Back to School / Lunch Revolution Blog and Twitter party

Welcome to the Back to School Blog and Twitter party!

I’m partnering with Notes from the Cookie Jar for a fun weekend of blogging and tweeting. Here’s how to participate:

1) Answer any, all or one of the following questions in a blog post on your blog, flickr account, or youtube video:

  • How is “Back to School” going for your family?
  • Is school lunch important part of your child’s day?
  • What is school lunch like at your school or your child’s school?
  • Does school lunch need to be reformed?
  • Do you pack lunch for your kids and what do you pack?
  • Do you write notes in your kid’s lunches and what do you write?
  • What are some of your favorite lunch recipes (kid-friendly or adult-friendly)?
  • What are some great beverages for kids and adults?
  • What is a traditional food item that you have made even more healthy and how did you do it?
  • How much time should kids get to eat lunch?
  • What are some products that you use when you pack lunch?

2) Link your blog post to the linky widget below (at the very bottom of this post).

3) Come back over the next couple days and review the links of other bloggers (as well as those on Karen’s blog: Notes from a Cookie Jar) and make ONE comment citing THREE things you found interesting. If you can’t find three things you learned from the other blogger’s blogs, please note that. One of the three things can be that you signed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution petition for better food in schools.

4) I’ll close the blog party on midnight on Sunday August 29th. You have the entire weekend!

Blog Party Prizes:

Sponsor: Whole Foods Market

Prize: $50 gift card
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses.
About the sponsor:  We seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture. Add to that the excitement and fun we bring to shopping for groceries, and you start to get a sense of what we’re all about. Oh yeah, we’re a mission-driven company too. If you are interested in learning about our business practices and what makes us tick, check out our Core Values, Quality Standards, Declaration of Interdependence, and more. Around here, we often talk about our mission in terms of Whole Foods – Whole People – Whole Planet.
Sponsor: Watergeeks
Prize: One of five water bottles: three Transition sip cups and two kid-sized stainless steel water bottles
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses
About the sponsor: WaterGeeks is helping turn the global water crisis upside down by empowering consumers with compelling new water consumption choices that embrace both their active lifestyles and their ecological beliefs.
Sponsor: Mrs. Q
Prizes: Select books related to lunch sent along with a little note from me
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses only
About the sponsor: I’m offering books about how to make better lunches for your family. I have read Lunch Lessons and it is terrific. The other books look like ones I should check out.
If you check out Notes From a Cookie Jar, you’ll notice right away that she has some major prizes too! A BIG THANKS to her for being organized and helping me coordinate prizes!
I hope you will be able to join us this weekend! I can’t wait to read your blogs and see what you think about school lunch! I will select winners at random, but remember to win you must: 1) Write a blog post, take a picture or record a video about school lunch 2) Link it below 3) Comment on this post.
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Lunch Revolution Twitter party 
On Friday night August 27 at 8 PM CST/ 9PM EST I’ll be tweeting with Karen, from @scatteredmom and Notes from a Cookie Jar, about school lunch and going back to school. I hope you be able to tweet along using the hash tag #schoollunch #lunchrevolution
We will be discussing school lunch. I will post discussion questions and feel free to ask your questions too! The twitter party is another way for you to connect with people who care about school lunch reform and meet some new folks who you may not have known about before.
If you have never participated in a Twitter party, here is a Tweet Grid that will help you follow along even if you don’t have a twitter account. Click on that link to real-time tweets using the hash tags #schoollunch #lunchrevolution and ones that mention my Twitter ID @fedupwithlunch and @scatteredmom
Twitter Party Prizes:

Prize: Blog banner redesign valued at $250
Open to: International bloggers

About the sponsor: DesignFaire provides full service consulting, from domain registration, hosting, web design, development, search engine optimization, to training. Our goal is to build compelling, easy-to-use websites. Their process is collaborative and client-centered. Expect an engaging development process that has you in mind.

