Day 43: cheeseburger

Today’s menu: cheeseburger, corn, peach fruit cup, popcorn chips, milk

I’m feeling so yellow after this meal. Can you get over how everything is the same color? And then there’s two corn-based sides…

I love popcorn. It started because of my Grandma, who was a popcorn fanatic and ate it whenever she watched a movie. I’m not referring to movie theater popcorn, but popped on the stove, drizzled with real melted butter, and consumed while enjoying an old movie in her den. Good food is all about memories and family, no?

I’m trying to figure out why the popcorn had to be made into crisps?! Popcorn is good without being further processed! The last picture is a look inside the package at this strange food. It didn’t taste like popcorn to me.

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269 Responses to Day 43: cheeseburger

  1. erica March 18, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    I used to look forward to the hot lunch served when I was in highschool 15 years ago. However, these lunches in your blog do not look appetizing at all. I completely understand why you are doing this…what a great way to spread the word.

  2. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 3:36 am #

    It was mentioned in one of your posts that students have little time to eat. As a teacher, I find myself on "school lunch" time on the weekends, scarfing my lunch or dinner at home as quickly as I do in school. My little niece in elementary school sneaks a bite while she's in line to get to her table because she doesn't have enough time to eat while sitting. It's a tragedy what we're teaching kids about food and culture. However, when governments require minutes per class, they forget about minutes per meal which seems like wasted money and time to them. I bet they came up with that idea over a long lunch…

  3. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 3:38 am #

    well, whatever state you are in , theyre the only ones serving lunch like that. I am a student in High School and live in Pennsylvania. our lunches are NOTHING like that , everyone is actually excited about lunch when the time comes around. If elemantary and middle school kids are being fed that garbage, that is absolutely wrong. I am so happy that there is atleast one teacher in this whole country who actually cares about her students! kuddoss teach!! P.S – i will follow your blog along with fellow classmates and teachers , just to see how it goes :]

  4. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    I'm actuly a student at a middle school that serves junk for lunch and im so discusted with the lunch there i eat penut butter and jelly every day. I'm not talking about natural penut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread i mean thoes "uncrustabal" things.
    I used to love natchos last year untill i actuly started tasteing them and i realized the meat is dry, the cheese looks and tastes like rubber, and the chips are not all that crispy.
    The meats all taste like rubber hamburgers, hotdogs, FRYED chicken. Sometimes i wonder if there actuly meat. When i think about it most of the food tastes like rubber. The only school made entre i ever get is the asian chicken bites with barbi-q sause.
    Which reminds me of how theres no limit of how many ketchop packets you can get. Some people will take hand fulls and use every drop! I've even been guilty of this some times. Condements have become more of second drink to help the dry meat rather than a little extra flavor. This could easly be fixed with a teacher walking around with a picher of kechup or barbi-q sause.
    Another thing that makes me mad is how greasy some of the foods are. One time i bit into a tater tot and it exploded with grease. There was no way i was going to drink it so i had to spit the grease into a napkin. There was that much.
    The milk's experation date is often a couple days ago. And i've ended up with frosen milk and slushy milk before. it was so so gross.
    Pizza is a choice every day. As in some kids eat pizza monday-friday. The pizza isn't the most disscusting food choice either but its made at school so it doesn't have nutrision facts.
    To get from class to lunch you have to cross the enire main hall way in a big school. Lunch time starts before we leave the class room. And if we want a bath room break it has to be during our trip trough the main hall way. We have to stand in seperate lines for trays, entres, and paying for it. Next we have to find a seat near our freinds and we have a choice eat or talk with no recess in our middle school its easy to chose talk. And maby only eat icecream and chocolate pudding.
    Despite all problems we useuly don't have a bad lunch no one raly thinks about the nutition facts. Were too busy talking to even taste the food we may be eating. Even if it takes years changing the school menue is what all the children need. Keep going.

  5. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    Hey there, I'm reading your blog for the first time today!!

