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Chicago area school bans lunches brought from home

Written by The Sarcasmist on April 11, 2011 - Comments (15)

Steamed broccoli's fun cousin

At the Little Village Academy in Chicago, students are banned from bringing their lunch from home. Of course, there is an exception for those who have a medical excuse.

The school principal, Elsa Carmona, has stated that the intention of the ban is to help children eat better. “It’s about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It’s milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception.” (LA Times)

The policy was enacted after watching students bring bottles of soda and chips on field trips.

Some believe that the ban is designed to drive more revenue to the companies that provide food for the school district. The federal government pays school districts for each free or subsidized lunch, and the catering company receives a fee from the district per lunch.

So obviously some concerned residents are appalled when they learn that a third party company is making money by providing healthy food to their children. Just because the school system is able to provide healthy free and reduced-cost food to students, it doesn’t mean that parents should not have the right to feed their kids chips and soda. It’s only bad if a parent cause their offspring to suffer an abrupt fatality, for example, by leaving a child in a locked car; but, it is OK if a parent would like to inflict gradual damage to the child’s health by a diet of sugar and salt. It is not important whether or not a child has access to nutritious food, as long as no private company makes any money by providing such sustenance to our kids.


  1. I dunno about Chicago’s school lunches, but I remember what ours were like and I have seen what they pass off as food here in Florida, and I’m not impressed. My son is in first grade and has multiple severe food allergies; I’d bet anything he takes one of the most healthy lunches in the school (usually a sandwich on whole wheat bread or as a roll-up in a whole wheat tortilla, a fresh fruit or veggie, a small treat, and a 100% juice box). And his snacks are fruits and veggies… always. The best part? He makes his own menu every week. That’s right…he CHOOSES the healthy food all on his own. He’s 6.

  2. My kid is a vegetarian. In our school system, he’s able to buy lunch once a week. And one of the regular vegetarian main courses is cheese sticks. That’s right, breaded, fried cheese. I’m pretty sure that pretty much anything I send from home is going to be better for him than that.

    Oh, and he absolutely loves carrots and broccoli. All on his own. This is a ridiculous policy–we’re not medically vegetarian; it’s an ethical decision. How would they cope with us?

    • I agree with Beth. I do not yet have kids, but I am vegetarian and intend to raise my children as such at least unitl they are old enough to decide for themselves it’s the healthy choice. And fried cheese sticks is not a healthy vegetairian choice by any means. To be quite honest they are probably cook meat greasy meat juice anyways. Which makes it pointless to call them vegetarian.

      I also agree with A.B. The school lunch I remember here hardly passes as what I would have called food. Maybe Chicago is different, but I doubt it.

    • Kimber,

      It’s not fair for you to subject your child to that kind of abuse. If you wait until they’re old enough to make their own culinary decisions to feed them meat, they won’t be able to digest the meat they’d want to eat.

      At least give your kids a chance and feed them a normal human diet for the first years of their life.


    • Vegetarianism is a joke. You have canines for a reason. I attend Penn State University. I’m 6’00” 215lbs and have more natural strength than a great majority of the gym lurkers on campus despite my limited work out frequency including the gentleman closest to my weight on the vegetarian lifting team. I only drink milk, water, and sometimes diet soda. I consume approximately 32 oz of chicken salad a week, and 14 oz of full fat steak every day coupled with 8 servings of fruit, and 8 servings of vegetables, and no grains. Especially whole wheat. Something tells me that if that slice of bread is going to take 7 times as long to process in my body than my much more delicious apple, it’s bad for me. That’s called being intelligent. Oh, and I love my burgers. Usually with bacon and very sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and smothered in ranch dressing.

    • @Quack- Cool story, Bro. How does that have any bearing on the culinary choices of others? If thats how they want to eat, great. It’s not like they were trying to convert you to their diet.

      @Beth- As a parent you totally have the right to make these decisions for your child, especially if the alternative is the school. A family of teachers has shown me that the people in charge of running the school (and the school board, which is often composed of people who have NO clue…) are usually more concerned with their numbers than with the students.

      As a student, I’d be offended that they assume I cannot make my own decisions.

