Day 12: Bagel dog

Today’s menu: Bagel dog, six tater tots, mixed fruit cup, chocolate chip cookie, milk (if I had taken it)
I ate it all. The bagel dog tasted better than it looks. There should be more than six tater tots, no? The fruit cup was not frozen!
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32 thoughts on “Day 12: Bagel dog

  1. I'm just amazed at the overwhelming lack of fresh produce. Blech. None of it looks good to me. I can completely understand now why my daughter would beg me to send her to school with a bag lunch.

    And I can see why the teacher's were drooling over my daughter's chinese chicken salad. LOL.

  2. Oh, and hubby is a public school teacher. He loves what you are doing and says he would literally starve to death on those kid's meals.

  3. this food looks really gross. I really hate the fact that they use so much styrofoam…that crap is scary. Just think how much money they would save if they use items that can be reused and then maybe that money could buy more fresh food. Looks nothing like the food we had in elementry school…VEGETABLES

  4. wow! look at how much trash from ONE lunch! I can't believe how much pre-packaged items there are!

  5. genetically modified, HFCS, fake processed in a lab filled food. not one item came from the ground. so sad.

    thanks for doing this. though i dont know how you will be able to keep eating the actual food. luckily you are not a vegetarian. poor kiddos.

  6. I too was going to comment on the amount of trash. It is amazing!
    Also, those tater tots don't look very crispy.

  7. i can't believe how much is individually packaged. 15 years ago we were getting real food at least dished out with a spoon onto a plate. this is crazy. i admire you but sorry you have to eat it πŸ™ are you just eating spinach for dinner?!? LOL

  8. I don't get it. Why do they lose so many lunch trays?

    And *bagel dog*? Never heard of that one before…

    As @Daisy commented, lack of fresh produce is quite disheartening. Fresh anything really.

  9. I'm so grateful to you for taking on this challenge. I'll be honest and say that I don't think I would have the stomach for it. Tell me you have a bottle of Tabasco in your desk drawer at least!

  10. I just discovered your blog and am now hooked. It really takes me back to my days in second grade when the teacher forced me to finish my milk (cow mucus – ick) and eat all my fish sticks. I cried.

    I'm amazed that you are taking this project on and I think you're really opening up some eyes to these horrible "foods" that children are supposed to nourish themselves with.

  11. What an novel–and important–blog! As a (former) fellow teacher, I really admire you for doing this.

    It’s crucial that students have meal options that encourage healthy eating habits. Unfortunately, most school lunch lines are still packed with the offerings you have photographed above.

    Please join me in asking Congress to help schools serve more fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, which are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, please visit:

  12. Oh, man. I am so excited about your blog I can hardly freaking stand it.

    I think our district (Issaquah) does okay based on the menus I see and I let my son choose one day a week to buy. I know they at least get their milk from Smith Brothers (local). Maybe that's a good place for your district to start?

    Not enough room here to comment all that I'm thinking, but you've got me hooked for the duration. The idea of eating that food every day makes me nauseous. It makes me more nauseous to think that there are kids who have to eat it every day. SAD.

  13. I'm so glad I found your blog, though it horrifies me. As a personal chef with a first grader in public school I am saddened and disgusted by what my child has been eating. He tells me bits and pieces about what he is served but just recently started to complain about it and requested home-packed meals. Thank Gawd I listened. Everything at his school is prepacked too, apparently. I thought it was maybe an exaggeration, but no… After seeing this I realize this is the crap he's been having to (try to) eat for the past year and a half. OMG, mommy of the year. Ugh.
    I check your blog every day and although I love it I am sickened at the same time. Keep up the great work!

  14. When I was a teacher one year, we had subsidized breakfast for the kids. I remember thinking the lunches were pretty bad, but none of them stuck in my mind.

    Until one day the breakfast was…two donuts. Each kid got two donuts. I still remember how they looked–the white powdered sugar and the brown cinnamon on the yellow trays.

    I was appalled. And wow, class was NOT fun that day.

    Thank you for doing this.

  15. I love this site. As a journalist who writes about school lunch and is often barred from seeing it, it really helps open my view. Mrs. Q I would love to interview you for the Chicago Tribune without giving away your identifying info. If you would consider it, pls email me at

  16. Pretty sad how every single thing on the school lunch tray is pre-packaged. So they don't even fire up ovens anymore in school cafeterias? Just microwave everything in all this very wasteful individual packaging?

