Offer Not Serve

By April Dye, Contributor to US Daily Review.

Okay, I don’t know what the regulations, laws or rules in other states are according to school cafeterias, but in Texas it is “offer not serve”.

You know when I went to school we used hard plastic trays and real silverware and everything was placed on the tray and it was given to us.  No one asked us what we wanted, we got what they served and we ate it or we didn’t.  I actually ate all my lunch.  It was good and it was hot.  We had pizza and corn, we had beef stroganoff and lots of other options.

Today, at least at our school, lunches are served on Styrofoam trays that are so flimsy that they sometimes don’t make it to the table or the trash can.  Now they use plastic silverware, which sometimes is just useless when it comes to cutting meat.

What is funny to me is that we get preached to about recycling and being green yet school cafeterias went from trays and silverware they were washed and reused everyday to things that get thrown in the trash that will end up in a landfill.  Doesn’t that miss their objective for “reduce, reuse and recycle” that they are programming into our kids.

But the worst government rule these days to me is the “offer not serve” mandate.  Here is the gist of it:   The kids walk through the serving line and have to choose at least 3 things on their tray.  They can get a milk and a juice and any of the offerings.  The cafeteria workers or aides cannot suggest or tell a student what they need to get.  So for instance if the cafeteria is serving  frito pie, the kids can get the chips but don’t  have to get the chili, and if they have a milk and a juice…well that is 3 things and that is all they have to get.  Yes!  I am not kidding.  If I did not work at my children’s school, I would not know this.  I never got anything sent home that says this.  So you can imagine the horror I see everyday with children making these sorts of decisions.  And of course they are going to get the dessert that is offered with the meal plus whatever other thing they may be selling separate from what is on the menu, cookies, chips or Capri Sun’s.

First let me again bring up the government’s mandate on “go foods” and healthy diets.  Well they can mandate all they want but if they are giving children the option to choose then most aren’t going to choose the healthy stuff.

So as a parent I checked out what the TDA’s regulations were regarding school lunches then I sent an email to the TDA asking whose bright idea it was to give elementary students the option to pick what they get to eat.  I can understand middle schools and high schools getting these options.  To some extent they are a little more mature in picking things that more consistently constitute a meal instead of a snack.  Not much but some.

So the TDA emailed me back stating that middle schools and high schools are mandated with “offer not serve” but that the school districts have the option to use it for elementary schools.

So I email the person in charge of the school lunches in our district.  Either they don’t understand their options or they just don’t care.  I got no where and have heard from others that I am not the only one to ask these questions without satisfactory answers or actions.

I can’t imagine parents being ok with their 4-11 year olds not being given a whole lunch (which the parents pay for) but given the option to choose, knowing how immature their brains are to pick something that is good for them and that will tide them over for the whole day and thinking about the cost.  You can imagine what they pick sometimes.  Hamburgers – just the bread, no meat.  Frito pie – chips, no chili.  Or even no main part of the meal at all and just the dessert and two drinks.  What adult, much less parent, would look at that and think that is ok?

We are told all the time that we are not allowed to suggest what the kids should get or even try to get them to eat the main meal, veggie or fruit instead of their dessert first.  We cannot “force” our opinion on the children.  Well, everyday I break the rules because I do tell the kids to eat their dessert last.

Sure go ahead and give me the “waste of money and food” con.  That is not an excuse.  Go back to hard plastic trays and real silverware and that would save a lot.  Cook the food on the campus like they used to instead of having it shipped in to be reheated.

What is wrong with this picture?  How stupid is it for the government to “encourage” healthy eating but then let the kids decide what they will eat.

You can tell me all day that the school food was unhealthy when I went to school but it was warm and most everyone ate everything on their trays, and we were full.  Today’s lunches don’t seem all that healthy to me.  They may serve veggies and fruit but if it isn’t being put on the kids tray are they even getting it?  Some do I will say, but the majority do not.  Isn’t homemade cooking healthier than frozen prepackaged processed food?

Where has common sense gone?  Does anyone who comes up with these rules remember being a kid?  I am tired of the government making decisions while it doesn’t pay attention to the consequences of those decisions.

Don’t even get me started on all the tests kids have to pass these days and yet the ones deciding this did not have to take these tests, and look where they are.  Mandating that one test will equal 45% of a grade for the year.  Not all people are good test takers so take a student with an A average who fails the test now they have a C or D for the  year.  One day will take over a years worth of work. Really?!

I say government, leave us alone – we’d be a lot better off taking care of our kids and ourselves without your mandated “help”.

April Dye is a Christian wife and mother of two. She loves to hang out with family, read, watch movies and television, and her job. You can follow her on face book at Vestal Dye and

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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