  3. Eh, not one your better articles. I’m betting the 3rd party providing this food will be doing what the rest of them do: using grains. And I mean, that’s straight carbohydrate as well. Fillers, sandwiches, breading, rolls, pasta, etc. All cheap forms of sustenance. And they’re a company and will keep their costs low. So, the end result is really restricted freedom more so than anything else. As a child, I packed lunch every year from K-12. A typical lunch might be chicken salad w/ bacon, watermelon, some vegetable w/ excessive ranch dressing, and milk bought at the school. High fat, high protein, low carb, and I wound up a noted wrestler in the Pennsylvania high school wrestling system at 215 lbs having just under 14% body fat (very close to the average Olympian’s body fat) AND suffered no attention disorder (your brain is 80% fat so I have to think my diet helped sustain its proper function). The kids will stay fat until recess is extend past 15 minutes, and the kids are motivated to step outside after school. The carbs they have been and will consume to kill them will just keep killing them unless the diet is completely altered or until they just learn to move.

    • I’m mostly vegetarian because of the environmental impacts of consuming meat…not because of fat…watch where your chicken comes from..it may be healthy to you, but not to the environment. I’m a marathon runner and a rock climber by the way.

  4. I dunno, I seem to remember half the fun of “field trips” were the snack/junk food we got to take with us on them. We ate mostly healthy meals at home (were school lunches healthy??) Seems kinda silly to me, more and more abdication/removal of responsibility from where it belongs. DT

  5. I guess you chose to glaze over the facts that the article reported:

    “The ban has had two effects. First, more government money funneled to the school lunch provider. And second, ironically, less students eating the meals… At Little Village, most students must take the meals served in the cafeteria or go hungry or both. During a recent visit to the school, dozens of students took the lunch but threw most of it in the garbage uneaten. Though CPS has improved the nutritional quality of its meals this year, it also has seen a drop-off in meal participation among students, many of whom say the food tastes bad. This is the perfect illustration of how the government’s one-size-fits-all mandate on nutrition fails time and time again.”

    Any food-from-home ban puts more money in the pockets of the school food provider, Chartwells-Thompson, and that money is federal money. As if our nation isn’t already sick with insane debt, we don’t need to be forking over additional federal funds to a catering service for food that ends up in the trash.

    How about we hear what the kids at the school think:

    “Who thinks the lunch is not good enough?” the Chicago Tribune recently observed seventh-grader Fernando Dominguez shouting to his lunch mates in Spanish and English at Little Village Academy. It‘s a public school on Chicago’s West Side.

    As numerous hands reached for the ceiling, Dominguez led a chant: “We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch! We should bring our own lunch!”

  6. Who the hell does the principle think she is? Her job is to teach not raise the children for their parents! It’s the parent’s job to raise their children as they see fit not Ms Cardona’s! Both the principal and the school board need to be fired as they obviously forgot what their jobs are, to teach and not raise the children as they see fit. How arrogant to tell parents they can’t send their children lunches from home. My kids pack their own lunches everyday or they don’t eat. They have healthy food to eat but that is my choice, not the schools or some nosy school principal’s. These idiot have obviously forgotten who pays their salary, we the parents. If the parents in that school district allow themselves to be treated that way then they are fools and poor parents.

  7. Canines_to_eat_Mr_Quack


    I agree, vegetarianism is a joke. That’s why I’ll really enjoy; firstly, cooking your family members on steak in front of your eyes(having you nicely tied to something for restraining purposes) and then eat them followed by cooking you, one part at a time.

    We have Canines for a reason, no?

  8. This would NOT work for me either. we do not eat any processed food. the food in the lunch room is disgusting, it doesn’t even smell appetizing. my son brings his lunch everyday and it is FAR healthier then anything his school would offer. But, after working many years as a pre-school teacher, i see the junk that parents put in the lunches, its horrendous. I would feel so guilty serving some of it to the kids. It doesn’t take that much time or thought to make something for your child that will actually help them grow strong bodies.

  9. nightingale801

    From everything I read this one was a #winner: “Steamed broccoli’s fun cousin” and about the comments Wooh:D finally sarcasm society gets the attention it deserves! :) but what was stupid is: “The policy was enacted after watching students bring bottles of soda and chips on field trips.” Seriously? Field trips are the exception to the rule, when you suppose to bring soda and chips and probably start smoking:D

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