Day 44: Hot dog

Today’s menu: hot dog, whole wheat buns, beans, fruit cup, milk (for new readers: the milk is not pictured because I’m lactose intolerant)

I forgot to grab a ketchup packet so I had a rough time getting the hot dog down. The beans were good, but I avoided the fruit cup as usual and just munched on an apple I brought from home.

Kids love hot dogs and I also like a good hot dog in the summer (as I’ve said before I like to have a frank from the grill or at the ballpark). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with hot dogs in moderation, but I get upset when hot dogs are offered frequently to kids, especially during the winter when kids require more robust nutrition to prevent illness.

I worry that kids are getting offered junk and convenience food because adults believe that that’s all they will eat for school lunch. Obviously we want kids to eat, but should not cater to what a 7 year old would theoretically prefer to eat.

Does a schoolchild have the decision making power or the palate to have a preference? Aren’t we in the business of educating children not them dictating what they want? Do they really have a clue what they should or shouldn’t be eating?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

124 thoughts on “Day 44: Hot dog”

  1. seriously…does the carton at the top of your page (where the title is located) actually say "food for thought" HECK>>>no wonder kids test scores suck..just like there lunches! Sad and terrible that America, the biggest wasters of food can not get their "stuff" together enough to offer healthy choices to nurture these minds that will one day lead our great nation.

    as a kid I was always a packer, with 4 kids to buy lunches for it was more affordable to pack. Although..I DO NOT remember the lunches looking so sickly, horrible…and frankly processed. I pack my 2 daughters lunches, they only buy as a "treat" usually on pizza day.
    Your blog is awesome and informative…THANK YOU! it all has to start somewhere!
    "food for thought" OY!

  2. For the hypicritial right-wingers to who praise Jesus but decry the "nanny state" and discount the health of students, let me put it in terms you can understand: MONEY.

    Changing government regulations (or getting rid of some of them even) and improving the food ENVIRONMENT around children would likely lead to cost savings in health care. Leave specifics about vendor selection to voting locals in the town where the school is located.

    There are other factors to leading a healthy life, including exercise, hygiene, smoke/drug/alcohol avoidance, sexual health
    education, mental health (including religion), etc. but food is STILL a factor to consider.

    Ignoring this would be like (again, to put it into money terms for all you "conservatives")
    saying that cutting spending on a wasteful government project is a dumb idea, if it did not, in and of itself, completely balance the US budget deficit.

    It's just a small part of the puzzle, Johnny, but at least it's a start.

  3. i found your blog today through a link on yahoo, and am adding it to the list of blogs i read daily. when my daughter was at her last school i went to eat lunch with her one day and was shocked at the difference between the lunches i ate at school and what was being served to her. i don't know if her lunch at her current school is just as bad, but assume that it is and try to make up for it as much as i can with the meals i serve at home. this is hard to do with a limited budget, but i try to solve that problem by avoiding box meals and canned vegatables. i like to cook, and make most our meals from scratch using frozen vegatables and mostly whole grain carbs. what bothers me the most is my daughter always comes home hungry. after the day at her school lunch i found out why. her lunch tray is about half the size of what i remember them to be, and it seems that no one is making sure they eat even part of their meal. when i was in school we were encouraged to finish our lunch, and were not allowed to go to recess until we had at least tried everything on the tray. at her school i noticed many trays in the trash that looked like they had not been touched except for the chocolate milk was drank.
    another thing that bothers me is that i have found that it is much cheaper to buy ingredients in bulk to make homemade food than to buy things pre-made, and that makes me think that it would be especially true for a school that would have to buy everything in bulk due to the amount of lunches they serve everyday. i know that it would mean more work, and possibly more costs due to hiring people who can make these things from scratch as opposed to what looks like reheating frozen food in an oven, but i would think that having healthier kids (with probably lower health care costs) would be worth it.

