The all-American meal of meat and potatoes, while filling and potentially nutritious, can be a nutritional disaster in the hands of an underfunded school district. When the "meat" becomes "meatloaf" (read "filler") and the potatoes become a buttered, powder-derived pile of high-fat carbs, this old cafeteria standby becomes one of the highest calorie meals on the menu.
It also offers another health no-no, especially for kids: cholesterol. With approximately 80 grams per serving, the meatloaf meal supplies up to a third of the maximum amount of cholesterol a child should consume in an entire day.
To avoid the potential health pitfalls of school lunch, you can always pack it yourself. But don't worry: Your baby needn't skip a meal if she leaves her brown bag on the kitchen counter. While it may sound grim, these 10 items are just a small sampling of the meals being served in cafeterias around the country. Lots of schools have taken on healthier standards and offer plenty of lower-fat, higher-nutrition options; and even those that haven't yet pulled it together often have at least a few healthier options available, such as fruit, granola bars and green salads. It's all about making good choices.