American school lunches

*Boggle*

Under the National School Lunch Program, participating schools must provide lunches — including free or reduced price lunches — with minimum amounts of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and whole grains. Also, in what presumably falls outside the hunger-free aspect of the act, there’s a calorie cap: 850 for high school lunches, 700 for middle schools and a mere 650 calories for kids in elementary school.

What?

They’re trying to limit some teenage boy to 850 calories at lunch?

Seriously?

Have they entirely lost all of their senses?

38 comments on “American school lunches

  1. Just to annoy Interested again, I’ll just point out again that the value system of the ruling class is the value system of bourgeois women. For whom the calorie is a mortal enemy.

    It has now thus become the received wisdom that actuall nutrition is anti-nutritious, and the less nutrition you get the healthier you are. This of course all ties to the general Puritan attitude that suffering is holy, so feeling hungry is proof that you are doing the moral thing (not indulging your depraved sinful impulse to sate your hunger).

  2. “the school district’s director of school and community nutrition, was on hand to explain that the federal government now governs both food choices and portion sizes in most American school districts including Harlan County”

    Not that it’s a responsibility or power conferred on the Feds by the hallowed written Constitution.

  3. “fruits”. Sigh, another uncountable noun dies the death. I guess they make wheats into breads and have curry with rices. I blame the wimmin.

  4. “…the value system of the ruling class is the value system of bourgeois women. ”
    If you’ll accept a proportion of those women do, in fact, have very small dicks & balls the size of grape pips. Otherwise it’s the value system of middle class academics. Hence the “cycle to work” nonsense. Great if you live in the expensive inner suburbs & the destination’s a West End publishers, a hot shower, change of clothes & an Imac. Not so if the working day consists of lifting heavy weights in a biting wind. Or the “smoking free workplace”. Looks less essential when the workplace is a cavernous machine shop full of welding fumes. Hence the advised calorie counts for those who’ve burnt off that amount of energy before the lunch break.
    All a bit strange when office workers are still very much a minority.None of them seem to notice the world they live in is enabled by people doing various forms of manual work.

  5. Glory in the socialist paradise of “one bureaucratic dictat fits all”. Assuming “High School” covers 11-16 year olds like the UK system, they are mandating that a 4ft tall thin 11 year old has the same calorific intake as a 6ft 5in 16st 16 year old.

    Still, people never understand tyranny until they are under the boot themselves. They voted for this, they can enjoy it.

  6. All a bit strange when office workers are still very much a minority.None of them seem to notice the world they live in is enabled by people doing various forms of manual work.

    Narcissism. They see their world as “the world” and everything else is sort of vaguely out there and not very important. Hence, when the matrons say “people want nice pubs with organic food and no smoking”, that’s because they do, and they see themselves as “the people” except for a few foot-dragging miscreants who need hammering into shape.

  7. @Hector Pascal

    No, ‘fruits’ is fine – it means various kinds of fruit. Maybe it would have been better written to use ‘fruit’ or not, but still correct.

    Just as ‘I love fine wine’ or ‘I love fine wines’ are both correct with slightly different meanings.

  8. the value system of the ruling class is the value system of bourgeois women.

    [or]…it’s the value system of middle class academics.

    I think you’re both giving this far too much credibility, like they have a value system at all. The values are reverse-engineered onto the prejudices. Take calories, for example. Calories are bad if they come in the form of chips, processed meat, coca cola &c. But they are clearly good if they come in the form of hummus or pomegranate molasses. Do you know how many calories there are in artisanal cheese? The same amount as in processed mousetrap, of course.* Cycling isn’t Good because it’s green, it’s good because it gives you an opportunity for cycling-related smugfuckery on the roads.** Public transport, however woeful, must be better than private because it just is and we’ll find a way somehow…

    (Incidentally, even the BBC admitted in 2009 that cars were probably, overall, greener than buses, but Buses are Good and Cars are Bad, so farewell that sacred cow)

    *I don’t deny I’d rather have the hummus / chevre in favour of the cheesy chips and pizza pie, but then I’m a massive food snob. I just don’t mind admitting it, unlike the grauniadistas who would rather die.