  4. I just spent the past hour reading through your blog backwards, from today to start, and noted the revolving themes to be quality/nutritiousness, price, and taste, and really seemed to mainly revolve around the fruit cups. I am 26yrs old, a pediatric registered nurse, and look for easy and quick creative ways to get my fruits and veggies in for the day. I rarely get to take my full 30 min lunch break, and usually am wolfing down my food in 20min or less.

    I find regular fruit cups disgusting. The syrup they are packaged in is so thick and sweet I feel like I ate more sugar than fruit. However, fruit cups, especially store brands, can be very inexpensive, and are sooo wuick and easy for me to eat while at work! Because I can, I look for 'healthier' fruit cup options, which brand names have been able to produce and market, but store names have not. I have been able to purchase for significantly more money no-sugar-added, in sugar-free gelatin, and lite fruit cup options. With a coupon, I can get 16 fruit cups for approx $11, which is $0.68 per fruit cup. Half that for the store name kind. So, in my life, I am lucky to be able to chose the pricier, healthier, name brand option, but as you're seeing in your school and I'm sure other schools- the lesser option is being chosen essentially because of school-lunch funding. My healthier no-sugar added and lite options taste just as good too, in my opinion!

    Fresh fruit is exciting to see and eat with lunches, but I don't choose it at work (hospital germs, ick, especially if I can't wash it- and I don't eat anything with my hands despite being freshly washed!), not to mention the pesticides on fruit that probably isn't too clean for the kids to eat. So give me my 'healthy' fruit cups I can eat with a spoon, and please give the kids the 'healthy' fruit cups they can eat with a spoon (because are they really washing their hands??)

    Maybe my comment is incoherent, unclear, etc, but basically to make healthy option, more money is required, and that stinks.

    And really, how much nutrition really comes from one little fruit cup? I guess it's something though….

  5. Hi,
    I'm from Indonesia, and I know my country's image is not always that positive. And coming from a "third-world country", we admire developed nations like the U.S. for the advancement that you have.

    However, reading your blog, I'm very shocked to see this part of America. In Indonesia, schools don't provide lunch. Our cafeterias comprise stalls that can be rented. So we have no lunch lady, just food/drink sellers who have been there for so long that students, teachers and sellers have become friends.

    Now some may view this negatively. But in fact, because they don't have to do it, stalls need to offer great food which they cook themselves, in order for students to want to buy it. The schools do monitor the offerings, cap their prices, and rule that stalls can't offer the same as others so there's no competition and fairer for everyone.

    As a result, sellers are encouraged to provide better, and students can decide the better options for them.

    By the way, I remember my Biology teacher once told us, after we eat, it takes approximately 2.5 hours for us to use that food for energy. Therefore we need to refuel every couple of hours. This is why in my high school, we have three recesses – 9.30 and 2 p.m. for 15-minute break, and at noon for half an hour. School lasts from 7 until around 3 p.m.

  6. I do agree that kids shouldnt dictate the menu on some level, but its become a viscious cycle where parents dont bother trying to get their kids to even try new things, then those kids go to school where they do offer a vegetable or fruit, and the kids wont even try it, so it ends up in the garbage.

    I understand this can be frustrating for schools, seeing all the food just discarded..im sure it makes them apathetic about the meals. Thats why we get these bland meals (its not an excuse for the quality, however).
    Its sure nice that there are some commenters here who do offer thier kids nice meals at home, but like you said, 3 quarters of the children at many schools are getting free lunch, which means the parents get food stamps, which means money is tight-and we all know crappy food is cheaper.
    Im not sure if the menu's can be fixed at this point in time. Im more on board with more required PE time. Its almost as sad to me that kids dont have a recess daily, as the lunch situation.

  7. I totally agree that kids should not be dictating the meals. However, in case anyone is feeling bad about their parenting because their kids are picky, let me tell you that my family doesn't buy fast food or soda, are members of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), shop at the Co-op, and otherwise try to be healthy. I still have one child that won't touch a fruit or vegetable. He doesn't eat school lunch either (or any lunch, for that matter), and I have visions of him living off junk food once he leaves home. I think we need to model good eating habits, but picky kids can't totally be blamed on schools and parents.

