No More Brown Food, ASAP

Young boy with a mouth crammed full of fries

My parents’ English friends, Carrie and Richard, came over from the United Kingdom this summer for vacation, and so my mom and dad hosted a fun backyard get together so all their close friends could share in their visit. My father prepared a feast as usual- this time he grilled up some hearty, robust mushrooms, made bright green pesto from the basil he grows in his garden for the shrimp and pasta course, made from scratch a creamy cucumber and yogurt dish called tzatziki, and prepared panzanella, an Italian-style tomato and bread salad. The tomatoes, also from his garden, were so ripe and sweet that they burst with flavor in my mouth; I couldn’t get enough of them. Each of the items he served were so unique that it was impossible to confuse them.

I was talking with Carrie during this delicious, fresh and colorful dinner, about my job as a dietitian, and the struggles I face working with overweight and obese American children. She made a comment regarding this problem, that was something like this, “It’s because of all the brown food they serve in schools here.”

Brown food? I asked her what she meant by this. She proceeded to tell me that most of the foods we serve to our children here is all so highly processed that they all become roughly the same color- golden brown.

I thought about this, and she is right- chicken nuggets, chicken patties, Freedom fries, buns, hamburgers, American cheese, chips, tater tots- the list goes on of ‘brown food’. They all taste exactly the same too- like fat and salt, and not much else. School food items have lost individuality.

It is really sad that the food we feed our children- our next generation, that is meant to thrive and prosper- is so laden with added fats and chemicals, and so highly processed that we can barely tell the difference between the taste and color of each food. To be honest, I find this inexcusable. This must change so that America lives on in a healthy and vibrant way.

We need to stop serving “brown food” to our children as soon as possible. For our sake, “soon” needs be taken very seriously.

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