Benefits of ‘Home Cooking’ in Schools Could Be Great

By Michelle Luce

As a mother of two, I know how difficult it can be to get healthy food into the mouths of children.  I was intrigued by an article in the New York Times about a school in Greeley, CO who are kickin’ it old school.  They have decided to prepare meals the old fashioned way – from scratch.

Factory produced foods full of preservatives and food additives, like artificial coloring and flavors, inundate our school cafeterias.  Those foods are easy to prepare, familiar to kids and a link in the chain to childhood obesity.  The Greeley school discovered food from scratch eliminates  ingredients – like zinc oxide (remember that white stuff you used to put on your nose at the beach?) the Burrito mentioned in the article made from scratch used twenty three fewer ingredients and added something as insane as real cheddar cheese.  They also made Italian dressing from scratch that eliminated sugar entirely and reduced the amount of salt by nearly 75%.

There is the argument of expense.  Cafeteria kitchens built since the ’80′s are smaller, without large cooking stoves and ovens.  But it seems, like home-made-from-scratch cooking, even on the grander scale of feeding hundreds of students, could reduce total overall costs, and in the long run be cost effective.

The greatest boon for students is the overall health benefits.

Sixty-four percent of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) actually suffer from a hypersensitivity to food, according to an NPR report on Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands.

CivilEats.com also references Dr. Pelsser’s study.  The study shows that many diagnosed with ADHD are suffering from reactions to preservatives and combinations of food additives.

Since the 1970′s there have been studies that suggest that food, particularly artificial additives, preservatives, colors and flavors contribute to ADHD.  Cooking from scratch, avoids the use of such things.

Wouldn’t it be great if, by turning back to “home made” foods in the cafeteria, we could battle not only childhood obesity, but also strike a blow against ADHD as well?