Posts Tagged ‘healthy food’

Time for Lunch

August 29, 2013

Lucnh BoxMillions of student across the country are going back to school this week. Most will buy lunch there. Most of the others will bring theirs. For the (parents of) those students, Seventh Generation has offered up some tips on how to make the packaging of the lunch more re-useable (and therefore more sustainable).

Good LunchA key part of lunch, of course is the food. Fortunately, Congress passed a law several years ago mandating healthier foods as part of the School Lunch program. It was not a total success (tomato sauce can be considered a vegetable), but far more healthier food is being supported now than ever before. The general idea is to lessen the amount of processed foods and increase the amounts of fresh foods.

With all the focus on lunch, it is perhaps easy to forget the students are perfectly capable of eating snacks at all times of the day. A growing number of youth-service organizations (including schools) are focusing on this as well. There are enough of these groups providing healthier snacks that there are even some independent studies of the trend:

This is only about the foods offered to students at lunch and snack times. It has nothing to do with the explosion of school gardens and other programming to teach kids about healthy food. Over the past few years, many schools have planted gardens and added garden topics to their cirricula. There are certainly a lot more healthier food options (and discussion) in schools today than when I was a kid.

The Hungry Hiker

December 27, 2012

hikerI like hiking all year round. I have had had some wonderful hikes in various national parks, including Olympic, Arches, Canyonlands, Shenandoah, Muir Woods, and others. Each of these hikes has included a food stop. Oftentimes I bring my own lunch, but sometimes I have stopped at the food concession. So an article in the current issue of the National Parks magazine of the National Parks Conservation Association really caught my attention.

The article outlined long standing efforts at some national parks to introduce healthier, more sustainably produced food (often organic but not always). The National Park Service has actually been implementing a systemwide “Healthy and Sustainable Food Initiative” for the past several years. The general idea is to promote healthy lifestyles and local economies via fresher food. The National Park Service is setting the policy via its concessionaire contracts. The concessionaires will be offering varied healthy, sustainable food options at reasonable prices. As you might imagine from a governmental agency, terms like “organic”, “fair trade”, “low fat”, “low sodium’, and “seasonal” are defined in an official Healthy and Sustainable Food Choice Glossary finalized by the Park Service a few months back.

This effort will potentially have a powerful impact on both health and local economies. There are approximately 250 food and beverage facilities in the national parks system, serving upwards of 20 million meals annually. That’s a lot of food being upgraded across the country. As for me, not only am I looking forward to the next great hike (or historical adventure) in a national park no matter where it is, I am also looking forward to the fresh food that will be waiting for me at the end.

National Parks magazine article

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