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Another Look at School Food

November 19, 2008

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School vending machines and cafeteria lunches have long been blamed for being the No. 1 cause of childhood obesity. To satisfy the concerns of many parents almost 600 school districts nationwide now have policies that limit the amount of fat, trans fats, sodium and sugars in food sold or served at school.

It’s great that schools are making vast improvements to clean up the cafeteria food and vending machines, but they still have a long way to go. Even the schools that serve healthier options still sell sugary sports drinks and hundreds of schools have not even begun to remove junk food from vending machines.

Many communities are concerned that by cutting back on sweets, schools also have to eliminate bake sales which help fund sporting events and other extracurricular activities. This isn’t necessarily true.

Baked goods do not have to come in the form of processed brownies or cookies. Try this healthier dessert for the next bake sale.

Thumbprint Cookies


rolled oats, almonds, spelt flour (1 cup each)
½ cup corn or safflower oil
maple syrup, brown rice syrup (1/4 cup each)
Fruit-sweetened jam


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine oats and almonds in a blender or food processor and blend until they have the consistency of flour.
3. Add to a large bowl with spelt flour.
4. In a small bowl mix together the oil, maple and brown rice syrup.
5. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
6. Make 1-inch balls with your hands and press flat onto a cookie sheet.
7. Make an indentation with your thumb into the center of each cookie.
8. Fill each cookie with a teaspoon of jam.
9. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

What is your school doing to clean up their food?  

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.