    ** I’d love to see the water use from all those arriving-at-work showers costed out against the emissions saved from driving in.

  9. Oh there is a value system. It’s defined around their preferences being different & therefore better. So hummus has virtue. Except if you go where poor people eat ground chick peas with oil & garlic because it’s cheap. In which case it hasn’t

  10. Sam –

    First of all, ‘smugfuckery’ is a great neologism and I intend to steal it and use it liberally.

    Second, I think Ian B is on to something here. The more he bangs on about the bourgeois matron/Puritan thing, the more I’m convinced. In fact, I’d pretty much come to the same conclusion as his initial comment yesterday, when I was thinking about ‘the obesity epidemic.’ I think Ian goes a bit astray with the ‘suffering is holy’ bit, but the general thesis is sound. It’s not so much that restraint is good, but that indulgence is bad.

    What I was wondering yesterday is how to explain the vehemence, the intensity, of the anti-obesity movement. It can’t be merely an aesthetic response, can it? There’s too much a whiff of moral fervour about it. No, obesity is the product of sloth and gluttony, which means moral weakness on the part of the overweight.

    It used to be ‘lips that touch wine shall never touch mine.’ Now it’s ‘lips that touch burgers’. Of course, that doesn’t scan or rhyme, but that’s OK in the great scheme of the moral crusade.

  11. I think Ian goes a bit astray with the ‘suffering is holy’ bit, but the general thesis is sound. It’s not so much that restraint is good, but that indulgence is bad.

    Fair enough. There are various ways to put it; maybe another one would be to say that it’s the taking of pleasure in not taking pleasure, if you see what I mean.

  12. Also, perhaps part of the reason for picking obesity is simply that it’s an indicator of inferior moral character (sloth and gluttony) that cannot be hidden. It’s very visible. You can look at someone and not be aware that they drink too much, but a fat person is fat, and that is visible always.

  13. …perhaps part of the reason for picking obesity is simply that it’s an indicator of inferior moral character (sloth and gluttony) that cannot be hidden.

    Yes. I believe you’re right.

  14. it’s the taking of pleasure in not taking pleasure

    Oh, I don’t disagree with that. Tommy M had their number; they hate bear baiting not because it causes pain to the bear, but because it gives pleasure to the spectators, an’ all that jazz.

  15. I’ve never been much convinced by the Puritan argument. mainly because I’ve never been convinced there is a “Puritan”argument in the first place. It’s always been them & us. The Puritans saw themselves as ‘godly’ because they regarded the hoi poloi (OK surplus def article, Dearieme but with it, put up) as ungodly. The abstinence is to separate them from the working man’s beer. The ‘plain wholesome food’ (& the death of English cuisine) because they could afford the good quality raw materials to enable leaving out all the culinary devices that make crap edible.
    And by & large they won. And having won, they then turned 180 degrees to make themselves different again. Atheism replaced godliness. Amusing Beaujolais’, tap water. Nouvelle cuisine, beef & potatoes. Now affluence has spread they make themselves different by denying themselves the benefits of affluence & trying to insist everyone else does likewise. Once they’ve succeeded they’ll just find another set of fads..

  16. To sum up: In essence there is the sort of person wants to tell other people what to do. In the absence of a crown, a general’s uniform or a billion in the bank, convincing people they should follow a preferred lifestyle’s fair substitute. I’d be a lot more convinced of “Puritanism” if there was any sign of the advocates of the creed actually doing much of it themselves. It’s a lot easier cycling to work when there’s a car following you with your briefcase in it.

  17. bis bis*

    I’m not entirely convinced about the ‘Puritan’ bit myself. Maybe if it were ‘puritan’…

    It’s more than just trying to distinguish one’s group identity via tastes, though. If that were so then the arbiters of taste would be merely contemptuous. But the tone they adopt goes beyond just contempt. It’s as if it has a moral tone to it.