  8. What I am seeing on your school lunches, are the same veggies…green beans, tator tots, or some kind of baked beans. In my school, we had broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans, various types of fresh peas, corn, greens, and occasionally mashed potatoes or french fries. I was an extremely picky eater when I was younger. My mom died of shock when I came home and said I wanted broccoli for dinner! We always had at least 2 main dishes to choose from. My all time favorite school food…the homemade pizza we had maybe once a month!

    I grew up in a independent school district in an east Texas town. Many of my schoolmates' moms were our cafeteria workers. The lady in charge of our lunches was a mom with a child in the school, and was a nutritional specialist. That was back in the 80's and early 90's!

  9. I do honestly believe that resorting to hot dogs, chicken nuggets and pizza is not the way to get kids to eat. My son is offered healthy choices and doesn't know any different. He has had a variety of ethnic food, tons of veggies (cooked and raw with little to no toppings), all sorts of fresh fruit, spicy things and loves it all.

    He had never been offered a hot dog, but we were out for dinner and I thought what the heck I'll let him try one. He barely touched it, but he devoured his side of steamed broccoli and carrots. I think a lot of it is conditioning, and your attitude towards the food. I never treated anything as better than anything else. Nothing is really an off limit food but there are things I rarely bring into the house so he isn't exposed quite as much. I never force feed him anything. He chooses what to eat and how much (from what he is offered) and he makes wonderful choices thus far.

    I think a lot of it is that hot dogs, pizza, etc is a lot more convenient than scratch cooking for schools maybe? Who knows… Looks like when my kids start school they'll be brown bagging it… *sigh*

  10. I hope you get TONS of publicity (and a raise when you are found out). This is long overdue! Kudos to you Ms Q.

  11. I love your blog!!!! I have two children in public school and they have never eaten a school lunch and they never will. I don't send anything fancy or "fun" to replace it – just good old fashioned REAL food that is simple and healthy. Can't wait to read all the back posts over the next few days!

  12. P.S. It would be awesome to have some posts on great ideas for home lunches…..for those of us who send the same exact lunch 300 times a year 🙂 I'd love to know what other mom's send with their kids.

  13. Another problem is that it is mandatory for the kids to take milks and every side along with the "meal". Where i live, all of the portions are the same making it so many kids don't get enough food. The state wastes a ton of money by forcing the kids to take food they don't want and then having them just throw it away afterwards without eating it. What is even worse then that sadly, is that a large number of the milks and fruits are rotten making the kids no longer want to eat or even touch them.

  14. Mrs. Q,
    You are absolutely right about educating the kids on what to eat- do you do that in your class? It is impossible to introduce new and unfamiliar foods to kids in a cafeteria environment without nutrition education.

    You can't blame what's being provided for school lunch for the choices kids make. School lunch providers all over the U.S. are trying to nourish kids so they can learn in your classrooms. And the regulations for school lunch are much stricter than the regulations for curriculuum, and more frequently audited!

  15. I have to disagree. Eating more healthful food does NOT have to be more expensive. Also, kids WILL eat things other than hot dogs and chicken nuggets (especially if their teachers and peers are doing it.) My kids do. My kid's friends do, when they come over.

    Health food doesn't have to be tofu, either. But it does take effort to make healthy, tasty food on a budget, and if you don't make it tasty, no one will eat it.

    I love Mrs Q's suggestions (on past posts) for making things easier and healthier, such as quartering the oranges instead of giving whole fruit.

    What else can we do, how else can we take baby steps to improve the food and nutrition of school lunches?

  16. I love that I found your blog and I love what you're doing.

    I was a student teacher 4 years ago and I ate with the kids a handful of times. I wanted to spend more time with the kids and eat with them. However, the food was so bad I couldn't eat it. The second time I ate with them was simply because I forgot my lunch. The best part was that they served the exact thing I had the first time. The thought of it digusts me.

    Thanks for shedding more light on this topic. I know a lot of people probably don't like it, but our society needs to be accountable whether they want to be or not.

