Day 124: Pizza and National School Lunch Week

Today’s menu: pizza, banana, carrots
School pizza…again…not my favorite. I had been avoiding large quantities of wheat, but with pizza there’s no way around it. I ate the whole thing! I felt pretty good for about three hours and I thought to myself, “My anti-wheat ideas must be wrong because I’m doing fine.” Then about 5:00 pm I had a grumbly tummy…off to the bathroom I went! I think that I have to do the Enterolab analysis to find out what is up with me.
A fresh veggie and a piece of fruit?! Thank you! Styrofoam though? Yep, sometimes the trays aren’t available and the lunch room staff like to give styrofoam to the teachers.
***
It’s National School Lunch Week — Hug a lunch lady!
I enjoy chatting with the lunchroom staff when I get the chance. These are caring people who work hard every day to feed hungry kids. Certainly lunch ladies are the most undervalued people in the school. I rarely see them take sick time either (I should know, I’m down there every day).
We start valuing the people who feed us and then we’ll start valuing our food and ourselves.
***
School Food Focus send me some encouraging information today:
To demonstrate their commitment to improving the health of the nation’s schoolchildren, some of the largest school districts in the nation have banded together to participate in Better Beef Days, serving sustainably raised beef to students during National School Lunch Week, October 11-15, 2010.
These four districts, all members of School Food FOCUS, made the decision to serve “better beef” during this annual week of school lunch awareness to show the food industry and government authorities that schools want more healthful, more sustainably produced and regionally sourced food for their children.

School food service professionals work hard every day to serve high-quality food to schoolchildren and offering sustainably raised beef helps to reach their goals of nutritional and culinary excellence. This group of large school districts is demonstrating to the public that there is substantial interest in beef with a desirable environmental and nutritional profile. This coordinated endeavor is a significant step in efforts to enhance the food served to children nationwide.

What’s better about this beef? The four districts have chosen to serve various types of “better” beef – from local and grassfed to all-natural and free of antibiotics, added hormones, and preservatives. For more detail on each district, see below.

The participating FOCUS school districts, with more details on each, follow:

PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS (46,785 students) will serve locally sourced grassfed beef hamburgers from Carman Ranch in Wallowa, OR on locally sourced Shepherd’s Grain whole-grain buns in all 85 schools across the district on October 13.

OAKLAND UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (38,826 students) will serve all-natural, antibiotic-free, added-hormone-free beef hot dogs from Coleman Ranch in all 98 schools district-wide as part of its “Ideal Meal,” alongside antibiotic-free chicken, locally baked cornbread, and on locally sourced whole-grain buns on October 14.

SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (131,541 students) will serve Applegate Farms grassfed beef hot dogs, courtesy of Applegate Farms and Whole Foods, in 18 schools (serving about 36,000 kids) on October 14.

DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS (78,352 students) will serve locally sourced, sustainably raised beef from Callicrate Beef of Colorado Springs, CO in haystacks (tortilla chips topped with chili and low-fat cheese) on October 13, and in spaghetti with meat sauce on October 14, in all 142 schools across the district.

School Food FOCUS is a national initiative that supports large school districts with 40,000 or more students in their efforts to procure more healthful, more sustainably produced and regionally sourced food to help children perform better in school and maintain healthier lifestyles. FOCUS aims to transform food systems to the direct benefit of children, farmers, regional economies and the environment, and is funded by a generous grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

***
Lastly, I’ll give away the reusable shopping bags from last Friday’s giveaway in tomorrow’s post! Thanks for waiting patiently!
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17 thoughts on “Day 124: Pizza and National School Lunch Week”

  1. My Mom worked in my Junior High cafeteria for several years. It was hard work…very early hours. She was a baker and made breads, cakes, cookies, etc. as well as other cafeteria duties…cooking for many kids and having the whole lunch put together and ready to serve when lunch period arrived and then cleaning up and getting ready for the next day. It was very hard and mostly thankless work.

  2. Funny you should mention pizza. I just posted this in your previous entry:
    Love your blog and what you're doing! I've been advocating for healthy schools for the past few years and need some help. When our principal announced a Pizza Hut lunch over the loudspeaker, I queried the nutrition services director about finding alternatives to promoting fast food in school. I was told pizza is not on the fast food "list." Our state has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity so I would like to find a message board where I can share the challenges I'm encountering with others who are working on the same issues plus exchange advice about what's working and what's not working. Do you know of anything like this?

