Day 16: peanut butter and jelly sandwich

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Today’s menu: peanut butter and jelly graham cracker sandwich, apple juice, fruit cup (peaches), milk

I could barely eat this meal so I didn’t. And then I was deliriously ravenous driving to get my little one.

And then it got worse.

I got sick when I got home. I can’t say what exactly did it. Whether it was the lunch (I ate only half of one sandwich) or the not eating enough (also family history of vertigo) or taking a vitamin towards the end of the day without much in my stomach or just plain getting sick….
I feel better now. I probably didn’t eat enough. You know, I think I’m going to pack a lunch for tomorrow. In general I don’t look at the lunch menu for a extra “surprise,” but I can’t do it after this night in the bathroom. I can’t make my husband do all the work two nights in a row. Until I feel better I’m doing the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) and I’m sure none of those foods are on the menu.

I noticed a LOT of kids with packed lunches today. Maybe they knew something I didn’t.

***

Earlier in the day I asked the kids what they thought of the lunch. Some ate it and said they thought it was “good.” A couple kids did not eat it. Tons of packed lunches though. Maybe 20%? Trust me, that’s a lot.

I asked a couple kids if they ate the peaches and they looked at me strangely and said, “no.” I don’t think they even opened the packages.

***

I took a photo of the nutritional facts. Each sandwich was 318 calories. Because the other food items haven’t listed the calories, I never knew. Looking at the calories made it hard for me to choke this one down.

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78 Responses to Day 16: peanut butter and jelly sandwich

  1. Anonymous February 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    If you think that's bad then you wouldn't want to eat the food at Colorado Mountain College. The security guards want even eat in there. Generally people say that it is worse than gas station food. Not only that but it is very expenses, $2500 for three months. Usually it looks like someone threw up in the dish, we never know what it is and it smells like warm cat food, yuck! You're not allowed to leave the cafeteria with any food, even if you have decided that you don't want to die that day and all you want is some fruit. Here's how it is, you want fruit, forget about it, dessert, not in this lifetime, healthy food, that's funny. At this school you are required to have a meal plan, whether you eat it or not. There are no refunds. They take your money and give you poisonous food. YOu what a good educationand survive stay away from all Colorado Mountain Colleges.

  2. Michael Paone February 13, 2010 at 2:52 am #

    Wow.

  3. misterrios February 17, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    I just discovered your blog through a tweet by Mark Bittman, and it is bringing back so many memories. But upon reading about this "sandwich" I had to say something. My family wasn't well off, so I always had to eat the school lunch. It wasn't my only meal, but it would occasionally be the most important meal. I very much remember this particular sandwich. I liked it at the time, but I must have blocked it from my memory because looking at it makes my stomach turn. Especially after discovering 100% pure peanut Peanut Butter in the College cafeteria. Weird, I know.

    The thing I want to comment on the most is the single serving packages. This looks like a lot of waste, and I would gather that none of it is recycled- I've only read this far, so maybe it is.

    When I was younger, We had this five sectioned tray, and the Cafeteria ladies would scoop stuff onto the appropriate section of the tray. I remember the milk fitting perfectly into the upper middle section.

  4. Anonymous February 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    I remember getting those PB and J "sandwiches" in elementary school at least 12 years ago. Needless to say, we ALL knew to pack a lunch that day. I still remember how terrible they tasted, barf!!

  5. Brouk February 20, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

    What's even more ridiculous then what kids get to eat for lunch is the PRICE they sell it for. At my high school we get lunches about this size of the ones you post, usually the size of the pb meal. Guess the price!

    ..$3.00. EACH. 5 days in a school week.

  6. Kristina March 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm #

    OK, I've been known to give my kids graham crackers with peanut butter, but looking at what you have here…I wouldn't even know WHAT that is if you hadn't told me.

  7. Robyn March 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    We had those peanut butter sandwiches in grade school as an alternative for kids who forgot their lunch or ticket (this was before they swapped to a prepaid index card system), or couldn't eat the regular meal for whatever reason. I only ever had them once or twice, but I loved them. The filling just seemed impossibly thick and (when I think back on it) strangely sturdy. I'd actually kind of like to try one again…

  8. Anonymous March 15, 2010 at 4:01 pm #

    Those are pretty disgusting looking. However, I am not surprised of the amount of calories. Peanut butter, a healthy source of protein, has 210 calories per two tablespoons on average.

    I just discovered the blog today, and I am loving it!