Sponsor: Sprig Toys, @sprigtoys
Prize: Dolphin Explorer Boat
Open to: US mailing addresses only

About the sponsor: Sprig Toys, Inc., is an eco-friendly company dedicated to making the best toys the right way. Inspired by our collective desire to keep kids active and the planet healthy, Team Sprig is dedicated to infusing creativity, smart design, quality manufacturing, earth-friendly materials, product satisfaction and responsible business practices into a superior line of fun, kid-powered toys. We help make the world a better place and we get kids off the couch.

Sponsor: Mrs. Q
Prizes: $15 iTunes giftcard and $25 Target giftcard
Open to: US and Canadian mailing addresses

Prizes to be given out randomly every 15 minutes to those with thought-provoking tweets. It’s my sincere hope that the prizes offered reflect the broad scope of readers who have different interests including parents, teachers, students, nutritionists, bloggers, and foodies from various age groups. I can’t wait to hear all about what you think about school lunch. Don’t forget to use one or both of the hashtags #schoollunch or #lunchrevolution so that I can see what you are saying.

Let’s get this party started!
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29 Responses to Back to School / Lunch Revolution Blog and Twitter party

  1. Mrs. Q August 26, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I'm going to answer some of those questions in tomorrow's blog post!

  2. *jean* August 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    i love your blog! you are so brave…i tried to eat "lunch" when my son was in 1st grade…ick…thanks for the chance to win some great stuff!! i really am excited to see what the other folks suggest as tips too!

    jean

  3. UNCOVERINGTHEREALme August 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    This is so exciting! I can't wait to see the conversations that will sprout from this get together of people of all kinds!

  4. Teresa August 26, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    I work in a school and have been following your blog… I love it! I have a food allergy (wheat gluten) which prevents me from eating most of what the school serves. I love what you're doing and the attention you're generating toward how our children are eating in school. Fantastic blog!

  5. Mrs. Q August 26, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Thanks so much! This is going to a be fun weekend!

  6. UNCOVERINGTHEREALme August 27, 2010 at 2:41 am #

    Being an art teacher I'm always telling kids to find art in everyday living so I love the bento lunch blog! And I love how she touches on portion as well, when we make kids meals sometimes we think in adult portions. In the Lunch Revolution blog her suggestion to get the "team" together and make lunch is great, good for teaching food preparation and healthy choices. The Unfamiliar territory blog brings up some interesting points, I wonder if I had been exposed to more foods growing up if I wouldn't have been so picky later in life.

    Last but not least I signed the food revolution petition! woohoo!

  7. Christina @ Spoonfed August 27, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    I'll be visiting everyone's blogs and coming back to comment this weekend. But in the meantime I wanted to explain that I didn't post lunch tips, per se.

    Instead, I'm posting about making school food not only healthful, but also sustainable, chemical-free and ethical. An excerpt:

    “If we’re going to raise a nation of thinking eaters — indeed, a nation of truly healthy kids — schools need to move beyond calorie count and replacing white bread with wheat. They need to ask hard questions about how they source their food and what’s in it.”

    Thanks, Mrs. Q, for teaming with Karen to make this happen.

  8. Janet August 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Mrs. Q, I can't seem to find the widget thing that I'm supposed to link my post to. Did you take it off?

  9. Janet August 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    I found it!
    In uncoveringtherealme's blog i never thought about it this way, but people my age and younger will be running this country someday, and along with that, we will also develop the medical problems that go along with eating high-fat and high-carb foods. By changing the way we eat, we would be preventing a lot of future medical problems.
    In agrigirl's blog, I was impressed by the fact that they had come up with a website called mylunchmoney which regulated what your children could have, but at the same time I questioned whether the cafeteria would be able to keep up with all the parents wishes if more parents started using it.
    Decafmom's blog was especially interesting because I'm a lot like her son, I like pancakes, but mostly because they're shaped that way and in a pan, I found her lunch pancakes to be just as good, if not better than real pancakes. I love the lunch alternatives that everyone comes up with on this website.

