Victoria Yeisley makes a great point in her recent Viewpoints letter “The cost of eating unhealthy is higher,” though unfortunately her letter misses the point of why the District 97 lunch reform was created in the first place. Dist. 97 parents demanded healthy and tasty offerings that they weren’t receiving from the previous vendor, and they wanted to see consistency between healthy eating learning in the classroom and what was being served at lunch.

The Dist. 97 decision to hire the District 200 food service was the right one, and it is a program that gives us a good starting point for making additional improvements. According to the parents and children at Beye and Irving where the lunches are being served, more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are being served, and the food is a major step in the right direction.

To Victoria’s point, we absolutely need to define and articulate high-bar nutritional standards for the new Dist. 97 lunch program. An advisory committee of nutritionists and parents would do the trick, and they can use as a starting point the guidelines that the Alliance for a Healthier Generation proposes. I would add that we have an opportunity here to add other features, such as the incorporation of locally raised food and perhaps even an occasional organic lunch to make a learning connection for our children between what is eaten at school and the ethic of safeguarding our natural environment. But Victoria, please check your facts before trashing a step in the right direction.

Gary Cuneen
Executive director, Seven Generations Ahead

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