Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lunch in NZ schools


Did you watch this? If you didn't you should. It shows you what New Zealand children eat for lunch at school. The first part is a school in a affluent area (not all the food is healthy, but there are a few good lunch boxes), and then there is a school in a poor area. Yes poor, no other words for it. I don't want to say any more because you need to see it, and feel it, to understand it. 

It was also interesting to see what KidsCan is doing to provide lunches in some of the poorest schools, good on them, but I really hope that they are going to include some fresh food there, otherwise everything is either canned (even the fruit) or cames in a packet, and the bread is too white! Of course it is better than eating nothing, but for a Country that bases its economy on agriculture it is unacceptable that fresh produce cannot be given to school children who are, after all, the one who need it most. 

And to keep in theme with the post, here is a photo of a lunch box, mostly salad (and to see the quantities of fresh produce just scroll down, they are lined up in a tray, it isn't much, and yet it is filling and nutritious. The little eggs are quail eggs. The carbohydrates addition are three slices of crostini (just baguette slices brushed with olive oil and toasted in  the oven - my kids love them!). OK, I am a Mum who likes to cut the carrots all pretty and not everybody finds the time for that, but even if you like to cut things differently from me, the massage is the same: 5+ a Day, try to use more colours (I aim for 5 different colour groups, and in winter at least 3), more veggies (not just fruit!), some protein, some carbohydrates. Of course this is just an idea, it depends on what I have in the fridge mostly, for example Vegans can substitute the quail eggs for some almonds, others could have cheese instead. No chips in my kids' lunch boxes!

And of course it goes without saying that before going to school a good breakfast is needed :-). Please watch the video and share your thought with me.






Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©

13 comments:

  1. Ovviamente è bellissimo il lunch box preparato da te, e molto sano.
    Speriamo che qualcuno possa prendere esempio, almeno per il contenuto...

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  2. This is such an interesting issue to write about. I have found bento style lunchboxes very appealing for my oldest daughter - onigiri in particular. Most of the time the food is still very low cost, just requires a little bit of thought to achieve. I find if I don't think ahead how to use leftovers/ make the most of fresh produce then the quality of the lunch slips. Frozen soybeans are my best emergency back-up!

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  3. Mi viene da sorridere vedendo il tuo box e pensando a quello che ho visto qualche giorno fa....era un tripudio di pane e prosciutto e formaggio e merendine confezionate. Ecco si, c'era una pesca. Con tutto il rispetto per il prosciutto e formaggio ( io non sono vegetariana ) penso che davvero bisogna iniziare a educare i bimbi a mangiare meglio, a cominciare da quello che si portano a scuola!
    Però credo che da noi non c'e ne siano tanti che fin da piccoli mangiano così tanta verdura!
    .....il tuo è ovviamente anche bellissimo!!
    Ciao

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    1. La cosa peggiore qui è che molti bambini sono cosi poveri che vengono a scuola senza aver fatto colazione, e non hanno il cestino della merenda. Molti non hanno neppure la cartella. Non hanno niente e mangiano una volta al giorno. Se sopravvivono non imparano a scuola (come si fa ad imparare a pancia vuota?) diventano grandi e non sanno leggere, finiscono in un ciclo di povertà cronica, con ragazze madri, disoccupazione e criminalità. I bambini devono mangiare, gli cambia la vita!

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  4. Thank you for posting this Alessandra, the news item was shocking to see. And the current government doesn't think there is a poverty line in NZ... It is heartbreaking that those kids go to school without lunch, or a very unhealthy one. Tui is 4 months old now and I look forward to packing her lunchbox with colourful, healthy, vegetarian food in a few years!

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    1. I agree with you Frances. But something has to be done, the state may not be accountable for individual choices, but it is accountable for poverty.

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  5. Chapeau Alessandra!Io credo che i bambini siano spugne ed assorbano l'esempio che hanno di fronte.Vero che il palato cambia col tempo ma, ci sono modi furbi per cacciare le verdure nelle pietanze e farle piacere!
    Sulla bellezza del lunchbox non ho altre parole, superb!
    bacione sperando che altri ti prendano ad esempio ;)

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  6. Sono seriamente schockata dal video, non pensavo che ci fosse una situazione simile in Nuova Zelanda! Insomma, un conto è dire che i bambini di famiglie più povere mangiano meno sano, questo vale in qualsiasi paese: pasta, pane ecc costano meno di carne, frutta e verdura. Da qui a dire che i bambini mangiano una volta al giorno però, ne passa. Ma lo stato non prevede un aiuto per le famiglie? Possibile che non sifaccia nulla?

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  7. Cuoca Garia, al momento c'e' un governo di destra, e non potrebbe fregargliene di meno, anche perche' sono quasi tutti i bambini poveri sono maori o polinesiani.

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  8. Hi Alessandra - i thought the same about what Kids Can provide....even though it is great that they do provide it. I was thinking that along with cereals, bread, etc, some big sacks of lovely fresh carrots, apples, oranges etc would be a cheap and tasty thing to provide. Plus the kids need more protein to actually learn. Eggs would be great. Making sure children are well fed and healthy is such an important investment for a country to make and will save SO much money in the long run and result in much more productive people. Must be so hard to be a teacher in one of those classes. (It also made me realise how out of touch with reality I probably am as even the first classes lunchboxes did not look super healthy on the whole!)

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    1. Hi Nicky, thank you for your thoughts, I couldn't agree more, and yes, I also feel for the teachers who have to work with hungry and undernourished children, everybody is loosing here, as a nation we need to invest more in our children and our education.

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  9. Love your lunch box Alessandra! It really is a sad state of affairs....I think some just don't know, a few generations in a family that don't cook & skills get lost....desperate when it is cheaper,healthier & tastier to eat fresh food!

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  10. I despair sometimes - this is a public health disaster yet so little Government response to deal with it. People confuse eating with feeding for good health and life - I'm with you on the invest more and educate.

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