“Eat your motherf**kin’ lunch!” ~ Jon Stewart

Via Lynn Hasselberger
on Oct 5, 2012
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snip from jon stewart clip

National food fight over healthier school lunches grabbing headlines.

Extree, extree, school lunches suck and the portions are too small!
~ Jon Stewart

With the new school lunch guidelines, kids are allowed seconds on more fruits and veggies. But not on other stuff.

To that, Stewart says:

Like that counts as food! You know what we call fruits and vegetables at my school? Nerd grenades.

And to the kids protesting about still feeling hungry:

Now, I am obviously not a nutritionist or an educator, but if these kids are hungry, I guess my solution would be, “Eat your motherf*cking lunch!”

As a health-conscious mom, let me just say: This controversy is just… ridiculous.

Even before this lean toward more nutritious foods in school lunches (otherwise known as The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010), food waste comprised about 12 percent of total calories selected by students in the meal line (USDA’s 1991-92 School Nutrition Dietary Assessment). But some studies have found the figure ranging as high as 37 percent.

My take: The calorie cap on school lunches should not leave children hungry. If it doesn’t make them feel full, bring a snack. Eat a larger breakfast. Bring your own lunch.

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years-. 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged two to 19 years are obese.

Obesity is unhealthy and puts a strain on our health care system. Boom. So why would the government subsidize unhealthy food that feeds obesity? That would be somewhat, er, irresponsible.

School lunches are subsidized by the government—it’s an $11.1 billion program (fiscal year 2011).

Some would argue that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing school lunches. But 16.1 million children in the U.S. live in poverty and one out of five children in America (in America!) struggle with hunger. Many go to school hungry.

The most impoverished children qualify to receive a free school lunch and sometimes a snack. Some receive lunches at a cheaper cost.

Something tells me those aren’t the kids complaining about the healthier lunches.

One of seven low-income, preschool-aged children is obese.

How could that be? Maybe they live in a food desert or can only afford cheap, unhealthy food like the stuff off the McDonald’s Dollar Menu. For a buck you can get a sausage biscuit or McDouble burger. And easier access to processed foods (see Lexi’s comment below).

Even with the new lunch rules, a quarter-cup of tomato paste on a slice of pizza to count as a vegetable serving.

Last time I checked, a tomato was a fruit.

Note: In the interest of posting this video before it reached over-saturation across the blogosphere, I’ve oversimplified some things here. I invite you, dear reader, to submit articles about school lunches, child nutrition, the impact of poverty on children’s health, the benefits of transitioning to school lunches that support local farmers, etc.

Click here to learn more about the school lunch program.

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About Lynn Hasselberger

Lynn Hasselberger is co-founder of GDGD Radio; The Green Divas Managing Editor; and Producer of The Green Divas Radio Show. She's also a mom, writer and award-winning cat-herder who lives in Chicagoland. Sunrises, running, yoga, lead-free chocolate and comedy are just a few of her fave things. In her rare moments of spare time, she blogs at myEARTH360.com and LynnHasselberger.com. A treehugger and social media addict, you'll most likely find Lynn on twitter (@LynnHasselbrgr @GreenDivaLynn & @myEARTH360), instagram and facebook. She hopes to make the world a better place, have more fun, re-develop her math skills and overcome her fear of public speaking. Like her writing? Subscribe to her posts.


10 Responses to ““Eat your motherf**kin’ lunch!” ~ Jon Stewart”

  1. greateacher says:

    sad and true, from a public school teacher… I have to tell little Vietnamese and japanese children who must eat school lunches due to poverty whose parents have a different culture which has a more helahty focus.. they must eat white flour tortillas, cold, and wierd looking ground beef" which I would never eat. Or mystery meat. Sadly, many dotn like the fruits.. or the over-steamed vegetables or canned fruits in syrup.. or a large uncut apple which he or she cant bite and we have no knives to cut.