    The fact that the food your being served is basically a TV dinner really saddens me.

    I went to a public school in a middle class city, but our cafeteria food and staff was excellent, as far as cafeteria food goes.

    We had six lines – the pizza line, the burger line, the deli sandwich line, the stir-fry line, the special of the day line, and an a la carte line.

    I mean, none of the food was five star restaurant quality, but there was certainly variety, nothing was burnt, and nothing was served in a TV dinner tray! I believe at least three of those six lines served 'Balanced Choices' meals every day.

    They also stopped putting salt packet in with the condiments.

    In case you want to check it out, the dining service was Chartwells, at eatlearnlive.com

  6. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    I just learned of this site off Yahoo's main page. I must say that the food served in school today is nothing like the school lunches I had growing up. I always had choices of several veggies, and usually three choices main foods. I have three kids in school now in Tennessee. My two oldest are in high school and they have told me over a dozen times that the school ran out of food before they even got there lunch. When the school does have food it is always some form of chicken patty with slightly cooked fries. My youngest who is in middle school has stated numerous times that his school is always out of milk and they have to go out to the water fountain to get a drink. I find this disturbing, but no one in the school system seems to care.

  7. steph finds that the.. March 18, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    I am so inspired by your blog. I recently just wrote an article for my school newspaper on this topic. http://www.argohs.net/clubs/maroon/current/Feb2009.pdf

    I hope someday all our efforts will be able to provide kids with access to fresh wholesome meals too.

  8. Kameshwari March 18, 2010 at 3:51 am #

    Two-hundred and five comments. 205!!! This blog is gaining some incredible momentum.

    With this comment, it looks like you will have 206 comments.

    Congratulations!

  9. Laura March 18, 2010 at 3:53 am #

    Kudos to you, Ms Q, for doing the right thing. I hope your job is safe.

  10. Stephanie March 18, 2010 at 3:57 am #

    Your blog is great! Though, my stomach turns with each new picture of the designated lunch for the day. It reminds me why I never ate the lunch provided by my school. Blech! I commend you for sticking to this. I can't imagine I'd be able to do the same.

  11. Mistylynn March 18, 2010 at 3:59 am #

    So dang fed up, glad I found your blog. I've been a proud packer since my son entered kindergarten 4 years ago. I just can't let it be okay for my children to eat that "USDA approved menu". It's nutritionally lacking and when they have to wait in line for it they have no time to eat it. I'll pass your link along and I hope we get some higher standards put in place from a govt. that is always harping on the "dangers of childhood obesity".
    Well, if they serve our children "corndogs, pizza, sloppy joes, chicken fingers and burritos" all in the same week what do they think is going to happen!!?!?
    Misty
    New Mexico

  12. Ella March 18, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    That lunch actually looks pretty bad compared to some things I have eaten from school. School food is terrible since it can make people feel sick and/or gain a lot of weight. This causes some kids to start fasting, counting down the hours until we get home. Mostly because sometimes the food went bad and you could definitely tell. Sometimes it tasted like chemicals or had a rancid taste. On rare days it tasted good. I hope you can make it till the end of the year.

  13. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    ok first things first I am an ex homecare provider and everytime i see your lunch it reminds me of the meals on wheels meals that they give to the poor elderly shut ins who either can't or wont get out of there home for one reason or another. and even worse they give them the frozen versions of all that stuff for the days they don't deliver. now I will proadly tell you I am an ex homecare person cause I told the nice poeple I use to work for that if they gave me the $5 a day they paid for there meals on wheels meals I would make them real homemade meals.