  10. Mrs. Q August 27, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    Janet — Did you find it? It's above the comments!

  11. My Kids' Mom August 27, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    I'm in! I've been trying to improve on the number of lunches we send from home each week. I've shared our simple lunch menu that we use to help make creative meals. My kids are just able to help make lunches now and I need to make use of their abilities!

  12. redroundorgreen August 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    This is so cool. I am a self-professed "geek" when it comes to meal planning, cooking, and feeding my family, and already — in the preschool stage — I'm having anxiety about school lunches and the impact of peer pressure on my kids' food choices! Here's what I have learned so far from others' posts:
    1) School regulations and procedures are far scarier, and far more prohibitive of actual beneficial change, than I thought.
    2) As parents/concerned adults, we all may have different approaches and different standards for what we feel is appropriate for our own children's lunches, but we are expending a good deal more effort towards their nutrition and well-being than I would have guessed — based on what the media's idea of the average American family/kid diet and outlook on food appears to be.
    3)If we all put our efforts together collectively, we would be one kick-ass formidable coalition of pissed-off and fired-up people.
    Hope that last one counts. 🙂

  13. Bar 7 Ranch August 27, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Wow. I was appalled to see that on Pook and Bugs blog her kids school was serving chicken nuggets 3 times in one week! Srsly? That is a problem! Thanks to Raising a Family on a Budget for the price comparision on buying or bringing your lunch! I'd also like to say Good Luck to Agrigirl's Blog on her Own Private Revolution. Please keep us posted on your progess. Thanks Mrs. Q for this opportunity!

  14. Melissa August 28, 2010 at 12:20 am #

    Very cool, Mrs. Q!

  15. Bar 7 Ranch August 28, 2010 at 1:47 am #

    I've linked up twice and it's still not showing? 🙁

  16. Mrs. Q August 28, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    @Bar 7 Ranch — I just put it in myself. I hope it works!

  17. decafmom August 28, 2010 at 6:33 pm #

    1. In "Pizza Fridays and Other Pitfalls" by redroundorgreen, I was shocked that a *preschool* would order out for pizza on a weekly basis! Especially because it sounds like it isn't a necessary convenience or cost-savings; it's just a fun weekly activity. But kids, especially at that age, don't need such a decadent treat to make Fridays feel special. And as redroundorgreen implies, shouldn't it be the parents' prerogative to treat the family to pizza? Here's some wishful thinking: the preschool could do Pizza Fridays with make-your-own pizza! Now that would be a treat.

    2. Tammy McLeod's "My Own Private Revolution" made me so frustrated! It's exactly the stuff that Mrs. Q is talking about, of course. But just the notion that 7-year-olds have the option of eating an ice cream sandwich or a poptart as a "side dish" is abhorrent. Providing that kind of junk food at school legitimizes it as an option. Yes, of course kids will have lots of tough choices as they grow older, and they need to know how to handle them. But now is not the time to challenge them to make those choices; now is the time to show them which options are the good ones. [Of course I am preaching to the choir here!]

    3. In "Feed their imagination too!", Mike LaMonica makes a good point. Kids seem programmed to want all the foods marketed by their favorite cartoon characters, but so many of those are unhealthy (not to mention pricey). If your kid loves his characters, it's a great idea to invest in lunchboxes, water bottles, stickers, and plastic containers decorated with them instead.


    I was so excited to participate in the blog party that I linked two posts, #4 (Easy Recipe: Lunch Pancakes) and #33 (Fun lunch product: Hard-boiled Egg Molds). Thanks for doing this, Mrs. Q!

  18. Tina @ The Shakespearean Tomato August 28, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    I posted my link on college food and my take on it as an adult returning to school.