    ~Kori in CA

  17. I LOVE this blog! I work at a district that is 100% free lunch and I can't believe what passes for breakfast and lunch served to our kids. Breakfast especially, is often a single slice of really hard and dry cheese toast, or a donught. Both breakfast and lunch are the same 7 or 8 menu items repeated endlessly. Pizza, chicken rings, chicken nugets, hamburgers, mac&cheese,or fish sticks. It's all over processed, over cooked, and looks awful. Most of the time there is little nutritional value.

    A couple of things that confuse me, too, are that in a 100% free lunch environment it is not legal to charge for any food item, but yet there are snack vending machines available to the children and the cafeteria sells cups of slushies for a dollar each. Teacher's aren't allowed to give candies to children, but they're fed donughts and poptarts for breakfast.

    And yes, for many kids in this district, these ARE their only meals. A malnourished cannot grow and cannot learn as well as he or she could otherwise.

    Thank you for doing what you're doing! For every kid choaking down a rubbery hot dog, or a smear of cold oatmeal–thank you!

  18. First off, I think it's just laziness. They could take a survey and see what kids think of the food. And what the kids really want to eat. They might be surprised. They'd surely learn something themselves.

    They seem to be just assuming that kids don't like healthy food and just want to eat pizza and hot dogs. Of course, it's easier that way.

  19. I find wheat buns repulsive. I had to buy a lunch from school one time, and it was the worst. I know its supposed to be healthy and what not, but a dry tasteless wheat bun is too much pain for the gain of nutrition.

    I have to say I think your lunches are better than the ones served at my high school. You get several different categories of food and it looks a bit better than the mush I get.

  20. Hola, soy de Guatemala y me encanta tu blog Mrs. Q!!! Hi, I`m from Guatemala, and I love your blog, it is so interesting, but what I love the most is your compromise and commitment!!! You have a "daily" reader in Guatemala city and keep up with your project!!!!!!! Saludos y que estes bien!!!!!!!

  21. Mrs. Q,
    First of all I think this is an *amazing* blog idea! as someone who's going to be a future educator this is great. I recently did my first round of field experience in a public elementary school, and the lunches weren't healthy; I brought my lunch from home, but I seriously think that schools don't realize how easy it is to have healthier lunch choices. I personally remember when I was in elementary school, that we didn't really have a choice of what we were drinking, it was either regular milk or chocolate milk. Which I think might work, but it should be milk, juice, or water and healthier food choices. I do agree though it's ok to have pizza on a friday or two but the kids in some elementary schools have choices to buy cookies and brownies and all these things, I was thinking to myself, I had a main entree, some vegetable, another side, a choice between two desserts, and milk I think if school's made healthy choices and went back to that type of system it would be better.

  22. I know you prob. don't have time to read all this but I just wanted to say that I love this! Hooray for highlighting this national problem! And I wish you the best – mom of elementary aged kids, Cheryl

  23. If only it were that most parents don't care. Unfortunately, as centralized public education dominates, even if enough parents may care in a certain area, since most parents don't care system-wide, it is nearly impossible to get even local change.

    I know this view will not find popularity, but please take it into consideration, as I am one who honestly cares about the education and fulfillment of our youth: a government approach is almost always a half-assed approach. This includes government outsourcing to private firms. A better system puts vouchers in the hands of the parents who care, to divert their children to the better-run schools and put pressure on those that perform poorly.

    So long as liberty is paramount, bad parenting will persist and there will be little recourse. If we are to do the best we can, we should not allow this to damn all our children to substandard education.

  24. Ugh! Thank you so much for making this blog. School lunches are the worst. I had 4th period lunch in high school. By 6th period I was so sluggish from the lack of nutrition that I couldn't stay awake for my last 3 periods. It's no surprise that I failed nearly all of my after lunch classes. Heck, half the time the lunches were so gross I couldn't even eat them. It's awful what they're feeding kids & something really needs to be done about it.

