NYC schools cut calories in kids' lunches, but it's a bad idea

As a formerly obese child, nobody takes the childhood obesity epidemic more seriously than I do. That's why I'm so happy to see that NBC's The Biggest Loser has signed up to join in with the return of the show in January 2013 and Jillian Michaels is back for their powerful new mission: "to tackle the childhood obesity epidemic head-on by featuring kid participants (ages 13-17) for the first time ever in addition to adult contestants."

Plus, the New York City public schools systems are deepening their commitment to the war on obesity--except they're doing it the wrong way.

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With NYC being the biggest public school system in the United States, it's important for them to be leaders. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has definitely shown his passion for making his city healthier with his different initiatives and the slimmed down school lunches, thanks to "replacing fries with baked potato strips and introducing nonfat chocolate milk, whole grain pasta and salad bars, among other tweaks." All this has definitely helped, but now the city's gone a bit too far.

The New York Times reports that, in the process of creating slimmer meals, the city has also cut calories to the point that they have "served children fewer calories than required by the federal government" and that is definitely NOT the right answer to combat childhood obesity. Seriously, what's the deal? Why are they feeding kids less food instead of filling their plates with more healthy fruits and veggies?

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This is definitely a big concern for me. Luckily, new healthier federal guidelines that introduce lower calorie counts and, for the first time, set calorie maximums, along with more school lunch audits by the state and federal government, are having the city reconsider their mistake. The Education Department's chefs are currently busy fine-tuning menus for this school year to include limits on sodium and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

I, for one, am glad that the state and federal government are finally taking notice. And while I appreciate the city of New York working hard to make their lunches healthier, it's no excuse for serving kids less calories than recommended. Serve the kids more HEALTHY food, please, but not too little of it!

What do you think about the NYC public school system serving less calories than recommended by the federal government? Are you glad to see the inclusion of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the lunch menu? 

Image via Thinkstock

Topics: family  healthy eating  overweight  school