. Furthermore, the new procedure may motivate parents to promote eating fresh produce.

The jury is still out on whether students will actually eat the produce, and it is also unknown whether the new cafeteria requirements will generate more waste. For more information about the healthier food served during school lunchtime, see Eat Your Fruits and Veggies, or Else, in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Share your views about the new school cafeteria rules, or discuss them with your children.

Poor eating habits can start when people are young and continue into the teen and adult years. If you are struggling to eat a healthy diet or if you or someone you know suffers from disordered eating patterns, I can help. As a licensed professional counselor  in the Philadelphia suburbs, I have over 10 years of concentrated experience working to help clients achieve balance in their lives and in the food that they eat.  To learn more, contact my office at 610-828-2801 to schedule a consultation.