  25. Firstly im so glad someones finally doing this,and Id like to apologize in advadnce for any mispelling or grammar errors.

    Im a student in Conroe Texas, and the food is just revolting.Nothing is made by scratch like I remember in elementry.I am served tasteless mush that is relabeled as chicken,burgers,and pizza.Not only does the food not taste so good,but when their are no restrictions on extra items you see teenagers walking away from the lunch counters with 2 bags of chips, 3 cookies, and a choclate milk.Atleast the school has a semi-annual salad day,but even that is usually still a frozen mass by the time I get it. A usual school week is served like this at my school,

    Monday: Chicken and mash potatos,

    Tuesday: Microwaved burrito day (Corn optional)

    Wednesday Pizza day (No sides)

    Thursday:Burger day with french fries(No sides)

    Friday:Frozen salad with wheat roll(No sides)

    and to top it all off every day the cafitiria serves the item of the day or pizza.These lunchs are served every week i've eaten these same five meals for 4 years now and im sick of it.

    I am very concerned about the food served at todays schools,and so are many of my friends.

    Hope this gives any of you parents an opinon on todays supposed "Healthy" Cafitrias.

    I hope someone does something about this seeing as the students can't do much besides boycott the lunch lines (I've considered starting some sort of better lunchs movement at my school,but most people dont care enough to take part in it).

    Signed
    Picky Eater.

  26. I've read through your blogs and I have to say, some of this stuff looks pretty unhealthy, but a lot of it looks better than what's at my school. I'm a junior in high school in south MS and school lunches here are just HORRIBLE. Everything we eat has either been frozen or is from a can, and usually we have leftovers for a few days at a time. I get free lunch, though, so I guess it could be worse if I had to PAY to try and inhale this crap that I have about 20 minutes to eat. I really hope something can be done to change school lunches, even if it's just a little bit.

  27. Just found this blog today. Great idea, Mrs. Q!

    I don't know what the answer is. Offering the kids better foods sounds wonderful. But, how many of these students grew up knowing nothing but chicken nuggets, mac & cheese, pizza & hotdogs?

    My child eats a wide variety of foods. But, he has been offered this variety since he transitioned from baby food.

    But, I love to cook & experiment in the kitchen. We (my husband & I) make food from scratch 90% of the time. That is a rare thing in our circle.

    I also know how lucky I am that my kid is willing to try anything we put in front of him. (Though he refuses to eat school lunch.) You see, I was a picky eater as a child. I know that plight. While I've made great strides & have expanded my food choices vastly, I still have a long way to go.

    Anyway, kid's who eat mostly foods from a box, bag, can or pouch at home are likely to gravitate to that elsewhere.

    Kid's who have a limited diet are less likely to try new things.

    The schools need to do something about what they pass off as food.

    But, parents need to make a change with what they feed their kids at home.

    Honestly, I do not know how you have managed to eat those lunches. But, I thank you for putting school lunches in the spotlight.

  28. I live in houston texas and I think we do things a little different down here. High school have a salad bar ,hot meal side and a sub sandwhich shop you have a option free or pay oour hot food come with your choice of two entrees and you choice two of four different kinds of veges. the lunch lady will not let you out if you do not have two veges and a fruit. now the breakfast sucks, pancake,honey buns, french toast even funnel cakes.

  29. Hi, I recently discovered your blog…I am a west coast native who moved to France a while back. I shared a link to your blog on my FB acct and it has quickly drawn feedback! I wondered a couple of things related to your topic … are you familiar with Alice Waters and her work to improve US school lunches? she is a foodie & restauranteur who is an advocate of school garden projects as a way to reintroduce kids to what real food is…might be interesting to read/blog about.

    also, are you familiar with France's lunch program? it is quite amazing, kids sit down to a 5 course meal daily, and can find something within to like. The program also attempts to educate parents a bit. Of course, the school system in general is different, but given the respect and history towards food … it is interesting. Time recently did an article on it … http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1967060,00.html

    I'll end by saying I have a couple best memories of school lunches…as a child (in my late 40s now) I attended school in Oregon a couple of years and remember being impressed by the food, much of which was homemade. particularly the hot cross buns and the smell! In middle school, we had returned to California, where vending machines reigned supreme. My weekly highlight was Fridays when McDonalds burgers (the small plain ones) were sold for a quarter a piece, accompanied by a carton of milk. someone would go and buy boxes of them and bring them back. The line lasted all lunch period (which was around 50 minutes).

