Monday, September 24, 2007

Good, Better, but not Best (Yet)

If you go out looking for trouble, you are going to find it. Definitely. There is a long way to go with regard to fixing our food system and even the average person's perception of a "healthy diet." But, if you are going to stay motivated, sometimes it's good to see some progress in the right direction. Here's a few good links to start your week:

Good. Burger King joins 11 other companies in agreeing to healthier food promotions targeted to children under 12. The commitments vary from company to company, but overall, they mark a greater awareness of the food choices being marketed to an impressionable audience. Better is the food choices, but a meal of chicken fingers (roasted or nuggets) plus milk and apple slices is still a meal without a vegetable or whole grains and still loaded with additives. Best would be dinner at home and no marketing or fast food at all. We're not there. Yet.

Good. Tyson foods announces that it will now raise chicken products without the use of antibiotics. This is obviously better than continuing to risk the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of salmonella and other bacteria, but the rest of the confined animal feeding operations (CAFO) need to get a clue still. As well as just providing better living conditions for the animals. Best is the growing market and availability of pastured chicken and grassfed beef and other natural meats. All of which are better for the environment, for the animals, the small family farmers, and for you. They taste better, too, which is a great perk. You can find a source for local, natural meats through the farmer search at Eat Well Guide.

Good. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 requires all school districts with a federally-funded school meals program develop and implement wellness policies that address nutrition and physical activity by the start of the 2006–2007 school year. Better would be if this requirement had any enforcement and clear guidelines. For now, you can empower yourself as a parent and order educational materials that will help you make sure your school is adhering to the new guidelines. These are quality materials, and they are delivered to you FREE (even shipping) by virtue of the Freedom of Information Act. You can order the materials for schools as well, and hand deliver them to your school staff. I plan on ordering up a set and just having them delivered to my kiddo's school. Like that old trick where you get a pizza delivered to an unsuspecting friend. But better. Best of course, would be programs like a farm-to-school food program with fresh, local foods prepared in healthy ways that kids love. Yes, these exist. Yes, they work.

The most important "Best" in all these situations is that the actions taken are in direct response to consumer demand. This is you. All of you, who care and vent your opinions and make better choices, write Congress, blog, bug school administrators. All of you. You are the best. Keep at it.


Corey~living and loving said...

ANother great post! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us! :)

The Expatriate Chef said...

Wow, thank you! Glad you stopped by to read all this!