Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What's for Breakfast: Local Peaches?

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

This is what Chartwells was serving for breakfast this morning at my daughter's elementary school here in the District of Columbia: turkey sausage on "whole wheat biscuit," according to the menu published at Chartwells' website, along with "locally grown peach," and orange juice.

The turkey sausage looks pretty much like the sausage we're used to seeing, and the "whole wheat biscuit" looks a lot more like an English muffin, or maybe a cross between bread and an English muffin. Calling it "whole wheat" is a bit of a stretch, I think. Maybe it had some whole wheat in it.

As for the "locally grown peach," that sure looks like canned peaches to me. It certainly isn't a peach, and it certainly has been processed somehow. Not that that has to be a bad thing. The question would be whether there's added sugar in it.

The "Healthy Schools Act" provides a five-cent bonus for each lunch meal--but not breakfast--that contains a component that is "locally grown and unprocessed."

This proves once again that you can't judge school meals by what's written in the published menus. You really need to see what the kids actually end up with on their trays--and what they actually eat.

Speaking of trays, this one is re-usable, not the disposable Styrofoam stuff we saw at every meal last year. But this is also a different school. My daughter has transferred.


  1. Um, yeah, whole wheat & locally grown not so much. At least it appears that is actually orange juice...

  2. It's possible that the "whole wheat biscuit" on your child's breakfast tray really is whole wheat, despite the light color. Many schools now serve bakery products made with what is called "white whole wheat" flour. This is basically exactly the same as the darker whole wheat flour we are used to seeing - made from grinding up the whole grain, with all the nutrients left in.

    White flour, by contrast, is made by grinding wheat kernels which have had both the outer layer, the bran, and also the inner core, the germ, removed - thus removing both the vital nutrients contained in the germ, and also the important fiber of the bran, leaving only the starchy endosperm to be turned into white flour.

    The reason why "white whole wheat" flour is lighter than conventional ww flour is because it is made from an albino version of wheat, rather than the darker red wheat we are used to seeing in conventional brown whole wheat flour. The taste of the albino wheat is milder and lacks the slight bitterness of red wheat, which some children find unpleasant; however, the nutrients are the same as in the darker version.

    So, you can't tell just by looking whether the bakery products at a school are whole wheat or not - you have to ask to see the ingredients label. Hope this helps.

  3. How much whole wheat does a product need to contain before the manufacturer can call it "whole wheat"? I know there's a government reg for that someplace. Any readers know?

  4. Chris VanArsdale(cvanarsdale@canalparkdc.org)September 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    Fyi-- 5 ideas revolutionize school food.