    And I am shocked that there are no longer recesses in public schools! talk about outrageous.

    Your blog is an eye opener and a wake up call as to what I see must be a major cause of overweight, poor health and eating habits of american citizens.

  30. USA Today 4.30.2008

    As schools push to satisfy growing demands to squeeze more fruits, vegetables and whole grains onto lunch trays, such small margins have forced them to rely heavily on the Department of Agriculture's commodities program for costly items such as meat and cheese. The program markets surplus food produced by the farmers and ranchers.

    "From a business standpoint, government commodities are the only way you can produce a $2.47 meal," says Barry Sackin, a California school nutrition consultant.

    Just as consumers are paying more for staples, so are schools. Though they often use long-term contracts to lock in low prices, cafeteria directors say they're still seeing double-digit cost increases over last year: a 12% increase for bread, 13% for rice and pasta, 15% for cheese and 17% for milk.

    That, coupled with revelations that one of the biggest beef suppliers for the National School Lunch Program was forcing cows that couldn't walk into a slaughterhouse, has critics saying it's time to change how the program works.

    Even the program's harshest critics won't directly link reliance on USDA commodities to a higher risk of unsafe food. (Most food service managers say it's among the safest food they buy.) But as Congress prepares to reauthorize the National School Lunch Program next year, critics and advocates alike say the way the program is funded needs to be overhauled to make it as cheap and easy to buy fresh fruits and vegetables as it is to buy processed food.

    For one thing, nearly all agree it's going to take a bigger payout from the federal government, whose reimbursement "goes up by pennies a year," says Dana Woldow, a San Francisco mother of three. "Our expenses go up by dollars." In 2002, Woldow formed a parents committee to improve school lunches for city children.

    At a time when food prices are rising for all consumers, critics say the $2.47 is woefully inadequate.

    "It's no surprise that what you end up with is a highly processed, carefully packaged product that doesn't resemble food as our grandparents knew food," says Kate Adamick, a chef and food systems consultant. "I defy you to go to the grocery store with $4 and buy food for your family of four for lunch."

    New USDA figures show the per-meal reimbursement for low-income students stands at just under $2.50, but the typical school spends $2.91 and relies on USDA for about 51% of its revenue.

    Mary Hill, who directs the School Nutrition Association, puts the amount cafeterias spend at $3.10 a meal. The rest comes from students paying, either partially or in full, or from kids who buy a la carte items.

    Penny Parham, who directs nutrition programs for Miami-Dade schools, told Congress in March that staple food costs in Miami were up 23% since last year. She has spent $4.5 million more on milk alone.

    "We do not want to serve our students highly refined sugar and flour products, which are more affordable," she said, "but we are continually being pushed down this path."

  31. Wow, I have just discovered this blog. I had no idea that the food in US schools was soooo bad! The food in my daughter's day care and school (France and Italy) was/is never super but much much better. I can remember my daughter getting served coq au vin (chicken in white wine sauce), mashed potatoes and carrots, and cheese and fruit for dessert – when she was TWO years old in her daycare in Rome, Italy.

  32. I'm a high school student in eastern oregon…and the sad thing is the pictures I have seen you post look much better than what I eat every day at lunch here. Often the food looks, and tastes so stale or disgusting (if not both) that I don't even eat. I'd rather go hungry until I get home. If we didn't have open campus during lunch, I'm sure I would have quickly started looking anorexic. The food they try to force down us is absolutely disgusting. Nobody should have to eat like this. My dad works in a prison and they are fed better than us students. There seems to be something inherently wrong with this.