  9. Anonymous March 15, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

    Okay, I think what bothers me most about this peanut butter and jelly graham cracker bit, is first, the fact that they cannot even put the stuff on bread…second, what about kids who are intolerant to peanuts and peanut oils? If this is an elementary school, and a grown woman(teacher) is getting bellyaches…what do they think the kids go through?? Unbelievable.

  10. Anonymous March 17, 2010 at 4:15 am #

    Hold on – your school sells peanut butter? Really? Where I am peanut butter is pretty much a no no with the little kids. They can bring it from home but I'm pretty sure the schools don't sell it anymore in the elementary schools.

  11. Kindness On Her Tongue March 17, 2010 at 9:22 pm #

    that pbj looks disgusting! on graham crackers? gross! they are loaded with high fructose corn syrup so they are basically giving those kids cookies for their entree. shameful.

  12. Anonymous March 17, 2010 at 9:50 pm #

    I used to love eating these sandwiches in elementary school!!

  13. George March 17, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    OH MY GOODNESS they used to serve these at ALL of my schools! PB&J on soft graham crackers! Honestly it was a lot of people's favorite, my sister and I are actually still looking for these. We didn't hate these at all, you probably got the bellyache because you weren't used to eat, we've been eating it for years. No matter how unhealthy it was, it's still close to my heart, although I wish it was closer to my belly…

  14. Anonymous March 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    I'm in college now and I remeber eating these PB&J's. Trust me when I say you got sick because of the PB&J. After the first PB&J I ever had I never ate them again. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  15. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 1:00 am #

    Awwwww, this was my favorite lunch when I went to school. It was so very yummy. Eating craptastically was par for the course at home and school (my school lunches were just like these ones only I don't remember having whole wheat options) and now at 24 I am overweight and on medication due to being pre-diabetic. I wonder why…

  16. Leah Sharon March 18, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    Are you kidding me?! Of course they didn't open the peaches; it's soggy fruit. I got them all of the time when I was in school. :P

    I've never understood how my dad can stomach those things; he keeps them in the fridge all of the time.

  17. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:10 am #

    a couple posts on Jan 27 mentioned the 318 cal sandwich as being a reasonable amt of calories.
    i believe there are two graham cracker sandwiches pictured on the tray. total: 636 cal just for the pb&j's

  18. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    The thing is, this doesn't surprise me. You WERE right. Your students did know something you didn't.
    My name is Samantha, and I'm a high school student in southern California (LA, to be exact.)

    At my middle school (junior high), they would serve these so-called "Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches."
    They were the most disgusting thing that I have ever tasted in my life, and I, too, got sick off of them the first time I tried them.

    The only reason I had chosen to get it was because my class had entered the cafeteria a little late, and the wait in line was so long that by the time we got to choose our food, that was the only option left.

    So, I chose it, managed to find a table that wasn't over-crowded (which is rare), and sat down to eat.
    At this point, I only had about 5 minutes left to eat, and I was starving.
    So, I took a bite. As soon as I tasted it, I spit it back out on my plate and simply threw my tray away.
    It tasted look too-sweet plastic. The peanut butter was bland, tasteless, and too thick. The jelly was really thick as well, really sticky, and extremely sweet. The bread/cracker thing (I honestly don't know what it is) was so soggy that as soon as I bit down on it it crumbled.
    After that, I had to chug my entire carton of chocolate milk to get the taste out of my mouth. (I always get chocolate milk at lunch, because the white milk is really, really nasty.)
    Speaking of the white milk at my school, here's another story of one of my school meal experiences.

    I apply for free meals at school. In middle school and in high school, I ate/eat breakfast at school.
    One morning, for breakfast, my school was serving small cartons of cereal and cookies, and cartons of milk.
    I got some corn flakes (they're the healthiest cereal my school serves), a couple of cookies, and grabbed a carton of white milk.
    Oh, and don't forget that the only utensil we're offered is the faithful spork. No spoons for us!
    Anyway, I sat down with my tray, opened up my cereal container, grabbed my milk, opened it up, and made to pour it over my cereal.
    Too bad the milk inside was thick, gloppy, and had chunks in it.
    It was EXPIRED.
    Disgusted, I grabbed the carton and made my way over to the line again. I showed it to one of the servers and said, "Hey, this was expired. Can I get another milk and cereal, please?"
    They told me that I couldn't get anymore food.
    Even though it was EXPIRED, they wouldn't give me a replacement.
    I was OUTRAGED.
    I would like to say that I stopped eating school lunch altogether and packed a lunch from home, but I cannot. My family simply doesn't have the money to buy food especially for me to take to school.

