School Lunches and Spirituality

As another school year was winding down across the nation, a “food fight” was heating up in Washington, D.C. In late May the House Appropriations Committee voted to let some school districts temporarily opt out of the school breakfast and lunch nutritional standards set by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. First Lady Michelle Obama has strongly supported those standards in her campaign to fight childhood obesity and wrote that the rules mean more students are “getting more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other foods they need to be healthy.”

Healthier food often costs more, however, and some school districts are having financial trouble meeting the standards. Also, some food service officials report students don’t choose or won’t eat the mandated menu. For example, one nutrition director in Arkansas told how students built pyramids of unopened applesauce containers before tossing into the trash.

Of Food and Faith

The youth you serve probably aren’t paying much attention to the debate over school food. Once summer vacation ends and the new school year begins, however, they may notice what’s on their cafeteria trays has changed as a result.

Not all Christians will agree about whether, how, or how quickly to change school lunches. Still, the discussion reminds us that whenever we deal with something as foundational as food, we end up talking about many other issues also. For followers of Jesus, the physical act of eating raises several spiritual questions.

  • Is eating healthy food as much a matter of honoring God as it is sensible nutrition?
  • Do the meals we eat as Christians around a shared table reflect Jesus’ creation of new community and new beginnings?
  • How do we eat without forgetting Jesus’ call to feed those who go hungry?

Youth eat a lot of meals at school. Use this opportunity to help them view the cafeteria as another place they can grow as Jesus’ followers. 

Question of the Day: When is food more than just food? 

Talk Topic Scriptures: Daniel 1:8; John 6:5-13; Isaiah 25:6-9

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC here!

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