    There’s so much about British culture that is only explainable if it’s seen through the lens of a moral crusade. As Harold Wilson said, ‘The Labour Party is a moral crusade or it is nothing.’ And if you visit Labour-leaning blogs you’ll eventually come across the phrase, ‘more Methodist than Marxist.’

    That’s why I see it as less Calvinist Puritanism and more Wesleyan Methodism. Of course Wesley got his ideas from the Lutheran Pietists in Germany.

    So I’m more inclined to call it ‘secular Methodism’ than Ian’s ‘Puritanism’, but his general idea is good.

    *Sorry. I’ll get me coat.

  18. @BIS & PST

    I think there’s more of a trace element of a group of people who think that enjoying yourself is bad. This is why I do buy the puritan argument to an extent. It’s not just about bossing people about – plenty of people enjoy that – and it’s not just about them’n’us – it’s quite possible to think that another group of people are perfectly ghastly without wanting to spoil their fun. It’s about a certain type of person who thinks that if you’re having a good time, then you must be doing something morally wrong.

    What doesn’t help is that there are ways of having a good time that do result in things going a bit wrong (hangovers – or cirrhosis, come to that – frying your synapses, accidental pregnancies or STDs, &c &c) but a quick look through two of the main homes of puritannical piss – the Mail and the Grauniad – will show loads of examples of how anything good must be in some way bad, either dangerous to your health, bad for the planet, liable to encourage promiscuity (itself bad, for some reason) or to inhibit expression, offensive to some other culture or demographic, offensive to the silent majority, offensive to mothers, offensive to the childless, inflating house prices, harmful to house prices, telling children the wrong thing, telling children things they are too young for, not telling children enough, hiding things from children, anything to do with children, too expensive, too cheap, the preserve of the rich, cheapened, elitist, pandering to the lowest common denominator, simplistic, inaccessible, fffckkkkkkckkkkccckkkkkkkkk.

    We are talking about people on the right and the left who want everyone to be miserable becuase they are miserable so it’s not fair and equal if you’re not too.

    As an thought experiment, I present the recent BBC story about Roxxxy, the robot sex doll. I am willing to bet cash money that a) someone will create a widely marketable and relatively lifelike sex robot very soon and b) despite the fact that it is an inanimate object, has no feelings, consciousness or sentience, and has the square root of fuck all to do with them, a lot of feminist bores object loudly in the media to the idea of sex robots.

  19. I think too much weight is being given to the ‘puritan’ theory. You shouldn’t ignore the power of well-meaning idiocy.

    I think there are a lot of people out there who simply cannot understand that someone might choose to do something which would be less than optimal for their health simply because it’s enjoyable. To them, a person who does that is making an utterly incomprehensible decision: they appear irrational, and therefore incapable.

    You see a very similar tendency when it comes to money, too. The way lottery-players are viewed by many is a good example: that they play despite the low chances of winning does not (necessarily) mean that they’re idiots, but that it’s fun despite the poor odds.

    Similarly again, some people will insist all sports fans are idiot neanderthals – again, because they can’t understand how anyone can enjoy watching sport.

  20. I think you’re being a bit unfair on the cycling element, most people I know cycling to work aren’t sandal wearing hippies, they fall in to one of two categories.
    1. They want to stay fit, many do other activities too, hill walking, kayaking, triathlons.
    2. They want to save money

    @sam “** I’d love to see the water use from all those arriving-at-work showers costed out against the emissions saved from driving in”
    You would only need a shower if you fall into the category that cycles for fitness, as proven by myself and millions of Dutch people. If you do need a shower it is almost certainly just displacing the one you would have taken at home but didn’t bother with; because why would you take a shower just to get on a bike, work up a sweat and have another shower an hour later?

  21. Philip Scott Thomas-

    “Puritan” isn’t a good word, but I’m not trying to describe a literal religious sect (e.g. Calvinism, Methodism, Pietism) and the word “puritan” has enough general currency in the population to be useful. It’s after all worth mentioning that it was originally a derogatory term invented by others (like whig and tory and hippie etc) which just referred to those obsessed with religious purity.

