May recap

Five months down…

May stats:
19 school lunches eaten:
(3 – pizza lunches)
(3 – burger-like lunches)
(5 – chicken lunches)
(1 – hot dog lunch)
(2 – pasta lunches)
(1 – cheese sandwich)
(1 – bean burrito)
(1 – meatball sub)
(1 – chili)
(1 – turkey)


(6 – fruit cups)
(7 – carrots)
(3 – apples)
(2 – bananas)
(3 – beans)
(3 – broccoli)
(3 – orange)
(0 – green beans)
(2 – fruit jello)
(3 – tater tots)
(1 – corn)
(0 – fruit icee)
(1 – peas)
(0 – pears)
(1 -greens)

What I posted in May:

Q and A with Mr. Q
Q and A with Mendy Heaps
Homework: Your district’s menu — Thanks to everyone who linked to their school districts’ menu
Home Sweet Lunch — Special family lunch (family pasta sauce recipe in now available in the comments)
Share of stomach
Cafeteria learning — Kids are learning inside the cafeteria: how to eat what not to eat

Guest bloggers:
Playworks – non-profit recess company
Triangular eating in Japan
Preschool lunches
Teacher with suggestions
Croatian daycare lunches
Being an overweight kid
Kids and body image
Food allergies
Cost calculation of home lunches
More alternatives to school lunch
Common Threads
Skipping Day — skipping like a kid (not “ditching” work)
Let’s Move Child Nutrition — Farm-to-School
Food service management companies (FSMCs) — Dr. Susan Rubin

  

Open threads in May:
School gardens
USDA
Presidential Physical fitness Award, Gym and Sports
Lunch confessions and food fantasies
Healthy road-tripping car food

What I learned about myself:

  • You can find time for anything. If I can manage this blog, work full-time, and be a mom, then there is time in your day to do whatever you are dreaming about. It’s time management and support from my family (in my case my husband on a daily basis and my mother once a month).
  • On the flip side, getting ravaged by multiple chest colds really wears you down, especially when you aren’t eating soup for lunch. May was brutal for the whole family (translation: too much coughing, too little sleep). I think that the shoulder seasons are the worst for getting nasty viruses and I’m hoping that we are emerging from the forest of germies.

Request:

  • I get a lot of interest in guest blogging, but only about 50-60% of people who want to participate actually deliver a guest post. So if you “owe” me a guest blog post and you still want to participate, don’t worry that you forgot. Just email it to me tout de suite!
  • International readers — if you are interested in contributing your country’s school lunch, please email me. I’m always looking for new international perspectives.
  • Who do you want to see guest blog or who would you like me to interview?

Coming in June: More school lunches, guest bloggers, and an update on my summer plans… A health update with the results of blood tests I’ll be taking late in June as compared to the same tests I took in December. I’m also visiting an allergist because I’m wondering if I have developed asthma….

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9 Responses to May recap

  1. Tabbatha Rose June 7, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

    I wish I was able to link our school menu when you asked, I missed the post. Our school has been out for a couple weeks now but I'd be more than happy to follow to the beginning of next school year and share our "lovely" menu. We actually start in 2 months and 2 days.

    The lunches you have eaten actually look and sound better than what is served in ours. Sad? Yes, very. Our school provides free lunch for all so of course that means the cheapest route possible, sometimes unrecognizable.

    Keep up the great work, you are a real trooper to have eaten that stuff. I truly hope that all the attention brought upon school lunches brings improvement. I wonder out of curiosity if people encarcerated get better meals than our kids.

  2. Vikki and the Kid June 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    You are a busy busy person! Hope you're eating extra healthy at night and for breakfast to help you feel better.

    Keep it up. You're doing great work.

    Vikki at http://vikkisverandah.blogspot.com and http://write-a-bit.blogspot.com

  3. Angry Beaver June 7, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    I'd like to hear from either a school board member or a food service manager who would like to make improvements but is running into obstacles. I think someone might have done an entry that was more of a success story. I'd like more discussion about the barriers to change so that we can figure out how to eliminate those barriers.

  4. Penny Basket June 8, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    This is the first blog I visited about school lunches. I hope one day you all will be able to make positive changes in your school. I've even put up a link on my page because what you blog about is such an eye opener.

  5. Maggie June 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm #

    Angry Beaver, I've been thinking about your comment. My opinion and thoughts? I sometimes think that the barriers are still a bit of an "us against them" kind of feeling. It seems the main things I read are "get angry, I'm rasing awareness, raise heck, demand change!" Can seem focused on negative, rather than how to make the changes.

    Frankly, I'd love to have the perfect school meal program. Awareness is good. Changes can be made. Talk to the people that can make the changes. Understand the program & beyond. Respect on all sides.

    Do you want a longer meal time? Seems simple right? Except it impacts bus schedules, teacher contracts…likely lots more. There are solutions, but just anger and demands are not going to solve it. There are a lot of smart people both inside and outside of the meal programs. The solution might not be the one that someone demands, but maybe changes can be made. Maybe not instantly. Maybe not without giving up something else (thinking of school budgets).

    I keep reading, learning and looking for answers along with a lot of other people. We'll get there. I have confidence. I'm just not sure where the whole "we've got to get mad" movement came from.

  6. Tacomamama June 8, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Maggie:

    I think it comes from a need to show grassroots support for change. It's difficult to get large institutions to change, and at least in my experience that change is dependent on a perception that it's absolutely necessary, based on numeric support for an issue. The idea that it's a good idea or a healthy idea or the right idea is not enough.

    So, how do you muster that kind of support? You have to elicit an emotional response from people. This is not to say you have to make your district decision makers out to be villains, but it is necessary to raise awareness of what the kids are eating and why it should bother you. I don't think "angry" is always such a terrible thing if it's an appropriate emotional response to a situation. How you respond to that anger is the important thing. I don't think any of the food activists here are advocating mobs and pitchforks, they are saying take that anger and join a productive movement.

  7. lori June 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm #

    since there has been occasional mention in the comments about meals at jails, i was wondering if it was possible to get a guest blog from an employee at a juvenile facility. i don't know how feasible that would be, but i think it would be interesting to see if there are differences in the food provided "average" kids and those in a facility or if contracts are given to the same or similar companies.
    other than this suggestion, keep up the good work.

  8. Maggie June 9, 2010 at 2:47 am #

    Angry Beaver, funny you mention mobs and pitchforks, because I've honestly wondered if I might see that as I arrive at work early some morning, based on what I might read here and other places.

    To be serious, emotion is fine. Please be sure the emotions are being directed at the right place. Of course, that's part of the problem, isn't it? Where do we start to take apart this complicated issue? Seems like a lot of people/organizations are coming at it from a lot of directions.

  9. Anonymous June 10, 2010 at 12:23 am #

    Mrs. Q – if you haven't heard about them already, you should get in touch with someone at http://www.food-corps.org. They are currently working to form an AmeriCorps program that would bring fresh, locally sourced produce into low income schools and help teach kids about the wonders of gardening. They're in the planning stages right now, but I'm sure they'd love to get the word out and their message is totally in tune with yours. Check them out!

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