  2. Lexi says:

    Nutrition here is a very complicated issue. I think that also a big problem contributing to obesity is not so much that they are eating McDonalds/junk food/highly processed foods etc. but what it does to their body. It is that low income people, and sometimes even people who could afford good food, because they are eating this stuff, have a very unbalanced diet. High processed carbs, low proteins and few vitamins. This contributes to conditions like malabsorption, maldigestion and malnutrition which can lead the body to process these high sugar/carb foods differently. Combined with the cycling periods of "starvation" the body perceives as happening throughout the day, the liver can end up compensating with high rates of triglyceride formation, to compensate for the energy deficits. The malabsorption or maldigestion can also lead to edema of some of the tissues, adding to the weight. The malnutrition can also lead to growth problems. In some people with malnutrition they can end up being skinny because their body isn't processing the food right, and when they do start eating healthy food it can make them feel very sick, which might deter them from diet changes. Also you sometimes see large weight gain when they end up on a healthy diet from being starved, because they body is suddenly like "hey look at all this awesome stuff I'm getting now, I should save up some of this energy for later" and again makes fat and they can become obese. So I think this is a much more complicated issue than simply providing healthy food choices at lunch time and trying to force kids to eat fruits and veggies. We need to make sure it is stuff that tastes good, that kids will like to eat and that will provide lasting energy and not just a short glucose burst. Snacks are great, but I remember then being crackers often, because well they are cheap. Some places now provide better choices like peanut butter or humus with carrots etc, which is a much better choice by providing a protein and a complex carb. We also need to improve exercise and healthy lifestyle education. The School systems have definitely made leaps and bounds forward with this, but there is still a long way to go.

  3. I can see why you call yourself "great teacher." Hopefully as parents gain more knowledge about the benefits of healthy foods (and the non-nutrition that comes with overcooked veggies or canned fruits) the fight to continue healthy school lunches and expand it to include even healthier foods will grow stronger. It shouldn't even be a fight. Ah well. We're making progress, right? Thanks for commenting!

  4. Well said, Lexi. Thanks so much for adding your feedback. Processed foods are indeed another huge contributor to obesity. This subject deserves a much more comprehensive article (hint—would you like to write something?). Cheers!

  5. slsimms says:

    I just read an article in the student newspaper at one of the schools I teach at that complained about the new guidelines. I went ahead and submitted a letter to the editor (because it's so much fun to argue with teenagers [ha!]) about what I believe to be a very positive step forward.

    My son is in pre-K and honestly none of his classmates are obese and technically my child is malnourished (he's in the 1% for weight based on his age). I've done everything under the sun to get him to eat more vegetables and fruits; I'm hoping a few more months of eating new fruits and vegetables with his classmates will encourage him to try new things. In the meantime, I'm doing my best to load him up on carbs so that he finally hits 40 lbs. He's very tall for his age though; looking some of my second grade girls eye-to-eye.


  6. Well done, slsimms, on submitting a letter. Similar to the outcry from parents being told they could no longer bring in treats for kid birthdays. I swear, my son went on sugar overload his first couple of years after I had limited his sugar due to ADHD symptoms. If you want to invite my kid to a birthday party and he goes, he'll eat the crap. But please don't bring it during the school day when I need him to be eating normal stuff in order to optimize his focus.

    I like your *shrugs* at the end. I'm guessing you've also tried sneaking in oils? My son used to fall for these tricks, but now that he's 11 he's onto me 🙂

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Cheers!

  7. PS. That sounds somewhat hypocritical to the post—subjecting kids to good food vs. bad. Well, as I say, pack your kids' lunch if you don't like what the school is offering (at a decent price!). Parents have a choice 😉

  8. Lexi says:

    I'm not sure I am really qualified to write on the subject for a mass audience. Mostly my comment is based off of having done a lot of nutrition research due to finding out I'm Gluten intolerance and taking nutrition classes as a Pre-med student and a Veterinary student. Most of what I said is just based on general physiology and disease processes and how nutrient deficiencies affect our bodies.

  9. Lexi says:

    * intolerant.