The Most Important Meal of the Day

Schools have started experimenting with offering free breakfast (you know, the most important meal of the day) in the classroom (instead of making the kids go to the cafeteria) and they have gotten great results from the program:

“The results, seen at urban districts across the country, are striking. Without the stigma of a trip to the cafeteria, the number of students in Newark who eat breakfast in school has tripled. Absenteeism has fallen in Los Angeles, and officials in Chicago say children from low-income families are eating healthier meals, more often.”

(From:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/nyregion/with-classroom-breakfasts-some-children-may-eat-twice.html?_r=1)

So great, right?

But now New York City doesn’t want to participate in the program.  Why?  Because, horror of horror – some kids may end up eating two breakfasts (one at home and one at school) and ingest – wait for it – EXCESS CALORIES!!!!

And of course, excess calories means that these kids could get fat.

Yes indeedy, in fear of the possibility that some kids might gain some weight, New York City would rather see kids in need go hungry.

What is the matter with these people?

It’s not like they are giving these kids a huge breakfast – they aren’t getting stacks of pancakes, dripping in butter and syrup with a side of bacon.  They are getting stuff like a muffin or cereal, cheese stick and juice or milk.

And by the way, just because a kid is fat does not mean that child has already eaten breakfast.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me crazy.

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8 thoughts on “The Most Important Meal of the Day

  1. I interred at a rural school where they fed all of the kindergartners free breakfast whether they qualified for free/reduced priced lunch or not. Originally we trooped the kids to the cafeteria, but after the teacher complained about the wasted time, we were able to set it out on their tables so it was waiting when they came in. I asked about kids who ate at home, and the teacher told me they made sure to tell the parents that breakfast would be provided. Here’s the amazing thing though since yes some of the kids did still eat at home. Some may have eaten two breakfast, but most days there was at least one kid who would say they weren’t hungry and not eat. It was that simple. It was there if they wanted it, and not if they didn’t. Though that’s probably too difficult for bureaucrats to figure out.

  2. Though as far as that school was concerned, the powers that be would probably have an aneurysm over the amount of food offered since we fed the kids breakfast when school started, lunch at 10:15, and then a snack of varying levels of healthiness (the parents brought in snacks with a requirement for healthy but that was interpreted loosely since we got everything from cheese puffs to fruit) at the end of the day since they ate lunch so early.

  3. I think that’s the thing that annoys me the most about the current mainstream “health” movements — the number of calories a food contains is usually treated as the most important (or even the only important) factor in deciding whether or not something is healthy. It’s so ridiculous. There’s so much more to health than calories. And that’s not even touching the stupidity of DENYING HUNGRY CHILDREN A MEAL because they’re worried that some kids might eat breakfast twice. I would rather see a bunch of kids get two breakfasts through a program that ensured they all got at least one breakfast than see a bunch of kids go hungry because of OOGABOOGACALORIES.

  4. I think it’s a good idea that schools offer free breakfast meals, although I don’t think it’s their responsibility. The idea of a hungry kid going to school without food makes my heart ache, so to think about them getting a chance to eat a free meal at school is such a blessing. I understand they are concerned about some kids might be overeating, but if a kid is going to overeat, they will do so at home anyway whether the school provides a meal or not. If they are worried about kids eating two breakfasts, why don’t they inform parents that free breakfast will start to be offered and they should use their own discretion on whether or not they want their child to have 2 breakfasts or not? Or they could try to improve their nutrition education so kids can have a better understanding of what is and isn’t healthy when it comes to nutrition?

  5. Amen to all the above. In addition, consider that some children might actually need two breakfasts at times. We’ve all seen kids who eat a hearty meal and an hour later are hungry – just the same way we’ve seen kids who seemingly exist on air. It’s all about genetics, growth spurts, and the very changeable biological system that is a human being. Why is it so terrible to offer more food, as long as no one is forcing children to eat? (Putting on parent hat: as if one could force a child to eat, ever!).

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