A call for healthier school lunch options

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Vote and share Zoe’s Change.org petition here: http://chn.ge/1JtGhla

The shift towards healthy food is happening, so don’t let the popularity of unhealthy food impact your decision to live a healthy and happy life.

I don’t know about you, but I find that looking for healthy options when you are out and about can be difficult, especially when some of your friends want to hang out at McDonalds, KFC or Burger King.  So how do we navigate a healthy lifestyle when others teenagers are making unhealthy food look cool?

First we need to understand that in the past 100 years we have increased our life expectancy by decades, but sadly we have hit a dramatic turning point in which it is now on a fast reversal, causing our generation to have a shorter lifetime than our parents. Certainly one of the reasons for this is because of the increase in sugar consumption.

I was raised by a mother who on fish ‘n’ chip day at school used to bring homemade sausages and home-baked kumara chips.  Totally embarrassing when I was a six-year-old, but now looking back I really appreciate it.  She taught us to stand out and be different and that conforming to unhealthy things just to fit in, was highly stupid.

Now I am a bit of a rebel when it comes to food.  I don’t eat Cadbury or Nestle chocolate because they don’t use Fairtrade cocoa and I don’t want to support child slavery, which is alive and well in the Ivory Coast where most of the world’s cocoa beans are grown.  I have become increasingly aware of food and the politics behind it (aka slavery).

When I was little, mum did take us to McDonald’s on the odd occasion, but honestly we never enjoyed it and used to complain.  She felt we would grow up with too much of a complex if she didn’t and thought it was appropriate to teach us that if we occasionally eat things like that it wouldn’t kill us. But mum’s occasionally was once or twice a year, no more.

However when I was five years old she bought a Cheeseburger Happy Meal and we kept it for FIVE years until we moved house and someone accidently threw it out. However up until then it stayed exactly the same as the day we bought it, only it dehydrated and went hard.  This proved that all the chemicals added to these ‘foods’ preserved it to a point nature wouldn’t touch it.

Over the years the hamburger sat out and everyone that came to our house touched it.  Not one bit of mould or bacteria grew on it.  Nature should have broken it down and it should have decomposed like all natural food does, but it didn’t. You can imagine growing up watching this was enough to put us off fast food.  It was like a rock hard piece of cardboard that looked like a cheeseburger.

If nature doesn’t recognise something as a food, then neither should we.

Growing up in a ‘healthy eating’ home, I find it frustrating that I can’t find healthy food in our school canteen.  In fact in order to buy an apple (which is the only piece of fruit on offer and it’s probably nine months old), you have to buy the apple as part of a combo.  For me to buy an apple I have to buy a lolly or something else cheap, and throw the junk away so I can eat the apple!

Why can’t school canteens offer a whole range of fresh fruits?

Who else wants healthier canteens? Vote and we’ll get to work for you.

I have started a Change.org petition and my goal is to get 1000 signatures from tweens, teens and parents who want to see healthier affordable menu options in our school canteens.  Go to this link, vote and share!

http://chn.ge/1JtGhla

Over the coming months my mum Deborah Murtagh and I are going to meet with school canteen providers and find out why more healthy food isn’t on offer.  If we come together on this we should be able to make a difference to what is available.  And schools, if you would like us to support changes in your canteen, let us know too.

We have some low cost suggestions that could really make a difference to the health and learning of kids in your school.

Schools should be very aware of what messages they are sending kids when lollies and sugary drinks are on offer, if you want kids to behave and concentrate, then start by cleaning up your canteen.  Healthy eating is becoming such a trendy thing among teens, we want the options, so now is the time to give them to us. Nourish our body and we’ll all have a healthier future.

Email me with subject line “Attention Zoe” info@wholefoodsecrets.com

Zoe Gibb is a year 11 student at Sacred Heart and a model with Clyne Model Management.  Zoe is a whole foods foodie and is passionate about helping teens find happiness.

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