  14. Bryn March 18, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    I am a vegetarian and i am an 8th grader. I look at your lunches and they are nothing like what we have in our school. We get a choice between hot lunch, bagel, pizza bagel, pretzel, ice cream, or just fries or mozzarella sticks. We also have (baked) chips, cookies, and milk, juice, yadda yadda yadda.This means, basically, that the only option i have for lunch is bagel, fries, pizza, or pizza bagel. The pizza made me throw up and i once took a pound of grease off of it with a napkin, lets leave it at that. Bagels everyday is like, adding ten pounds onto my life. Ive gone down to having either a cookie or gum for lunch with water. Our high school has a salad bar, but im not sure how great it is. Even though its not great, at least your school has a vegetarian option. No one dares to go near the meat in our school, you find pieces of bone and grizzle and fat in it, its just, ugh, worse then dead cow in general. We get about 10-15 minutes for lunch and recess is optional but nobody does anything but stand around and talk (except for the guys, im a girl). To get to the point, we have more options but its not necessarily better. If you can prove that schools need to get their lunch menus changed then, wow, that would be such an improvement. I just know that, even being 14, if this doesnt change, my kids are bringing lunches i make to school everyday, no question. Its horrible, i love what your doing, keep up the good work (and try not to get sick from this)

  15. Lila Wolf March 18, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    This looks so good compared to what I was fed in high school. A ketchup packet was considered a vegetable and so we often got no other fruit or veggie. My mother qualified for reduced lunches and gave me money for breakfast and lunch but I usually fasted until I got home around 3:30. The mashed potatoes at my school were the only thing I had a hard time resisting. The rest was over processed, disgusting, and fatty.

    We did at least have real silverware.

    Good luck!

  16. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:13 am #

    Mrs. Q,
    I am studying to be a teacher, and I just want to say I really admire you for putting your job on the line for something you believe in. I understand exactly where you are coming from, too, with the school lunches not being acceptable. With our country being one of the wealthiest in the world, there is no reason why we should not be investing in our children and their futures.

  17. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:21 am #

    I am a 13 year old girl, now and seventh grade (suprisingly literate), and just heard about your blog. And it amazes me. Not just becasue of how revolting the lunches are, but becasue of how thats exactly how I remember them.
    I was so glad to see a teacher actually notice how disgusting the lunches are. My teachers would all think, "Oh, she's not eating lunch, she must have something wrong with her," yeah, its called I-don't-want-to-eat-excrement-itis. Not to mention, Getting five school lunces of various things – $20, versus the $2 for pasta one day, $2 for a pack of 10 apples or so, $4 for PB&J spread, $2 for bread – $10, and that could last me a good 3 weeks.
    I really respect and appreaciate what you are doing.

  18. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:24 am #

    I looked at several of your lunch pictures. I also teach in Illinois, but at a high school. Your food, remarkably, looks better than ours. I frequently joke about the ubiquitous brown and yellow lunch foods when I read the announcements to students. In 6 years at this school I have never eaten one school lunch.
    It is truly astounding how much lip service is paid to children as our most valuable resource, our future, etc., and how little is done to back up those empty words.
    I hope you mix up the order of your meals shown on your site, or someone might be able to trace you. And there is a good chance they would be more concerned about avoiding public exposure and embarrassment than recognizing the value of what you are doing, or more important, the value of providing healthful nutrition for children and youth.
    Someone has probably already directed you to it, but there is a very interesting segment in the movie "Supersize Me" in which a school for behaviorally challenging students changes its menu completely. They exchange the prepackaged crap for fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, and so on. THE BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS ARE REDUCED DRAMATICALLY!! I think it was around 50%. How many schools would not pay good (scarce) money to reduce behavior problems? To paraphrase an old saying, we grow too soon broke and never smart.

  19. Becca Boo March 18, 2010 at 4:28 am #

    Wow. Just wow. I ate school lunch everyday until about my junior year when we could leave campus for the lunch hour. I never remember the food looking like that. My stomach actually turned a couple of times (the mystery greens and the pizzaish things). Maybe it was just my community (south dakota woot!!) but we always had hotdish type foods that was not covered in seran wrap when served.

    I hate to say it but at the colleges I went to the cafeteria food looked much like what you have portrayed for the elementary school. It's no wonder that the freshmen 15 haunts this nation when pizza and pasta are considered staples!

    That said. I love your blog and what you are trying to accomplish.