    Mrs. Q, thank you for speaking up for us students that, no matter how hard we try, cannot get our school lunches to change.

  19. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    Not only do those "sandwiches" have 318 calories, but more than half of those calories are from fat! What are we doing to our nation's children?

  20. MoonEagle March 19, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    I am horrified!

  21. Anonymous March 20, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Actually, I remember those "peanut butter and jelly sandwiches" from my school lunches a couple of years ago in high school.

    They were seen as side items like bread sticks are. I never ate them, but from what I could tell and heard a good majority of those who did eat them end up getting sick afterwords.

  22. Anonymous March 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    Sweet overload, that's what I'd say did you in.

  23. Anonymous March 25, 2010 at 4:44 am #

    where can i get the sandwiches? they are my favorite; i need them.

  24. Anonymous March 25, 2010 at 9:11 pm #

    Just found your blog and I love it. Good for you for shedding some light! I am a middle school counselor and my asst.principal sent me your link. We are with you, Sister! School lunches are disgusting. I do lunch duty and am so sick of seeing kids with a giant slice of greasy pizza (our district contracts with a low-quality pizza place to provide the 'za), 4 cookies (kids can buy as many as they want–terrible!), and a giant GatorAde (beyond gross). We also offer the children Uncrustables, which has a shocking amount of ingreients for PB & J–about 3 inches of small print. I always point this out to the kids and they are usually surprised, too. When I asked our nice lunch lady why not just sell PB and J made by them, she said that it boiled down to money. She said that it costs more, labor-wise, she can't charge as much as an Uncrustable, and the kids won't buy them. Sigh…And don't even get me started on the amount of waste created by all of the pre-packaged food. All of it is unconscionable. Blogs like yours show and tell–I admire the personal risk you're taking to raise awareness. People need to know the truth. Thank you!! –A Seattle-area reader

  25. CJ March 28, 2010 at 3:25 am #

    One (of many) glaring hole in the regulations is that nutritional analysis is done on a weekly basis rather than a per-meal basis. So, you can have sugar laden meals such as these with no veggies and as long as the week balances out, all is good (not that you even really need to have veggies… it's fruits OR veggies. and fruit juice counts as a serving of fruit/veggie).

  26. Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    I am consistently astounded by the laziness of North American "care-givers" who obviously just don't care. Almost every time I'm in the supermarket I see something more shocking:

    Kraft Dinner was bad enough… then "Easy Mac", because it wasn't easy enough to make already; and microwave Kraft Dinner Cups

    Mr.Noodles ('nuff said)

    In case you're too lazy to make your own grilled cheese, M&M Meat Shops have pre-made and frozen them for you

    No time to make your kid a PB&J? Smuckers Uncrustables have you covered

    PopTarts, Pizza Pops, microwave oatmeal, frozen pancakes….

    The (d)evolution of Pilsbury cookies: refrigerated dough… slice & bake cookies… now ready-to-bake cookies that you only have to place on a cookie sheet and bake

    Funny that the average North American has time to stare idly at a screen (TV, internet, phone etc) for 8.5 HOURS A DAY but they can't find 30 seconds to make a fucking sandwich…

  27. AutumnL October 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I ate a school tray every school day until I got my own money enough to buy from the “AlaCart” option. (In the 8th grade). My family was on free lunches, so if I wanted “real food” I would have to pay for it myself. Even our trays were 10x more appealing than the monstrosity on the plate above. Our district had a main kitchen at the high school that sent the food out to all the schools in the district and it was actually cooked! The meals I’ve seen here are all single-serve micro-trash that I wouldn’t want my dog to eat. When my son (now only a couple of months old) starts school, one of the things I will DEFINITELY bee looking into is the food served at his school. It doesn’t have to be high dollar organic health nut stuff, but It should at least be somewhat eatable.

    You’re very brave to take on a project like this. “Supersize Me” was gross, but like you said, many Americans actually CHOOSE to eat like that sometimes more than once a day, everyday. But for children in the public school system, especially children from families that cannot afford good food in the home, the options provided to them are SHAMEFUL and disgusting. The way I see it is that kids who “like” it don’t know any better.

  28. Andrea October 13, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    Found the bars – and they’re possibly 380 each, not 318. Eek.
    http://www.marketday.com/shopping/products.aspx?sk=0&itemid=3452

    But on a school website/pdf, they are listed as 300…. so who knows…. labeling standards are extremely lax.

    http://education.ohio.gov/GD/DocumentManagement/DocumentDownload.aspx?DocumentID=33156

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