    Things I learned or thought about from reading the other posts –
    1) I remember when I was in preschool at a private school and we packed our lunch every day except Friday. Every Friday we got to go to the spaghetti factory next door and have spaghetti for lunch. I remember it being very exciting and feeling super grown up for going through a "lunch line" in the kitchen and eating in a restaurant. I have to wonder how much different "pizza Friday" is, although pizza is probably less healthy than spaghetti maybe the answer is more about moderation (I liked packing the applesauce and veggies as sides) because in the end, eating pizza with friends is a fun treat.

    2) I fully agree with the poster in college who said the younger we expose people to healthy eating the more it will stick with them. Maybe if we can start the revolution at a young age, by the time this crop of kids reaches high school and college they will be demanding the changes themselves!

    3) I also like some of the lunch ideas for myself! I'm totally making stuffed muffins soon!

  19. Snowflowers Mum August 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm #

    1. I am a long time supporter and member of Jamie's food revolution!
    2. I loved the link on Spabetties page to the lunchbox project, yet another resource to help parents help schools provide healthy school lunches to our children
    3. I like redroundorgreen's story about Friday Pizza day at school and the peer pressure of wanting to have what the other kids have.

    and finally, I wanted to share a story about a very nice preschool we attended and the reason we left it….all because of the Golden arches and my refusal to allow my child to go to a school that embraced it's food and marketing.

    http://growingsnowflowers.blogspot.com/2009/08/golden-arches-in-classroom-no-thanks.html

    we ended up leaving the school before we even started because the teaching staff refused to change the playstation, and wanted the children to have 'something familiar from the community' in the classroom. Even when I suggested changing it into a 'farmers market' or 'grocery store' they balked. I guess I'm a food revolution 'radical'

  20. sljones718 August 29, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    I posted Change Comes to Lunch in Sea Cliff which is our school's nutrition committee's blog where we spent most of the year blogging about what was in our kids' school lunch.

    I learned a tremendous amount from reading the other blog posts and here are the three things I am taking away:

    1. Lots of people put a huge amount of time and effort (and I suspect money) into making terrific, appealing, healthy brown bag lunches for their own kids.
    2. Lots of people are putting tremendous effort unto really great journalism about the problems with school lunch on both national and local issues.
    3. But school lunch won't be that different this fall – we might get another 6 cents, we might get rid of junk food vending machines but we're still going to get the lowest grade commodity chicken donated to our schools as USDA commodities and most schools will get Tyson to turn those into even lower grade chicken nuggets. We need to find better ways of working together to produce real change, but meanwhile school is back in session, and we can all form local school-based nutrition committees, starting asking to see what's in the food and then start demanding change.

  21. Bettina at The Lunch Tray August 29, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Mrs Q:

    Thanks so much for co-hosting this party – my first. I'd say the three best things I got out of this experience as (1) the lengthy list of lunch ideas from Scatteredmom which puts my repertoire to shame; (2) discovering a bento blogger – Shannon@bentolunch, since I'm writing a post on bento now; and (3) most of all, I learned of so many great bloggers out there and feel so much more connected to "my people"! Thanks again.

  22. Melissa August 29, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    I love all the pictures of the bentos – so many great ideas. And the back-to-school & crayon pretzels at the bar7ranch blog? Very cool!

    I'm impressed with how far along some districts seem to be compared to ours – as illustrated in the Change Comes to Lunch post, for example. We have a lot of issues at our school & district. The new schools do not have kitchens equipped for scratch cooking. Our school has had fundraisers in place for years at THE major fast food place, and there aren't many people speaking out against that. The district has a large percentage of subsidized lunches – I believe that many kids are eating most of their food at school – and it needs to be a much bigger priority than what it is.

    Also, I signed the Food Revolution pledge. Thanks for putting this blog/twitter party together!

  23. Christina @ Spoonfed August 30, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Wow, so many great posts. Three things that resonate from spending my Sunday afternoon clicking around:

    1) I love reading about other parents' crusades for better food. (I'm eagerly awaiting the outcome of Agrigirl's saga.)