  20. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:29 am #

    Wow. I came across your blog from the yahoo article as well. I graduated in 1994, so it has been a while since I have eaten a school lunch. I always had the option to brown bag it or eat at school. The only time I brown-bagged it was on Fridays when they had fish with an alternate of a corn dog. We had actual lunch trays and real silverware. Every day, there were two main dish selections, and at least 3 vegetables to choose from. The best part were the fresh, homemade yeast rolls! We were not allowed the option of chocolate milk until Jr. High. Our lunch menu was published in the local paper each Sunday. I grabbed this past Sunday's paper after reading all of your blogs, and yes, they are still offering the same options. We always had a salad, a small one, but a salad none the less. In Jr. High and High School, we had a Salad bar that was very good. Our cafeteria served hot, fresh, delicious food. Oh, and we would get more than 6 tator tots! We also had actual chicken strips, not pressed and processed chicken nuggets. Keep up the good work. I have passed this blog along to my friends and family members that have children in school!

  21. Emilie March 18, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    Hey! I love what you're doing! As a vegan in high school I have never eaten at school! My friends and I were actually just talking about the whole lunch situation and even they admitted they hated the way they ate. (The one's that ate the school lunches) Since our school has a "restaurant food" line with pizza hut and such everybody eats there instead of nasty mystery food. But believe me… it's no better. They eat pizza, cookies, bread sticks, and chips every single day! Everybody always comments on how good my lunch looks. Usually a cabbage salad, veggie sandwich, and hummus. So obviously students WANT good food! Well… there's my little rant.
    Oh, and I'm in French class and we learned the other day that french schools prepare four course meals for their students and even serve them at there table! Lunches are an hour and a half so they also have the option of eating a nice meal at home!I think we should follow their example, they're one of the farthest ahead nations, education wise. And they go to school only 4 days a week!
    Well now I'm really done!
    Good luck!

  22. Roar March 18, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    I could write a journal or a blog (lol) about school lunches! I have so many things against them. I teach PE for students with disabilities a poor inner city school district in CA. The sad thing in our district is the middle/high school kids actually get a choice at lunch (3-5 options) some of them "healthy" but the elementary kids are served basically what you have pictured. I have been in many a parent meeting when weight issues come up and I have been asked to comment on nutrition, I tell them not to get me started on the school lunches. I have also set in a meeting where the school dietitian (who got a degree and multiple certifications in this stuff) justified the food in the lunches! Seriously how do they sleep at night knowing what they are doing to our nations children. Good luck to you and don't ruin your health too much by eating that crap!

  23. TJ Cooley March 18, 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Didn't know where else to put this – I survived eating at the cafeteria’s in school – I have been to meetings where the food staff really wanted to give out better meals and the admin staff pointed at the tight budget – and made deals for the lowest denominator in what could be called food.

    Thank you for your blog – thank you for speaking out – Thank you for trying where others have feared to go.

  24. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    Ms. Q, I don't know where you teach but I am glad to say that I didn't go there. My lunches were never individually wrapped. In my highschool there was a (nasty) pizza option and a different option. Although none of it tasted good, except for one day when we had a really good meatloaf, it was "nutritious". No salt, no flavor. I think that rather than putting all of the focus on healty, they should a) allow lunch service workers aka lunch ladies, to actually cook, b) teach them how to cook like professionals focusing on how to make healthy yet delicious foods, c)use herbs and such to flavor food rather than salt, and d)ask the kids what they would like to eat then figure out how to make a healthy and delicious version of that (ergo: a delicious pizza with low fat cheese and whole wheat crust). Who ever sells food to your school should be totally ashamed!