  33. This is a fabulous thing you are doing!! I remember when I was in high school, I loved chicken and dumpling day – and gumbo day – lol. But, my 1st grade son – the lunches offered to him are substandard at best. I pack him a lunch every day – but on chicken nugget and corn dog day, he buys a lunch – regardless of what I packed. Sigh. I guess if that's the only days he eats the school cafeteria food – I can live with that – but I feel so sorry for the kids that have to eat it each and every day. And there are MANY. I used to be a teacher before I had kids and it's really, really sad that this is the best meal some children get. Heartbreaking. Keep up the good work!

  34. at my school, our "lunches" seem to be alot worse. i have no idea where they come up with most of the menus. also if you want extra of anything or even a bottle of water, you have to pay for it… it's ridiculous! however, in the snack machines they took out all the candy and fatty foods and replaced them with baked chips, fruit chews, etc.. which personally i think is a good choice. but, they replaced the sodas and gatorade "which gatorade is good for the athletes or whatever…" with diet sodas which are considerably worse for you despite their lack of sugar. in general, all school lunches need to be substantially improved!

  35. I just stumbled upon your blog today, and I think that this entire project is amazing. I really appreciate what you're doing for our kids.
    Keep up the hard work, and I can't wait to read more!!

  36. This is a great project!
    I taught in a school where we were lucky to have a great lunch program where most of the food was cooked fresh every day; though sometimes lacked a little imagination. (tacos and stir fry every Tues & Wed..all year)
    I have two boys myself who were introduced to foods such as sushi, Thai & all sorts of ethnic foods early. My youngest, at four, begged for sushi on a weekly basis. They often "choose" healthy foods rather than the junk because of their early exposure. When school lunch program stimy this growth with junk…well i think the national obesity and health problems say volumes.

  37. Both my Grandma and aunt work in the cafeteria in los angeles. My grandma at an elementry school and my aunt at the high school. The food in the elementry is all pre-package and i've ate the food cause she brings a few home to eat or for the dogs.The school has tried to have an effort in the food like salad and veggie burgers. My Aunt makes the food at the high school

  38. I'm with you on those fruit cups. I stayed away from those, too. They're all mushy in some weird syrupy thing.

  39. Quick comment to the anonymous poster up there. Gatorade has a lot of sugar and HFCS. There's nothing better for an athlete than water.

  40. What I find most frightening is all the people who post and say "School lunch wasn't so bad. I really enjoyed eating the [hot dogs, pizza, burgers, fries, wings, etc]. This is America!"

    This is indeed America, and we can do better! Why did the school lunch program start? Because not all families could afford to give their children a healthy, balanced lunch, and local farmers needed a leg up. Or, families that could afford more nutritious food lacked the time to properly prepare it so school lunch was a good fall-back crutch.

    What has it become? Cheap, disgusting, unrecognizable-as-food garbage. One could just as easily (and cheaply) pop over to any fast food restaurant on the way to school and get something off the dollar menu that would be of the same caliber or better than this trash! We aren't teaching kids or helping local farmers anymore! We are propping up the industrial food rag and grooming kids to be good consumers.

    And it drives me crazy to hear people say "for a $1, what do you expect? You get what you pay for". Buying healthy foods in bulk and making things from scratch IS cheap! It IS economical! Whenever you buy prepackaged, you pay for convenience – and you pay again later in hospital bills. Sure a 10lb bag of [rice, lentils, beans] seems to cost way more than that imitation food, but it goes a lot further too! We need to stop being so short sighted and think ahead! A $5 stop through to a fast food joint feeds for a day. A $5 bag of lentils feeds for a week. And guess which will keep you out of the doctor's longer? You do the REAL math!

  41. I've just finished reading all the entries on your blog. Wow. As the year has progressed, the food seems to have gone from bland to really bland. This latest offering looks terrible.

    I live in South Africa. We don't have school lunches. Each child comes to school with a homemade lunch and I can honestly say that sometimes, what the parents make for their children is not much better than the meals you have pictured here. Still, it can only be 100% healthier and more nutritional than all the overprocessed and valueless food the kids at your school seem to be getting to eat. Empty calories.