    No wonder it's horrible. I mean yeah, when I was in school in the stone age it was all GFS…but that meant they had to open the giant can of cheese sauce and heat it before pouring it on something. πŸ˜‰

    And I'm appalled at the lunches themselves. Most of them don't have a vegetable, subbing instead tater tots. Yeah, potato is a vegetable, but there ought to be something green or leafy or cruciferous too.

    What do vegetarian children do? Are there vegetarian lunch options? And why can't school systems use more nutritious versions of foods at least, like whole wheat bread instead of white? Or offer sweet potato fries instead of tater tots once in a while?

    Thanks for exposing how craptacular school lunches are nowadays. And I thought they couldn't get any worse back in the olden days, yet somehow they have. πŸ˜‰

    Keep up the good work.

  17. These school lunches are EXACTLY the same as mine before we switched to "fresh meals". I see that you are in Illinois (Chicago?). I'm in DC. I presume your provider is Chartwells? I've taste tested many of these things too. The only things that tasted good were the really salty items like tater tots and nuggets. As for the pizza? It used to be served with baby carrots and ranch dressing. The kids would put the ranch dressing on the pizza for taste.

    I've been in contact with this organization. They have done some really great things, though I haven't worked with them in my school. Hopefully I will one day. Check it out.

  18. Instead of Bagel Dog, I think they should call it a Beagle! That would be more fun πŸ™‚

  19. I'm thrilled to see a teacher eating with her kids every day & critiquing the lunch! Lots of teachers wouldn't step foot in the lunch room. As a former FS Supervisor, I appreciate that you are a being a great role model for the kids. Do you go through the line with them too? So they can see the choices you make & you can dialog with them about why you selected different foods? Teachers have no idea the impact that they have on their kids… If they hate school lunch… the attitude is infectious. But if they eat it every day, they think it's okay… Kudos to you!

  20. Stumbled across your blog via "Cheap Healthy Good." Looks like your school offers the exact prepacked, simply rehated garbage we give our kiddos daily. I've been at the same campus for three years now and have yet to consume a "school lunch" once, so I commend your efforts! I'll definitely be a follower from here on out…good luck on your food journey!!

  21. No, six tater tots aren't enough! Everyone worries about childhood obesity, but often the older kids are left hungry by these skimpy portions. My son was 5'7 and 145 pounds (a normal healthy weight for his height and build) by 5th grade, but he was still receiving the same portion sizes as 50 pound first graders and was HUNGRY all afternoon.

  22. I remember when I was in high school, our lunch ladies would only give us 7 tater tots, and that never seemed like enough! My guy friends would always flirt with the lunch ladies & try to get them to pop a few more tots on their plates, but it never worked.

  23. Carbohydrate overload! And not even fibrous carbohydrates. I like that I see wheat bread or buns every so often, but is it whole grain bread or processed wheat flour?

  24. bagel dog… um…. wat the heck? and those tater tots look a little under cooked….

  25. The one thing no one has brought up and I think it should be is.. these lunches are loaded with artificial chemicals of one kind and another. I know you said the taco lunch was your favorite – BUT – Doritos are loaded with MSG and for a person like me, and I’m sure there are a lot of others like me, MSG is a trip to the hospital. That taco seasoning is also probably full of MSG. There are at least 3 other meals already at day 12 that I’m pretty sure are loaded with MSG. I could not eat at your cafeteria because I would be spending lots of time in the ER.

  26. And tater tots. UGH. There is nearly 1 gram of fat in each tot. So six grams of fat in 6 tots. An adults daily intake of fat should be no more than 30 grams daily so 6 tater tots is 1/5 of your daily fat intake with no redeeming value. The cookie is another 6 grams of fat, and the bagel dog has between 17 – 25 grams of fat dependng on the hotdog inside. We are over the daily recommended fat intake for an adult for the day with this one skimpy meal. Everything on that plate is filler food and nothing has any redeeming value. Add to that the prepackaging and waste and this is a meal for noone.

  27. Let me tell you, overprocessed crap is NOTHING compared to what we get in West Virginia. Jamie Oliver- food revolution? Didn’t reach Charleston. MULTIPLE children take pictures of how disgusting the food is here.

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