Eating in KISD School Cafeterias

Written October 3, 2005.

Updated April 10, 2014

Chances are your child eats in the school cafeteria regularly or at least every now and then.

Hopefully during your child’s school career, you’ve gone to the trouble to visit his school during lunchtime to sit with him and eat the same thing he eats.

Depending on your personal experience you may or may not like what you had for lunch.

Good nutrition helps your child be a good student.

Once as a parent (when I complained about the nutritional value of what was being served to children) I was asked to be on a KISD committee that went around and ate at various school cafeterias. It was an interesting experience, but was mostly a waste of my time and that of the administrator who had to escort a couple of us around.

No one changed a thing because of the committee. What’s new?

I read with interest the Houston Chronicle [See]

story concerning the CATCH curriculum that’s being pushed by Harris County's Public Health and Environmental Services Department to get children eating healthier and exercising more. The curriculum is being tried out at Schmalz Elementary, a Katy ISD elementary school.

KISD implemented a “district wide wellness program that officials hope will help stunt obesity at the local level” last year (January 21, 2004). See Katy Times article “Katy ISD Program Takes Aim at Student Obesity.”

[Wonder how that worked out? Are students who were first graders at Schmalz Elementary in 2004 now svelte and slender as juniors and seniors? Or was this just another boondoggle program that ate up tax dollars? Has anyone ever heard of the Katy school district following up on a program that they just HAD to have?

I’m sure some other program will be implemented along these same lines next year and the year after that and the year after that.

Actually, I’m growing a bit weary of programs that pay lip service to nutrition.

It doesn’t even take a dietician with a Ph.D. to come up with balanced meals for children that don’t look gaggy when placed on a plastic serving tray. Any mother could do it.

It also doesn’t take hiring Arnold Schwarzenneger to come up with a physical fitness program to get kids out of their chairs and running around.

What it does take is some leadership by a school board that cares about the physical well-being of children. I would also say that perhaps some on the board need to lead the cause for good nutrition and exercise by example!

I have to wonder what these programs that come down the Pike cost the taxpayers.

Some of them may be “free” if they come from another governmental source (and then even those are not really free, but CATCH sounds like it probably costs something.

According to the Chronicle, around 20% of Texas children are overweight.

Actually, I would say that their parents are responsible for most of that excess weight because they let their children sit in front of a TV [or an IPad Mini] for too long every day. I also think that if children are overweight, that’s not any business of the public schools!

I was a bit appalled by the information that Schmalz third grade teachers “sent home information forms for children to complete with their parents. For a week or so, they track what they eat and the physical activities they do together, such as walking. When the forms come back, teachers give points for eating certain foods and taking part in physical activities. A class totals its points, trying to be the third grade at Schmalz with the highest number.”

Does anyone besides me believe that what parents serve their children to eat and whether they go for a walk with them or not is any business of a public school and/or its teachers? This is a sterling example of government intrusion into our  personal lives!

This questionnaire at Schmalz Elementary that must be filled out is just a good example of the social engineering that is going on in our schools that takes the place of academic endeavor.

If the public schools want to make children physically better off, they will address the common practice of limited recess time. Recess in this day and age is about a third the length it was when I was in elementary school. I recall that we got an hour off for lunch and recess twice a day. That worked off a lot of pent up energy, and teachers didn’t find themselves with a room full of wiggly children every afternoon. There would probably be fewer children diagnosed with ADHD and fewer medications being dispensed to control behavior. The fresh air and exercise used to take care of the problem.

If there are obese eleventh and twelfth graders in the Katy schools, it’s probably because in January of 1997 when they were in elementary school, here’s what they had for lunch the week of the 13th: On Monday, Turkey fingers, steamed rice/gravy, cheesy broccoli and a fresh baked roll; on Tuesday, cheeseburger on a bun, spicy fries, a fresh vegetable choice, and pickles; on Wednesday, pepperoni pizza, seasoned green beans, Texas-size bread, and a fruit choice; on Thursday rotini/meatballs/sauce, mozzarella cheese, tossed salad/dressing, garlic bread and pineapple tidbits; on Friday, chicken patty sandwich, vegetable soup, crackers, seasonal fruit.

This week (October 3, 2005) they can have on Monday, popcorn chicken, tortilla cheese rolls w/salsa, glazed carrots, mashed potatoes/gravy, hot roll; on Tuesday, pepperoni pizza, chicken tenders, pan cheese pizza, baby carrots/Ranch Dip, breadstick, chilled pears; on Wednesday, cheeseburger, hamburger, meatless Italian pocket, tossed salad/dressing, Potato Starz, fresh fruit; on Thursday, chicken fajitas, tortilla cheese rolls, lettuce, tomato, cheese, cornbread, peach slices, on Friday, corndog, deli cheese sub, vegetable sticks, sun chips, mixed fruit.

I sure wouldn’t feed my kids that stuff. Looks like it’s pretty loaded with carbohydrates and fat to me. If this menu meets government standards, then I would say someone needs to look at the standards.

Whatever happened to just plain meat? or Jello? or vegetables besides corn or peas?

That’s why I made, over twenty years of having kids in school, 4,320 sack lunches. I wouldn’t eat what they serve in our schools, and I didn’t want my kids to have to eat it either.

And yes, I fussed about the schools' cafeteria food while I was on the school board, but no one agreed with me that there was a problem. FYI here are the menus for the week of December 17, 2012:

Katy ISD high schools lunch menu, Dec. 17-21byJournatic News Service| December 16, 2012 9:30 am

Katy ISD high schools' lunch menu for the week of Dec. 17, 2012 is as follows:

Monday, Dec. 17: Chicken nuggets with whole-grain roll, roasted chicken with whole-grain roll, mozzarella cheese sticks, spinach salad, mashed potatoes and fresh grapes or peaches

Tuesday, Dec. 18: Sgt. Pepperoni's pizza, buffalo chicken strips with whole-grain breadstick, Sgt. Pepperoni cheese pizza, baby carrots, tossed salad and applesauce cup or watermelon chunks

Wednesday, Dec. 19: Chicken pizza quesadilla, fiesta beef taco, cheese enchiladas, taco toppers, chili beans, cantaloupe and fruit cocktail

Thursday, Dec. 20: Beef barbecue on bun, corn dog, whole-grain grilled cheese, lettuce and tomato salad, oven-roasted French fries, apple slices and pears

On April 10, 2013 for lunch in KISD, here is the menu listing:  Pancakes with Sausage Patty, Grille (sic) Cheese Sandwich, Baby Carrots, Spudbites, Fresh Strawberries or Frozen Juice Cup.

On April 10, 2014 for lunch at any elementary school in KISD, here is the menu listing:  Fiesta Beef Taco, Cheese Quesadilla, Taco Toppers, Chili Beans, Fresh Oranges or Frozen Juice Cup.   (What country did you say we live in?)

I'm thinking nothing much changes --at least not in the last seventeen years!