School lunches need an overhaul, starting with mozzarella sticks, according to a leading parent advocate in School District 20.
“In all honesty, how healthy are mozzarella sticks? I think mozzarella is great but are mozzarella sticks really that great for children?” questioned Laurie Windsor, president of District 20’s Community Education Council (CEC), which represents public schools in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.
Windsor was reacting to reports that school meals are loaded with sodium — and the city’s new initiative to decrease the amount of salt used by restaurants.
If the city Department of Education (DOE) is investigating how much salt is used in school cafeterias, officials should examine all school meals, Windsor said.
“The whole menu should be looked at — not just the salt part of it,” she said. “The whole menu should be looked at for calories, cholesterol and trans fat.”
In addition to mozzarella sticks, Windsor wonders if other popular dishes are good for kids.
“A lot of schools do pizza on Friday,” she said. “That’s the only day my daughter will have hot lunch [at P.S. 229, 1400 Benson Avenue].”
Windsor finds it ironic that schools serve up fattening grub since most bake sales were nixed in an attempt to curb child obesity.
“With all this business of ending the bake sales, if we are so concerned about the students being overweight, then we should look at the menus,” she said.
The DOE posts nutrition information on its SchoolFood Web site, www.opt-osfns.org.
Also, “If we’re talking about health, how about reinforcing the physical education requirement?” Windsor said.
“My son’s school is very adamant about it — William Mckinley. But we have schools that don’t have a decent gym. I.S. 30 — they really don’t have the facility for a gym. These kids are sitting in school all day and they need some physical relief.”