  25. VeraB March 18, 2010 at 4:49 am #

    My kids decided taking their lunch just wasn't cool when they started high school. They started asking for lunch $ so they could buy fries and pizza every day. After suffering from acne pimples, weight gain and constipation. . . they started asking me to help them pack their lunches again. LOL

  26. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    This is my first time reading this blog, and as a student(who has to endure school lunch everyday), I find it very fascinating to get the opinion of a teacher on the matter of school lunches.In my opinion, I think that students buy/get their lunches from the school mostly because they're soo much cheaper than the regular lunches(like lunchables) that you can buy in stores, plus, because of the increasing amount of works that parents are putting upon themselves, they don't have time to make lunch for their kids, resulting in them having to eat inutritious food from the school.Also, as a consequence of bad lunches, about 20 percent of kids at my school prefer to buy junk snacks such as Hot Cheetos, Doritos, Lays, brownies, etc. instead of regular lunches. This is probably one of the reasons why obesity in childhood is increasing greatly in U.S. I think that this blog is very well written and your dedication to achieve better lunches for students are really appreciated by me as well as everyone that reads this blog. Keep up the good work and I hope to see well results coming out of this project! :D

  27. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:55 am #

    At least the food at my high school, while it was the same highly processed crap that this is, didn't come in shrink wrapped cardboard boxes. That is just crazy!

  28. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    Mrs Q,
    Kudos on the work you are doing! It is time someone took the time to truly go to bat for our kids. A word of caution though. I know that you are attempting to keep your identity a secret, but you are also giving clues that a savvy administrator could use to find you out. The SKU number on a carton of milk can be traced to the receiving school(be very careful to cover any bar code or serial numbers in pictures.) Also by your posts one can tell that you teach lower elementary(shirt stains from an icee.) While not a lot to go on it is enough to give the administration a specific group to watch. Keep up the good work. Mr B.

  29. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:01 am #

    Mrs. Q,
    I admire what you are doing. I too am a school teacher and am shocked at what they serve our kids at school. Not to mention the fare they are serving in the hot line, but the amounts of junk food and power boost drinks they can purchase! It is sickening. So much so that students are hiding these items in their lockers and jacket pockets to eat the rest of the day. Since when did we teach our children to eat all day long?
    I applaud your efforts.
    Sincerely,
    Ms. S
    Oklahoma

  30. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:06 am #

    After reading your last several posts and viewing the food, here's what I don't get: you can feed students healthy food without it costing a fortune so why are such unhealthy choices being made? Let's be real. The food doesn't have to be organic. But as you mentioned, casseroles could be made using whole grain pasta with added veggies. Last I checked, potatoes are dirt cheap. I think the biggest challenge is eliminating a lot of the prep work that comes with inexpensive, healthy foods. The food they buy comes so prepared that it just has to be heated. This type of prep work (or lack thereof) is suited for unhealthy foods because it is so preserved and tastes so bad anyway that it is unnoticable. We need to come up with a better system. Some food needs to be prepared fairly fresh, which probably means more manpower (i.e. money). Aren't our children worth it?
    Thank you for sticking your neck out for this important topic!

  31. Lynn March 18, 2010 at 5:10 am #

    I saw this blog on the news and had to check it out. First, I should say, my kids are homeschooled so my interest in this is slightly different. I know school lunches have been pitiful for years. I am 38 years old and I still remember hearing on the news when I was around 10, President Reagan saying something about cutting back on school lunches. He even went on to say that ketchup is a vegetable and stuff like that that. In the same news broadcast they were talking about how much money they were spending on a new warship (battleship). I was so ticked off, I wrote him a letter! lol!!! I chewed him out for making decisions that could hurt children while spending money on something so unnecessary! lol!!! I got a form letter back saying how good it was to hear from young people and a book about the White House. It doesn't look like they have made any improvements since then. As an adult with MANY health problems, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, some digestive problems, anemia, high cholesterol and high blood pressure (even though I am only about 35 pounds over weight)I am VERY concerned about the lack of nutrition that the children have. I hope that your blog makes an impact on people. It has me. Like I said, my kids are not in the school system, and they eat healthy meals for lunch (natural peanut butter on whole wheat bread with reduced sugar jelly and Kefir is pretty normal), so it is easy to forget about what is going on in the schools. Proper nutrition is so important. Our country is not doing well by our children, it needs to stop!

