Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa immediately grips its readers with eye-opening statistics and facts about our nation's children, the foods they consume and resulting effects on their behavior and health. “Nineteen percent of American children are obese and 35 percent are overweight and the trend is increasing. The prevalence of overweight or obesity in children will nearly double by 2030.” Okay, you have my attention.
There may appear to be a simple solution to improving our children’s diets – serve organic, healthy foods at home and pack a lunch composed of these healthy options. Not so fast – Amy’s own journey began when she found her child was forgoing healthy home packed lunches for sugary drinks and snacks at school. What inevitably followed was the formation of Two Angry Moms, a documentary and, now Lunch Wars, created to not only spread the word and provide parental support, but to also provide a game plan in overhauling school lunch options.
While I do not have any children of my own, this book certainly reinforced the issue of school lunch quality – and food quality in general – for our youth. While I found some of the points to be redundant throughout the book, I imagine it would be an invaluable tool for any parent looking to take a stand on these issues in their community. I still strongly believe good food habits begin at home, both with the foods being served and the eating habits of family members. But reading this book also shed new light on my stance: maybe the problem is not just that most schools offer processed foods for lunches and sugary options for snacks; perhaps many parents need to be educated on the effects of processed foods and affordable, wholesome alternatives. To this point, such alternatives need to be affordable, and for many families stocking the pantry with organic products is just not financially an option.
“Our children’s life expectancy is now shorter than our own and we can expect them to be plagued with worse health than our own as well.” You can call these parents hippies or granolas, but this is an issue that will not solve itself without parents, administrators and the government working together.