Friday, January 21, 2011
Healthy Eating Habits
So I'm sitting here waiting on the last pot of 30 pounds of potatoes to finish cooking so I can throw together the potato salad for tonight's Farm Bureau dinner at the PRCA Hall of Fame, and I got to thinking about healthy eating habits. Yesterday I cooked 20 pounds of pinto beans and have them all ready to go. Our county is furnishing the side dishes for this dinner, which kicks off an educational weekend for young farmers and ranchers in our district area that covers three counties. Some of our other county Farm Bureau members thought we could go buy the potato salad, but I didn't think that was a good idea. I don't like ready-made potato salad and, on top of that, it's expensive. Heck, I can get 20 pounds of Colorado spuds at the farmer's market in Manzanola cheaper than what one bucket of potato salad costs in the store. So what's that got to do with healthy eating habits? Well, this potato salad doesn't have preservatives, it includes eggs from free range chickens (my hens...I have no idea where they 'range' throughout the day), Colorado potatoes, Colorado onions, (did I mention some of the products were from Colorado?), and it tastes pretty good, if I say so myself. The pinto beans are from the Boone, Colorado elevator, which means they were grown somewhere along the Arkansas Valley...in Colorado. I think this is all food that is good for our bodies. I'd like to invite Mrs. Obama to come sample some. She's on this kick to make our school lunches more nutritious and to fight obesity in our children. I'm all for that...but not at the public schools' expense. Have you eaten lunch lately at your local public school? I have and I'm proud to say it's delicious. Our school cooks still know how to prepare meals from scratch and they know how to "disguise", if you will, food items they have to serve from a can. Our school doesn't have any convenience stores nearby. There are no fast food restaurants the students can run to. They either eat our school's lunches, or they pack their own. I ask you--how much lunch meat can you buy for $1.25? That's what our hot lunches cost at school. But if Mrs. Obama gets her way, the kids will be drinking water with a little white stuff splashed in that appears to be milk; they will get no salt on their food; the calorie intake will be closely monitored; no chicken nuggets, no pizza, restricted beef intake (we all know how bad that beef is for everybody!)...I could go on. Meanwhile, urban students can cross the street from the school campus and hit up any number of fast food restaurants or convenience stores...who proudly cater to their orders of soda, french fries, chicken nuggets, etc. So who are the victims here? I say it's the remote rural school districts who have to follow these guidelines and the kids are forced to eat this cardboard-tasting food because they have nowhere else to go. It's up to the schools to turn this around...the parents wouldn't want to get involved and keep a watchful eye on what their children eat, would they? I stopped in a convenience store the other day to get, yes, a soda, and a youngster about junior high age was hitting the store after school. His arms were full of a 64-ounce fountain soda, large bag of chips, a hot dog, and a candy bar. I rest my case.