TLC just started airing the show Jamie's School Lunch Project today and I am already hooked. Jamie Oliver is a celebrity chef who is a big shot in his native England but not quite as well known here. He was appalled by the poor quality of the food that English children were being served in school and started a project to improve the menus, one school district at a time.
In the first episode, Jamie found that the task he set for himself wasn't going to be as easy as he may have thought. He had trouble getting the meals served on time with a staff of lunch ladies whose kitchen training stopped at opening up boxes of frozen food. He also had difficulty producing healthy meals while sticking to a budget of 35p (70 cents) per plate. I definitely could identify with that because my husband and I experienced sticker shock the first couple times that we attempted to switch to a healthier diet. There's no getting around the fact that eating healthy costs more.
I hope that a lot of people tune in to this show. This is a British show airing on American TV, so TLC took the extra step of adding boxes on the screen that show the stats for American schools. The problems in our school lunch program are very similar to what is happening in England. Parents who are relying on the school to provide the bulk of their kids' daily nutrition need to have their eyes opened. However, this may also be a wake-up call for people who don't understand why lower-income people don't just choose to eat healthier. If you only have a small amount to spend on food, grocery shopping becomes a matter of getting the best value rather than getting the most nutritious food.