    2) Ditto reading about the motivations behind those crusades. (I've known Corrie over at Just a Mom in Mesquite for awhile now, but it was great to read her backstory.)

    3) I've found two new-to-me bloggers who share a sensibility similar to my own. (That would be Red, Round or Green and The Lunch Tray.)

    (Oh, and I signed Jamie's petition long ago. 😉

  24. Meal Plan Mom (Brenda) August 30, 2010 at 1:55 am #

    Love this idea of a Lunch Revolution party! I've been reading some of the other blogs and here's what I've learned:

    For the Mommas blog did a cost comparison of packing lunches vs. buying lunches (that part depends on your area). What I found was that a typical packed lunch is really not much cheaper than what my kids could buy at school. But the quaility and healthiness of what I pack is much better…at least for now.

    I also learned that bento lunch making seems to be on the rise and there are tons of wonderful bloggers out there with great ideas! And lots of fun containers to tote lunch in.

    I'm also a supporter of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and signed the petition the first night his show aired last spring! And blogged about it. And talked about it. And still do…I want people to THINK about the foods we are feeding our children and ourselves!

    Thanks for hosting the blog party!

  25. OSP August 30, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    It is great to see so many parents devoted to providing healthy lunches for their kids, and I thank you all for your creative ideas for recipes and ways to get kids to 'eat their vegetables'… but what about those families that cannot afford to do so. School lunch reform is vital for those children who depend on school meals to provide the best food they are going to see all day. It is essential that schools provide meals that will ensure kids get the nutrients they need to grow into strong, healthy individuals.

  26. corrie August 30, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    1 Tammy's "My Own Private Revolution"..is similar to what we have here. I even went back to her site to see if she lived in my city 🙂 Our school district says we can "block" items, too. But, its pretty confusing, and you can't block everything. Ours was supposed to block anything with eggs (my son's allergic)…and it didn't. I'm still trying to figure out how kids can buy chocolate milk, the lunch "entree", their fruit in syrup, fruit juice, a cookie and an ice cream. Crazy!

    2.Christina at Spoonfed makes a great point about sustainable, chemical free, and ethical food. Getting districts to embrace that mindset is difficult. I'm already being told that kids eating food out of their own garden is a "liability"…

    3. Healthy Bento Lunches For Back to School- truth be told, I think this post is more fun for me than my own kid! Sure, my kid will love it…but it entertains the lunch maker as well 😉

    and real quick…@OSP…we are on the same page…

  27. Shannon August 30, 2010 at 5:20 am #

    Let's see, just 3 things?

    Well, I loved the chance to "meet" Bettina from the Lunch Tray and really looking forward to what comes from that! I really enjoyed reading about the Harley School on Spoonfed, reading cool posts from bloggers I already love (Kia @ EatingaRainbow, Brenda @ MealPlanningMagic), and seeing a lot more moms looking to work towards creating healthier lunches at home. After seeing a cart of full of Lunchables, fruit snacks, individual cookies & chips behind me at the grocery tonight, I had to wonder, is it just me? Thankfully, it's not.

  28. thesehappydays August 30, 2010 at 6:59 am #

    I signed the petition, learned to make Curry Chickpea Stew from Musings from Mt Rogo and learned about packing Bento lunches for young kids from First Grade Bento – all things I will take with me on this lunch packing challenge (I'm new to it! this will be my first week packing kids' lunches!)
    denimc{at}gmail{dot}com

  29. Viki August 30, 2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Had so much fun checking everyone out! found Corrie's blog! Caught up with Spoonfed, read some bento blogs I hadn't read before…that is how I found Mrs.Q. I was reading a Bento blog and followed a link. Went back to Scatteredmom's site.
    It is because of her that I signed Jamie's petition long ago.
    ANd I actually made a new blog post of my own, those are few and far between as I'm always reading everyone elses!

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