    But I think what you’ve got is a common ideological thread that starts with the puritans of Cromwell’s era, then revives with the Methodist surge in the 19th century, with the focus gradually shifting from religious purity to lifestyle purity, largely driven (particularly in the USA) by almost universal post-millennialism which was focussed on christianising and expunging sin to prepare the way for Christ’s return.

    “Secularised Evangelical Pietism” might be better, but it’s considerably less immediately clear what that means to other people.

    Another aspect I find interesting from a religous perspective is how something that started off Calvinist essentially devolved into a kind of Antinomianism, as with the New Labour project and Tony Blair in particular.

  22. Sam>

    “As an thought experiment, I present the recent BBC story about Roxxxy, the robot sex doll. I am willing to bet cash money that a) someone will create a widely marketable and relatively lifelike sex robot very soon and b) despite the fact that it is an inanimate object, has no feelings, consciousness or sentience, and has the square root of fuck all to do with them, a lot of feminist bores object loudly in the media to the idea of sex robots.”

    To be fair, that would be quite literally the objectification of women for sexual purposes. Personally, I think the lesson there is that if you objectify women as sexual objects, you’ll end up with a sex doll instead of a woman, but you can see why even non-feminists might be rather discomforted by the idea.

    Magnus>

    You left off the possibility of saving time, as well. If you’re fairly fit, a bike is the quickest way to get around London during rush hour.

  23. Ian B

    “Secularised Evangelical Pietism” might be better, but it’s considerably less immediately clear what that means to other people.

    Alternatively, try just ‘secular Methodism’.

    …something that started off Calvinist essentially devolved into a kind of Antinomianism

    Heh. If you can reference something as esoteric as Antinomianism then you have my respect.

  24. My wifelet pointed out that the teenagers could always eat some more calories at breakfast or supper. When I was an undergraduate I always ate a substantial-calorie and fairly-healthy breakfast but did not always eat lunch. Various experts have advised me that either breakfast or supper should be the main meal of the day,

  25. Hmm. Restricting teenage boys to 850 calories (or at all) sounds a bad idea. But is any single commentator on this thread lean or non-lardy? I’m not btw, having been 9 1/2 stone when I started work and 13 now.

  26. @ Luke
    Most people seem to regard me as “non-lardy”. Your query does not ask about height – I am average (5’8″) for my own generation but below-average for yours
    When I was an undergraduate, my optimal weight was 8stone 4lb; in the periods in my 50s when I was moderately fit I was mostly under 9 stone. Now over 10 stone but planning to gradually get back to 9 stone or less.

  27. ” But is any single commentator on this thread lean or non-lardy?”
    5’9″ 10 1/2 stone but waist size 32 in. Calorie intake, when I’m working 4000 -4500 p/d but can be anything down to zero when I’m not, So the weight drops as well. Can’t make fat.

    And I’m not convinced of the puritanism thing because so many of today’s fun hating authoritarians were part of or inheritors of the hedonistic sixties. Except of course they weren’t. Because hard on the heels of the free love & drugs anarchists came the ones who took ownership. Who specified what sort of free love & with who & which drugs & when. By the end of the decade the whole thing was as rigidly conformist as a home counties golf club.
    It’s just the way things work.
    Take this school meals issue. No doubt it starts out as a perfectly reasonable idea. To ensure kids get an adequate diet & someone’s not making a fast buck feeding them shit. But then the zealots move in. They take over because they’ve endless time & energy to devote to it. And it becomes less about food for kids & more about control as they out bid each other on prescriptiveness. More prescriptive is more control.
    Actually, I think it helps to look at the historical stuff IanB talks about in, this way. Don’t look at the philosophies, look at the people. It’s not the religious principles that are important so much as who gets to implement them. If the creed is prescriptive, the way to be the big cheese in the movement is to be more of a true believer. A bit more rigid in the interpretations. Moderation in alcohol becomes abstinence. Dedication to good deeds becomes decrying anything that isn’t good deeds. So pleasure & enjoyment become sins.
    Where I would agree with Ian is that there’s such a history of this philosophy of self denial, it’s easy to sell it to the punters. It’s not confined to protestantism. Catholic church was doing this stuff from the start. Martyrs, monastic orders… You want to get your name on the roll of saints? Go start an order that renounces something. Talking’s a good one…Oh, sorry, Been done. Try again. Or even Christianity. Look at the Orthodox end of Judaism for nitpicking prescription. Or Islam. And again, the way to the top is be more Islamic than the next guy.
    Problem we’ve got these days is we’ve bred far too many administrators with far to little to do. So they go find stuff. Secular fundamentalism, or something..