  42. Question: What are the vegetarian options for the kids? Please don't tell me that the kids who don't eat meat or are kosher/hallal have to do without?! Very disturbing. I wonder what the companies that make this food are thinking, knowingly planning such unhealthy meals for an entire generation of kids?

  43. Ok I just found this website and I think it is really cool and it remineded me of how me and a friend who both ate cafateria food everyday used to joke that with all the preservatives in the food it would either kill us before we were 30 or make us live to 100 because "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" for both our and your sakes I hope it is the latter.

  44. I was just introduced to your site today, and what really shocks me is the tiny, tiny portions that are given! 6 tater tots? A small croissant with a slice of cheese? A "burger" so small a mouse wouldn't bother with it? A 1/4 cup of chili? I understand that they're sometimes serving grade school kids, and some of them really don't eat much, but when I was that young, I ate 2 peanut butter sandwhiches, a piece of friut, chips, and whatever dessert my mom happened to pack for me.(My school didn't have a lunch program) That was along with the breakfast my mom insisted that I eat and dinner later that night, and I was only about 70 pounds. I find it disheartening to think that for some kids this is the only meal they are getting and it doesn't even look like it would be enough to tide me over as a light snack.

  45. Thank you for starting a blog on such an important subject. I admire your effort and hope more and more people will join and come to senses regarding the food we feed to our children.
    Just one thing I don't understand: why is there a Domino Pizza ad on your blog page?

  46. @Francesco: The ads are to cover the cost of the school food, as Mrs. Q is paying out of pocket in order to fund this project.

    I am a college student fresh out of high school, and while I wasn't as unfortunate as to have to deal with reheated-cellophane cartons since our cafeteria had an actual kitchen, our fare was much the same as this. And I lived in a fairly affluent town, so it's not like our school was lacking funds. Most of the food didn't taste bad, per se (although when they tried to do "international" foods like stir-fry, they failed. miserably.) but I was usually aware that it wasn't particularly healthy.

  47. I run a school caff here in Massachusetts,and it starts in the Kitchen if you have so many free and reduced students,you get money back from the state to purchase food and Mik but it's up to the cooks to be creative,1st thing I say a prayer after the Our Father "Dear Lord please allow me to assist you in feeding your children a Hot healthy meal with the help of my staff" in the name of the Father,Son and Holy spirit Amen" then I hit the alarm and go to work,it's very simple,first rule you have to want to.yesterday Meatloaf,I'm in a k-6 school so I bake them in muffin pans,same meatloaf just a better presentation.Cranberry brown rice pilaf(use cranberry juice in place of water)corn,Focaccia bread and a chocolate chip cookie,all homemade,in my school we have an alternative meal each day not the fries or chips but for the non meat eaters,o a Hummus wrap,the trick is to think outside of the box,it has to not only taste good but look good.talk to your school nurse if you have no clue and he or she can help you with your meal plans.I save the ends of the bread and toss them in the freezer,I use it for Bread pudding,again outside the box use #10 can of peaches to mix in. I hope it all works out if you need any more ideas feel free to give me a call 413-259-1212 ext 115 I'm in at 5:00 A.M.

  48. I lived on military bases when I was a child as my father was in the Air Force. My school lunches never looked like this and were nutritionally sound. I know from Reading posts and other articles about the blog that this is a school with a poor population but I think if I was a parent and I saw this crap coming out of the cafeteria you bet I would be taking my fight to the school board. I would love to see how there food Budget looks if they actually began to make homemade food and all natural meals vs this process crap? I bet in the long run the expense would be nothing to balk at. I can defiantly see the benefits to the students but the school as well. The better the students perform the more funding the school will get!

  49. "adults believe that that's all they will eat for school lunch"

    Oh yeah – here starts part of the problem. Of course that's all they'll eat if that's all they're offered, or even they're just given that option.

Comments are closed.