While I was in this position, I made it my goal to create menus that taught residents how to make meals that were delicious, economical, and not from a box. So often, the feedback I would receive would be, "Why can't we have chicken nuggets?" or "Can we have frozen pizza?" or "These meals take too long to make." The saddest part of this is that most of these comments were made by the life skills coordinators that staffed these homes. The same people that were being paid to teach the residents how to live on their own.
While many of these meals were far from scratch, they were also not pre-prepared, straight from the box garbage. They were teaching residents how to incorporate proteins, vegetables, and healthy carbs to make a meal.
As a parent, I am concerned about what my children consume. In our home, we try to avoid highly processed, nutrient deficient foods. In addition to trying to cook mostly from scratch, I encourage my children to work in the kitchen by my side. Just the other day, my 9 year-old, made homemade brownies from scratch. That's right! She melted the baking chocolate and butter, measured the brown sugar, salt, flour, and vanilla, and added the eggs. By herself. They were DELICIOUS!
It concerns me the amount of processed foods being used in our schools today. I'm not saavy enough to find the statistics showing just how prevalent it is. I just know what I see on the lunch menu that comes home each month.
I have eaten lunch at school with my kids. They have the option to decline their fruit and vegetable. If they choose the "cold lunch" option, they don't even get a real PB&J, the school provides Smuckers Uncrustables! I'm not entirely sure how that is economical, not to mention the extra waste created by these individually wrapped sandwiches. I just know that the food my kids eat at school is an over processed smorgasboard.
Have you been over to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution site? If you haven't, you should! This stuff is real! If you haven't yet, sign the petition! If you're a parent, get on board! Make your voice heard! Stand up for what your kids are being served in school. Get your family involved in the kitchen. Stop spending your money on the Hamburger Helper and other premade meals in the store and start visiting sites like allrecipes.com, recipesfromscratch.com, and right off the Jamie Oliver site. I know it can sometimes be difficult. And you don't have to go 100% old school to make a difference. Just give it a shot and get cooking!!!