Year in review: Bleeding Heartland on food and parenting in 2009

This blog will always be primarily about politics, but I enjoy writing about other subjects from time to time. In fact, one of my new year’s resolutions for Bleeding Heartland is to write more about food and parenting in 2010.

After the jump I’ve compiled links to posts on those topics in 2009. Some of the diaries were political, others are personal. The link I’m most proud of combined the two: My case against Hanna Rosin’s case against breastfeeding.

Any thoughts or suggestions for future topics to cover are welcome in this thread.

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"Nourish the nation one tray at a time"

OneTray.org has two new videos promoting healthy school lunches. Click through to watch “Lunch Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Priceless.”

The goal is to raise awareness of Farm to School programs for the upcoming reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act by depicting the cafeteria tray as the centerpiece for a reformed school food system that supports healthy children, local farms and smart schools. Learn more.

Everyone’s seen those “priceless” MasterCard ads, but how many of you are old enough to remember the Richard Dreyfuss mashed potato scene in Close Encounters?

I’m relieved my first-grader is too picky to want to eat the school lunches (except one or twice a month when they serve pancakes or waffles). I would rather pack a lunch for him anyway.

Iowa needs to invest more in getting locally produced foods in school lunches. The Malcolm Price Laboratory School in Cedar Falls has a good pilot program going this year.

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Legislators not sold on new junk food rules for schools

In April the Iowa State Board of Education approved new nutrition standards:

A special task force drew up the standards, which set limits on calories, fat content, sugar and other nutritional measures. Carbonated beverages are banned. Caffeinated beverages and sports drinks are banned in elementary schools.

But the rules do not apply to food provided by school lunch or breakfast programs, items sold at concession stands or certain fundraisers or items provided by parents, teachers or others for class events.

Although I would have preferred tougher guidelines, these rules were a step in the right direction. To be more precise, they would have been a step in the right direction. After protests from some school officials, the State Board of Eduation “delayed most of the standards from going into effect until the 2010-11 school year.”

By that time, the regulations may have been relaxed, judging from what happened last week in the state legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee (unofficial motto: “Where good rules go to die”). The rest of the story is after the jump.

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