    Also, please share ideas for healthy box lunches that can be served during cafeteria renovations.

  3. Mrs. Q:

    Just a thought- not that there's anything wrong with wanting to cut back on wheat, but that pizza was also (by the looks of it) slathered with cheese… and didn't you mention having a bit of a problem with dairy? (and it's plenty fatty, something that also isn't always great for digestion).

    Also, have you ever heard of the book "Eating Animals," by Jonathan Safran Foer? It's a tough read at times, but sincere and well-written book that may change the way you think about food. Although, maybe best to wait until the project is finished.

  4. Second anonymous – there's no question that the cheese played a part. I'm dairy-free now (not even cheese) so my body was a little angry at me. Amazing that I was drinking milk a year ago and now I'm not eating cheese, yogurt or ice cream.

  5. I'm the same way with random stomach problems. But I don't know what food is the culprit. I'm lactose intolerant when it comes to milk, but cheeses were never a problem. Now I'm beginning to wonder if it is a problem. It's so interesting how you can have 25 years of eating dairy and then suddenly become lactose intolerant. My (possible) food allergies are so frustrating!

  6. Actually Mrs. Q. many people who have trouble with dairy are able to consume yogurt or kefir without any problem. Check it out. Processed cheese isn't food. Try an imported whole milk cheese and see if it gives you any problems. It will be pricy though.

    And if you decide to treat yourself with some soy icecream, just remember that most soy comes from GM seeds. Sad but true. The big M company owns so much, and owes us so much.

    Oh and we ate out last night. Stomach problems and a headache today. Blech! So much for taking the evening off.

  7. I've been thinking about you, because my five year old has decided she doesn't want to bring her lunch anymore. She just wants school lunch, like her friends. Even the lady bug lunch bag that was the envy of all her friends couldn't bring her back to the light.

    Sigh. It's all starting so early…

  8. Mrs. Q,
    WOW! Thanks for the positive information about School Food FOCUS. It makes me so hopeful. I feel the movement in this country growing and its so exciting to see that when we collectively put our minds toward something, we can make great sweeping changes. I hope change will be coming to your school district soon! You will be a big part of that change….!! Thank you!
    Tricia
    http://www.cafetrix.blogspot.com

  9. I'm so happy to see the meats served in those FOCUS school districts, even the hot dogs served in Oakland and San Diego! Pity it was for just a day or two but at least it's a little step in the right direction.

  10. Mrs. Q,

    I'm sitting here eating a Smart One frozen dinner and thought "What does Mrs. Q think about these diet dinners?" I'm not dieting, I simply choose the Smart Ones, Weight Watchers, etc. because they are a bit more 'healthier' than the Stouffers, Marie Callender's, etc. So, what are your thoughts on the diet frozen entrees?

  11. I work in the cafeteria at my kids' school and have seen a lot of food, but I've never seen anything that looks as unappealing as that pizza! Not since I was in elementary school, anyway.

    I'm proud to work in a place that I think is doing it right. Not perfect, but definitely on the right track. Yesterday's tray was turkey and cheddar (real cheese!) on whole wheat sub buns, orange slices (fresh oranges!), veggies (fresh carrots, sliced red peppers, celery and cucumber) and a snack mix (pretzels, Goldfish and marshmallows). We have won a lot of awards for our nutrition practices. Don't get me wrong…we still have fries (or some kind of fried potato) once a week, but full fat, high calorie, high carb food is not the norm.

    Thanks for saying that we're undervalued! It is hot in that kitchen and I'm on my feet for five hours straight. Getting a "thank you" makes my day!

  12. @Kourtni

    I sometimes eat Lean Cuisines for lunch because they're easy to grab on the way out the door, the portions are nice, they have a variety of choices and I like to have a hot lunch once in awhile that I don't have to prepare. I know nutritionists probably hate processed lunches like that, but I don't believe Lean Cuisines alone cause any major harm as long as I'm eating healthier breakfasts and lunches. I least I hope not!

  13. In addition to the usual symptoms of lactose intolerance, lactose or gluten + Leaky Gut Syndrome can cause other allergy-like symptoms. Basically if lactose and gluten leak from the intestines, the body recognizes them as foreign proteins ( presumed dangerous!) and attacks them. I primarily notice skin inflammation and redness, which goes away if I avoid problem foods for a few days.

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