Signs suggest we’re finally eating better

01/24/2014 09:59:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

Students were reported as still being hungry after eating school lunches or skipping them because the school lunches were unappetizing.

It seems the beef and grain industries rejected the idea of requiring students to eat more healthfully if that meant eating less meat and grains.

There remain incentives to increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables via the school lunch program, at least until someone loosens those dictates.

None of this adds up to a tidy total, but I would like to think it has been a net gain for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption. However, it would be easy to lose the momentum and backtrack.

Debit cards = dessert?

If students use a debit card when they’re eating at schools, they are more likely to pile on the desserts and skimp on the vegetables.

That was the gist of a story on NPR in mid-January.

Researchers found that in schools where kids paid cash they heaped on the fruits and vegetables and skipped dessert more often.

The researchers attributed the disparity with the psychological differences in paying with cash or debit card. If using a debit or credit card, the financial consequences of a purchase are delayed, and the researcher suggested the attitude also affected what was eaten.

During the same short segment, the researcher suggested cookies be put behind the lunch line so that students would have to ask cafeteria workers for one.

The short delay in getting one would be more effective in deterring cookie consumption than trying to explain about the threat of coronary heart disease in 40 years if this and other cookies did not go uneaten.

Yeah, but in our area kids often only have 20 minutes to get through the line, and cafeteria workers don’t need extra hassle. Don’t begrudge a kid one cookie.

No seconds, though.

crobinson@thepacker.com

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