What’s in that?

When I was a teenager (I’m going to date myself here), a McDonald’s cheeseburger was 39 cents. That’s right, I said cents (you can’t even find that symbol on my keyboard). At some point I began to wonder, what is in a cheeseburger that only costs 39 cents?

Flash forward…now I am a mother of school-aged children and my pondering over 39 cent cheeseburgers has evolved into $2.50 school lunches. I began to wonder, what’s in those lunches? And I came across a startling fact– once you factor in operational costs like labor, equipment, transpiration and material the actual amount spent on food is roughly $1.00! Can you really make a child a nutritious meal for a dollar?

According to Alice Water’s, owner of Chez Panisse, a globally renowned restaurant known for its locally-grown, organic ingredients, the answer is a resounding NO!  In a 2009, Op-Ed in the New York Times Waters estimated that it would cost roughly twice as much ($5.00 per child) to provide a kid with a healthy meal.

We have a long way to go, but living in San Joaquin County where fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful, we are well-positioned to move further away from processed and closer to “real” food. In fact, Lodi Unified already offers a fruit and veggie bar as part of their school lunch option. And last time I walked through the cafeteria I was tempted  to grab a salad for myself.

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