That’s more important than it may seem, because as BC Chief Business and Financial Officer Judith Kehoe pointed out in our story, kids in high school are going to be largely set in their ways when it comes to making choices about food. That is why it is encouraging to see Bethlehem continuing with the (admittedly imperfect) regulations at the middle school and elementary levels. Students at those ages will hopefully retain a healthy eating mindset when it comes time to make more choices.
Public schools have a difficult tightrope to walk when it comes to feeding students. On one side is the requirement the program breaks even, on the other are students’ appetites for unhealthy foods and weighing over it all is the expectation that a school, to which the care of our children is entrusted, hold itself to a higher standard.
This is why we were glad to see the Healthy Kids Committee responding strongly to the decision to change the lunch like at BC. We hope their call for sensible solutions rings true, and agree that should BC continue to rely heavily on a la carte items for the solvency of its meal program, it must also offer palatable, affordable and healthy options along with any less nutritious offerings.
But we also call on parents to set the building blocks for these choices to be made. Expecting students, especially those who are 16 years old, to be insulated from temptations in this day and age is a pipe dream. What must be done is to equip them with the knowledge and ability to make healthy choices – and that starts at an early age, at home.
No matter what’s on the menu, a healthy lifestyle is a matter of choice.