  32. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:11 am #

    Mrs. Q and readers,

    I have just found this blog tonight and was instantly intrigued. I have now saved it to my favorites and will be returning often.

    My children (elementary aged) and I live in Missouri and our school district has been nice enough to provide lunch menus and nutritional information for each month on the school website. (we also get THREE (3) recesses in elementary school!) I would love to share our nutrition and daily lunch info on this blog so I have included a link to our school district website. I do not know if the lunches come pre-packaged but, I do know they are served on plates as if they are made in the kitchen in enormous pots/pans. Please feel free to check out the link. I would like to compare the menus of schools around the country and think the information would be interesting. http://www.r1schools.org/home.asp?id=28

  33. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    This is just revolting. Fruit? Vegetables? SOMETHING that isn't processed crap? Americans get so little fiber, and this lunch shows why. And vitamins? Antioxidants? Where's the nutrition in this?!

    No wonder we're fat.

  34. waidonchasaisew March 18, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    hi, i saw information on your project on yahoo news and i was glad that someone has recognized the problem and decided to do something about it. I'm just a teenager going to a high school in Hawaii and our lunches are horrendous. The school lunches over there at least look "edible." I can't bring myself to eat school lunch because our school special is chicken. chicken is served everyday regardless of the situation. I sometimes get a bowl of saimin they have on occasion, but i have resorted to eating a big breakfast and skipping lunch altogether. I hope you and your project become successful and recognized because this is a problem that I feel needs to be fixed.

  35. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:24 am #

    I've never seen these prepackaged servings in lunches before now. Maybe they're using them for the kids who are prone to dropping their trays, but the food looks atrocious. I remember going through the lunch line and being polite to the lunchroom ladies. They were almost always nice and the food was good and nutritious and the ladies were the ones who had made it. We frequently had soups and sandwiches and side items that were quite healthy compared to what I'm seeing in your blog. Maybe it was singular to my school system, but the food was good and filling and I looked forward to lunch every day. I will agree that there isn't enough time dedicated to a proper dining pace, so indigestion and stress about finishing your meal are quite likely to result. This being said, the time frame of those meals was approximately 25 years ago. Prepackaged, with a few exceptions, is not what our kids or teachers need to be eating. They need the freshly prepared meals that many of them can't get at home. For some of these kids, it may be the only meal they get all day long, so it should be nutritious, filling, and fulfilling. Food is not only comforting but necessary. The array of food that you've shown, doesn't seem comforting at all, at least to me. I hope it improves for you and your students sometime soon.

  36. Mallory's Mommy March 18, 2010 at 5:35 am #

    i know i said it before but i will say it again, i never had a school lunch like that!! i must be blessed to live where i do and i hope they never change the lunches to anything like that. it looks like you are eatin kids cuisines everyday

  37. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Kudos on a great blog! Here's one article you may find interesting. http://www.minnpost.com/globalpost/2010/03/17/16691the_worlds_largest_school_lunch_program_is_working_mostly

  38. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 6:02 am #

    Ok I don't know where any of you people are coming from. There is a mandated "wellness policy" at the federal level which does not allow meals to be more than 30% of calories from fat and not more than 10% from sugar. There are sodium restrictions and pages of mandated healthy food. My district has fresh salad bars daily (not from a bag) low fat salad dressings,white meat chicken, fish, whole grain products, homemade soups, nothing from a can, fresh fruits and vegetables, all the things that the government REQUIRES from a federal school meals program. YOUR out-sourced packaged meals are not allowed so stop complaining and giving everyone else a bad name and turn in your program. Non-compliance = loss of funding. Hilarious how the people complaining here will grab the keys and head for McDonalds with their children, for three times the price.

