The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food is also trying to work at the state level to try to improve the nutritional value of the lunch served in school. You can help by calling Governor Paterson at 518-474-8390 to get this legislation moving.
Here are more details from their website:
New York Coalition for Healthy School Food has worked closely with the NYS Governor Paterson’s office to advance New York State legislation to improve all food in K-12 schools. Over the last several years legislation has been voted on but not passed, and all versions have contained significant compromises that benefit the food industry.NYCHSF believes that the following are critical to the success of state legislation to improve school foods:We do this by:
- Offer a whole foods plant-based (bean, lentil, tofu) entrée each day as a healthy option
- Offer an enriched non-dairy milk option to any students who request it
- Eliminate artificial ingredients from meals and all other foods offered in schools (artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners)
- Eliminate all added transfats
- Eliminate all deep or flash fried products
- For grain products, offer only 100% whole grains
- Reduce added oils and sugars.
- Focus on whole plant-based foods including fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains
- Offer nutrition education which is not influenced by the food industry and is science based
- Restrict competitive foods to only fruits, vegetables, legumes, all natural trail mixes, and other health supporting items
- Encourage farm to school programs with economic incentives
- Provide reimbursements that provide enough funding so cafeterias are not dependent on a la carte sales
While schools currently do not receive nearly enough funding to provide meals that meet these requirements, we should strive to do what is best for children, and the recommendations above reflect current nutrition knowledge. We must make children’s health a priority. Since habits are developed early in life, and because schools are the place where children go to learn, it is imperative that schools set the best example and serve only health supporting foods.
There is currently no movement on NY State legislation to improve school food. We are working to get legislation reintroduced. Contact Governor Paterson's office to request legislation that addresses the above points.