Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Monday, June 21, 2010

What's in Tuesday's Lunch - 6/22

It's the last day of school lunch for this year. The menu lists "Cook's Surprise" so I called the food services office to ask what they would be serving at Sea Cliff. I have to say that every time I've called the office, they have been very responsive and helpful, regardless of the question or the issue. They are clearing out the freezers for the year so tomorrow (literally - that's what they said), you can choose from any of the following entrees:

Applegate Hot Dogs
Mozzarella Sticks
Chicken Nuggets

They did not know which sides would be served.

Apart from the Applegate hot dogs, the list is a real who's who of processed commodity foods. So, just for old times sake, I'll recount the ingredients for you.

The national school lunch program lets us give our bulk USDA commodity mozzarella cheese to a processor (in this case, Farm Rich) who we then pay to turn it into mozzarella sticks. This is fried cheese with 280 mg of sodium and 9g of fat (3.5g saturated fat). The sauce provides an extra wallop of salt (870 mg in a 1/2 cup - I'm sure they eat less than that much but still.) Here are the ingredients: Low moisture part skim mozzarella cheese (pasteurized part skim milk, salt, enzymes), bleached white flour, enriched bleached wheat flour (flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), soybean oil, enriched yellow corn flour (corn flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), food starch-modified, contains % or less of the following: salt, onion powder, wheat starch, natural butter flavor, whey, sugar, egg, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, sodium aluminum phosphate, soy lecithin, extractives of paprika, dextrose, nonfat dried milk, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), sodium alginate, soy flour, oleoresin paprika, maltodextrin, artificial flavor, tocopherols, natural flavor, spices, methylcellulose, dehydrated parsley, garlic powder, monoglycerides, triglycerides, yeast, sodium ascorbate, EDTA (as a preservative), calcium propionate (as a preservative), caramel color.

The chicken nuggets do have some whole grain in the breading -- but they are fried Tyson nuggets with a lot of additives. Like the sticks, they arrive frozen and are reheated. The chicken is USDA commodity chicken. They have 490 mg of sodium and9g of fat of which 1/5g is saturated. Here are the ingredients: chicken, water, textured soy protein concentrate, isolated soy protein with less than 2% soy lecithin, seasoning (corn syrup solids, brown sugar, dextrose, salt, vinegar powder (maltodextrin, modified corn starch, dried vinegar), garlic powder, onion powder, chicken type flavor (hydrolyzed corn gluten, autolyzed yeast extract, sunflower oil, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate)), sodium acid pryophospate. Breaded with: whole wheat flour, enriched bleached wheat flour (enriched with niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water, modified wheat starch, salt, soybean oil, spice, yellow corn flour, paprika, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), garlic powder, natural flavor, extractives of turmeric, fumaric acid. Breading set in vegetable oil.

These used to be described as "all beef" sliders - but they are not. Buns are not whole wheat - 279 mg of sodium, and they do contain high fructose corn syrup. The Beef Patties(13g of fat) are a processed food made from USDA commodity beef. Here are the ingredients: Beef, water, textured vegetable protein (soy, flour, zinc oxide, niacinamide, ferrous sulfate, copper gluconate, vitamin A palmitate, calcium pantothenate, thiamin mononitrate (B1), pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6), riboflavin (B2), cyanocobalamin (B12)). Arrives frozen.

The hot dogs are from Applegate Farms. The ingredients are just: beef, water, sea salt, less than 2% of the following: celery juice, sodium lactate (from beets), lactic acid starter culture (not from milk), onion powder, spices, garlic powder, paprika. They have 6g of fat(2.5g saturated) and 380 mg of sodium. They are dairy-, casein- and gluten-free.

And that's the last lunch of the year. We hope it's a final good-bye to highly processed USDA commodity foods and have a lot of reason to hope that it is. The administration has voiced a commitment to getting rid of the worst of these foods for next year and has hired a consultant to help put these and other changes in places thanks in part to the commitment of the parents on the nutrition committee. If you'd like to read a recap of all we've done this year, you can see our guest post at

You may be wondering what will happen to the blog with no lunch to report on -- but don't despair, we'll be here for you all summer. We have several interesting guest blogs scheduled, lots of food news and ideas, camp lunch talk, and most importantly, the district will be working on revamping the menus for next fall with the involvement of the nutrition committee. We should also get an outside evaluation of our current lunch program.

Feel free to post a comment on any topics you'd be interested in.


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