  39. SmartAlec494 March 18, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    This blog was really very interesting. I'm a college kid, and i still remember school lunches fresh (or not so much) in my memory. However, i realize that i was one of the lucky kids to actually have cooked food direct from the kitchen on our trays. I think this is a great idea and i really hope seeing pictures of 'real live' food will make people act a bit more than talking. As for people like that food service man, Don't get down just because some people's egos bruise easily. My grandma was actually the manager of our school cafeteria, and i saw the magic she could make happen for all those kids on our campus. Keep up the awesome work.

  40. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    I have read your entire blog up to this post, but this is my first comment.

    To be honest, I almost feel like weeping at how bad things seem to be for kids in schools these days. The one that stuck with me the most was "no recess." Kids are being fed unhealthy food, and they're not even given the opportunity to play and exercise.

    I guess I was a spoiled kid in that my school had much more time for food, and (I think) two recesses per day. And now kids have 13 minutes for (bad) food and little or no recess.

    I can't imagine being a parent and having to send a child off to that.

    Good thing I never plan on having kids, huh?

  41. SR March 18, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    Wow! I wish I would have found this sooner. My kids eat school lunch every day… well, at least they receive free lunch. They admit they usually skip lunch or pick through it. They also have the option of ala carte*. This option isn't much better. There is a school in the Fox Valley (Wisconsin) that serves healthy food to students. This is not a traditional school. If I understand correctly, the school is for at risk youth. The school doesn't serve the usual menu items because they believe, and I agree, that what kids eat has a great deal to do with their behavior.

    My kids have come home with horror stories of what they were served for lunch or breakfast or what they found in their food (yuck!). However, I'm one of the many parents that don't have a choice. It is out of financial need that my kids get school lunch. There needs to be drastic changes made with the way nutrition is handled in schools.

  42. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 6:15 am #

    Hello, Mrs. Q. =]]

    I must say that you are one brave woman for doing what you are. The pictures of your lunches have made me sick to my stomache, and the fact that the children are only given 20 minutes to eat is quite frankly rediculous. We have always been given 45 minutes for lunch here.

    I'm currently a junior in high school and when I think back to my elementary school days I definately don't remember pre-packaged lunches like that. Granted, my school wasn't as lacking in funds as yours seems to be. I do, however, remember relatively tasty && nutritious meals. I often ate freshly made pizza, macroni and cheese, or chicken nuggets usually with the option of corn, fresh fruit or fresh mixed fruit, greenbeans, brocolli, or mash potatoes and milk or juice if you were lactose-intolerate.

    Middle school was other story. There were three lines, cold lunches (often sandwiches), main hot lunch, or snack bar (ice cream and other unhealthy foods, though you had to pay-out-of-pocket for it even if you got free lunch). The main hot lunches were usually chicken nuggets, which were decent but I'll never eat them again after biting into one and finding hard little clear bits of I don't wanna know what more than once, lasagna, gross 'pizza', and hamburgers. I didn't eat lunch very often in middle school…

    I'm not even gonna go into detail about the cafeteria lunches at my high school. As upperclassmen we're allowed to leave campus for lunch, but I stay more often then not. I don't eat in the cafeteria though. We have a snack bar that serves hot pockets (ham&&cheese or pizza) personal pizzas, chicken sandwiches, gaterade, water, fruit, a variety of baked chips, slushees, nachos, or Hot Cheetos with cheese. I usually eat the pizza, but it makes me sick and I pick at it. Lately I've been bringing leftovers for lunch, or if I don't I'll at least bring an orange and my own juice from home.

    We use to have vending machines with snacks && sodas, but the snacks were removed and the soda was replaced with fruit juices.

    Also, the snack bar is out-of-pocket so lunch gets pretty expensive (about $4 for just a pizza, chips, and a drink).

    With that said, I hope your efforts to educate students and the district pay off! =]]

  43. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 6:37 am #

    Why is all the food in pre-prepared dishes like cheap frozen food?

  44. rachelsayswhoa March 18, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    As bad as this lunch looks, it actually looks better than the lunches that were provided when I was in grade school.