  28. Philip ST-

    Alternatively, try just ‘secular Methodism’.

    Well, to be fair to myself, I did actually use terms like methodist for a while, but then people start talking about particular Christian denominations and, what about the Baptists, and so on, so I defaulted back to “puritan” as it has a more general connotation. Most people know the word and can assign a concept to it without actually knowing anything about Christianity and its history at all. And since the general theme of these movements derives (in simplified terms) from the original historic Puritan faction in England, I think it has some merit anyway.

    I remember writing something somewhere, possibly Counting Cats, to the effect that it comes down to whether one is a Roundhead (puritan) or a Cavalier and joked about a “New Cavalier Movement”. Terminology is always a problem.

  29. You didn’t annoy me. I was just asking if you have much luck, women wise, because you seem to see the evil hand of the matriarchy in everything.

    It was a serious question, based on your anonymity. I wouldn’t dream of asking the real you such a personal question, but since no one knows who Ian B is (I assume?) I thought it fair enough.

    We routinely ask what people’s motivations are, surely.

    I love women, am married, have lots of women friends – maybe that colours my belief that they’re not a threat. I don’t know.

    But as I say, you didn’t annoy me, how or why would you?

  30. Interested,

    I write what I consider to be the closest thing to the truth, and have spent years trying to understand the social dynamic in our society. Your question was a foolish one with an insult payload, and it is tiresome of you to pretend otherwise.

    If you actually read what I wrote, and were capable of understanding it (which may from what you write be an overly optimistic request) you would have recognised that I am not saying anything about “women” in general, but about a specific class who are socially powerful as a group. It may surprise and disappoint you to know that I, too, know several women and have even talked to them occasionally, and am thus of the opinion that the women who purport to represent “womankind” are not very representative at all.

    Hence, for instance, I was not, if you read my words, saying “women don’t like pubs”. I was saying that this small, narrow class of women don’t like pubs and (incorrectly) consider them to be masculine spaces. I am criticising maybe 1 woman in 1000. They just happen to be the 1 woman in 1000 with her hand on society’s moral tiller.

    So I don’t know why you’re winding me up. It may be simple idiocy. Or possibly a misplaced chivalry. Whatever. Try being substantive next time.

  31. “Secularised Evangelical Pietism” might be better, but it’s considerably less immediately clear what that means to other people.

    On the other hand, you can then abbreviate it to SEP and call them seppos, which kills two birds with 14 lb.

  32. Ah – ok. No luck with women it is, then.

    I’m thinking War of the Worlds on the record player, patchouli oil on the denim, national health specs, sitting in your bedroom drawing endless repros of comics and LP covers while everyone else is out having fun…

    I understand it all now 🙂

  33. You have things remarkably wrong, Inty, but your gnawing insecurity is quite fascinating to observe. Do carry on. IIRC, you went into one of these spasms before. Is it a medication thing?

  34. Can somebody please tell these morons that growing children not only need lots of calories, they also need lots of fats so that their brains develop properly.

    We need essential fatty acids to make important things like myelin sheaths, and they cannot be synthesised from other foods.

    Children need more fat than adults and without it they will suffer.

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