School Lunch Program Costs and Nutrition Cause Concern; Chatterbean.com

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The first day of school is right around the corner and this year's topic of hot debate is school lunch programs. With the rising cost of school lunches and the lack of nutritional options, parents across America are being challenged to come up with affordable, nutritious lunches for their children. Chatterbean.com--an interactive quiz site focused on pop culture trends--weighs in with responses from nearly 200,000 moms.

School lunches are a topic of hot debate among parents, both on and off line. With the first day of school quickly approaching, many parents are concerned with both affordable and nutritional school lunch programs. Chatterbean.com--an interactive quiz site focused on pop culture trends--has released results from its popular quiz, "Are You a Slacker Mom?" that provide insight into those concerns. (http://www.areyouaslackermom.com/1/).

An Associated Press article from July notes that school lunch programs will be hit hard by the rising food prices resulting in higher lunch costs at schools across the nation (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jiEc6AcqnEaNlptkata5Ah2nTueAD91QHD500). Twenty-four percent of quiz respondents rely on "fish sticks and fruit cups served in the school cafeteria" for their childrens' lunches.

Of the nearly 200,000 moms who took the "Are You a Slacker Mom?" quiz, 70 percent work either full or part time jobs. It's obvious that time is of the essence for today's mom, 52 percent of quiz respondents claim they don't have time to watch a TV show from beginning to end, so constructing a nutritious lunch before school each day can be a daunting task.

Many influential online parenting communities are evaluating the situation:
"The hike in grocery prices is making things more difficult for even the most resourceful parent," writes DivineCaroline.com Mom Advice columnist, Amy Allen Clark. "Although I lay out careful and well-thought menu plans, we have had to increase the amount we are spending these past few months since the hike in the grocery prices." (http://www.divinecaroline.com/article/22145/52477-surviving-grocery-hike--ask-frugal?CMP=ILC-BigDddyWdgt)

"Now, with rising food costs, school cafeterias are having to find ways to cut back in order to keep serving up healthy meals, especially since government subsidies for school meals aren't covering the costs," posts Marisa McClellan of Slashfood.com. (http://www.slashfood.com/2008/05/06/rising-food-prices-begin-to-impact-school-lunches/)

Only 16 percent of moms quizzed had the time or inclination to fix an organic and nutritious lunch for their kids. The majority of moms (51 percent) reported preparing lunch with "Whatever's in the fridge... I am a genius at making a great meal for my kids with what I have on hand."

Chatterbean.com attracts thousands of users every day to response-driven Web sites that cover trends in personal growth, fashion, food, music, parenting, home ownership, education and more. Chatterbean and its fun personality quizzes can be found at http://www.chatterbean.com.

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Aurelie Guerrieri

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