  45. Peaceout Bunny March 18, 2010 at 7:31 am #

    Looks like airplane food

  46. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    So, there is fruit, grain and meat… No vegetables? After all, despite what some people seem to think, corn is a grain, not a vegetable.

  47. Meg March 18, 2010 at 7:56 am #

    Being someone who has been out of the school system for over five years, it has been disheartening to see that the same exact meals you are being served are the SAME EXACT meals I had been served in the early 90's as a child attending a private school.
    Your pictures of pisa pizza are haunting and truly want to make me assume the fetal position.

    Although, I had never even really consumed any or all of my free lunches it's quite sad knowing the fat laden, calorie boosting, by- product of by-product is still served.
    Not to mention the milk. I have not touched a drop of chocolate milk since leaving school. This was the only option I had been served as a child. Skim or 2% was unheard of, although available, the chain smoking angry lunch lady never really gave us a choice.

    I must say, though, I had been raised in a family quite dependent on government issued food stamps so my meal choices at home were neither as healthy or just as poor in nutrients than meals served in school.
    I learned to love organic products on my own, thankfully.

    When does it ever stop if not in the home or in schools?

    Some true food for thought. It's great there's someone trying to change the way food is perceived and served but those same exact lunches have been a staple in the lunchroom for over a decade.

  48. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    Looking at the photos of this food makes me sick, and I'm not even probably considered a healthy eater at all. When I was in school, seven years ago, the food wasn't very desireable, but it was still edible for the most part. The food shown is an atrocity and I wouldn't feed it to my dogs let alone a child. If I had children and I found out they were being subjected to food that looked or probably tasted as haneous as that food, if you can even call it food, does I would probably stop paying my school taxes and begin home schooling my children. I think it's an insult that we can spend millions of dollars on helping a war-torn foreign country that doesn't have a government (Haiti) by giving them food (which probably is better looking, healthier, and tastes better), water, and medicine when there are children in this country that are in dire need of better, more nutricious, better tasting food.

  49. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    Mrs. Q,

    I love what you are doing. I think this is an interesting project, one that will educate parents, students, and school officials. Needless to say, the sight of these lunches is not only disturbing because of what I have seen on these trays, but because they bring back memories of my childhood.

    Life used to be grand for me in elementary school. Packed lunches with love. Fruit guaranteed everyday. I was very fortunate. Then my dad lost his job and it was onto public school and free meal tickets. I will not even lie to you. There is nothing I enjoyed about those school lunches, in junior high or high school. They got worse as the years went on. Mystery meat is indeed just that. I still don't know what a pork fritter is. And the pizza, well, you know. I had no choice. I ate it and I was grateful. My family had very little money. My brother and I got our 3 meals a day in, but the school lunch was by far the least satisfying.

    Now, like you, I am a school teacher, but I live in Tokyo, Japan. I bring my lunch often(some habits are hard to break, and I often sit outside with my students), but I like the food in our school cafeteria. It is always hot, and always balanced. Soup and salad are available everyday. Rice and fish are a staple, but we also enjoy pasta, curry, and dessert. Vending machines have milk, tea, and juice, but the students seem to stick with the Japanese tea available and lunch, and water(imagine that).

    Our school year just ended and we are about to start our spring break. Then the new school year begins on April 1st. I have had plenty of time today to go through each lunch you have had.

    All I can say is to keep doing what you are doing. I laughed out loud reading the ingredients in the ketchup and icee. When I showed my colleagues the pictures, they were speechless. I believe my favorite is the rib dish. We called it a riblet in school. I have gotten chills several times today.

    I realize that all schools are not the same, but for the ones that do serve lunches like these, they should make a better effort to change. I think it is terrible that some of the fruit cups are still frozen and yeah, how about serving the fresh fruit cut up. I mean, I am sorry, just sticking the orange and the apple on the tray is lazy. Especially for individuals who may have fine motor issues or have trouble biting into fruit.

    Good luck and hopefully, you'll continue to have a meal or two that you will enjoy over the next year.

    Tokyo

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