Evos Lunchroom Project: A McNugget Problem

Evos is all about healthy living. Their logo is green, their stores are made with sustainable materials, their packaging is biodegradable, and their ingredients are all Fair Trade Certified.This Tampa-based chain delivers self-described "guilt free" fast food options to the masses -- and that now includes school kids. Well, some kids anyway. The Evos Lunch Room program is currently available through 40 local programs in Miami-Dade, all private, magnet or charter programs. With a cost of $4 to $5 per lunch, it's still far above the $2.25 lunch cost at a public school cafeteria.

The program was launched in 2009 when the chain realized it was missing out on the most important audience. With school lunches on top of parents and educators' agenda, Evos' founders hope the current program "provides a solution to the negative talk" and continues to raise awareness. The program has been very successful in Miami, with Evos now looking for a second location to help service the demand. Parents pre-order their kids' lunch online and the program provides the cafeteria with a turnkey solution while giving them 10 percent of sales.

But Short Order has to question whether teaching kids that eating chicken nuggets or strips, albeit Evos' air fried, which clock in at 231 kcal, 9 grams of fat and 957 mg of sodium, is setting them up for future problems. Not only is the sodium content higher than McNuggets (750 mg of sodium), but kids likely won't be able to differentiate between the "healthy" version and a McNugget that has 366 kcal and 21 grams of fat when they ;leave school.

Evos' Jackie Macaluso does make a good point in that "you have to be realistic about what kids eat." But shouldn't we be teaching our kids that fast food is a treat not an everyday occurrence? And when did chicken nuggets become the go-to "kid food"?

The original chicken nugget, a molded piece of chicken "product", was invented in the '50s by a Cornell University professor, but it wasn't until the '80s, when Tyson Foods created the McNuggets for McDonald's that the craze began. So what did the kids of the '60s and '70s eat? Can you say normal food while sitting at the table.....

The battle of good vs evil in food and otherwise will always exist. At least with Evos' school lunches we are moving in the right direction and we can only hope that good will prevail in the end.

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