Day 29: cheese pizza

Today’s menu: cheese pizza, pineapple fruit cup, baby carrots, pretzels, milk
I was ravenous when I got my lunch. When I sat down to eat the pizza, I tried to tell myself “the french bread version is better than the regular.” 
Weirdly, this is the first time I thought the pizza was fantastic! I liked the flavor and the texture. What happened??!! Is it that my taste buds are changing? I used to strongly dislike the pizza. I guess I can understand why some staff members really enjoy it.
The baby carrots were delish too.
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38 thoughts on “Day 29: cheese pizza

  1. It could be all the salt and fat! Why oh why do the vegetables need to be packaged like that? Think of the waste! Are those whole grain pretzel sticks? As in really whole grain, not multigrain with white flour as the first ingredient.

  2. Uh huh. Two things were GOOD? I believe that you were brainwashed in your sleep by a recording that said "It tastes good…It tastes good..It tastes good…" (In an alternating male/female voice) Then a little ninja snuck in 5 minutes before you woke up and took the recording with him so you'd never know. Now you know.

  3. Like most things, you become accustomed to the flavor and I suppose – acquire a taste for it (like items with high sodium contents).

    Alas, I'm once again mildly horrified at the idea that someone actually eats it. Haha, but potentially (I suppose) it looks more edible in real life.

  4. Taste buds don't "change" but rather get trained.

    The brain categorizes certain nutritional values with foods/tastes. As you eat more of a certain food, the brain says "okay, if this is all your going to give me I'm gonna make it taste real good so you give me more because so and so nutrients are still missing."

    This has a lot to do w/ pregnant women's cravings. Nutrient deficient and brain only knows to get nutrients from food you've introduced to it. So a calcium-magnesium deficiency turns into ice cream w/ Doritos.

    When you're done w/ this in a year, you will notice that fruit tastes very different than it does now. It will take a few wks before your body asks you to eat fruits and vegetables.

    This post talks a little more about this:
    Why do you crave food?

    Kevin :: GlycoTrainer

  5. I don't think she's grown accustomed or trained her tastebuds to enjoy fat and salt laden foods, no doubt that these are, but can't a person enjoy a pizza once in a awhile? What makes cafeteria pizza any different from a local joint?

  6. My kids are in 2nd and 4th grades, and neither of them have bought lunch at school even one time, because I can't stand the thought of them eating it. It is slowly dawning on me as I read your blog that only making sure my own two children have whole wheat bread, organic peanut butter, and fresh fruit is not enough. I have to do better for my whole community's children. I'm so glad you are helping to bring this issue into public discourse. You are part of the solution, Ms. Q.

  7. Responding to Anonymous….this pizza is different from a local joint because most of those local joints actually start with flour, water, yeast, cheese, and assorted other items to arrive at a pizza. The 'pizza' served in the school is created in a factory and has more chemicals than actual ingredients. No comparison. Locally here our school system serves, once a week, flatbread from a local restaurant that uses mostly local orgranic ingredients. Now THATS the pizza I'd like my kids served in school!

  8. These meals are similar to what my school serves. However these meals are a lot more anitary, believe it or not. Whenever I get cheese pizza, I find myself constantly having to stop eating just to pick out all the hairs. There has been times where the 'vegetarian' options actually either had chunks of meat fall in, or were actually meat (instead of that… other stuff, I actually don't know what they make vegie burgers from, tofu?). I would assume this could potentially bring cultural conflict. Imagine you have a muslim child that had to drop to their last resort and eat a school lunch, when he gets home he tells his mother that he ate a 'real' burger, with meat. What kind of reaction would that cause?…

    I wonder how often hands that have touched raw meat went straight to fruits and vegetables?… Cross contamination makes the world go round, and my stomach likewise.

  9. I'm not going to go on a lable Nazi diatribe, but just wanted to post a simple Thank you, for putting yourself and your position on the line. You truly are worth your teaching credentials in an age where so few teachers are.

  10. Actually looks fairly decent to me. Pizza can be moderately healthy if it is a real tomato sauce and authentic cheese. I would so love to see schools serve the good kind, loaded with fresh grilled vegetables on top of a whole wheat crust. Unfortunately this is probably a heated "frozen" variety laden with chemicals and preservatives.

    Kudos on the carrots and even the pretzels though.

  11. Re: meat substitutes Anonymous: wheat gluten (seitan) is a cheap meat substitute that is often used for filler with real meat as well.

    This is why school lunches are so dangerous to people with food sensitivities/allergies. Who knows what's actually in this stuff? Why is there no food in our food anymore?

  12. What I find most interesting about all of your lunches so far is that they are very meat and carb-centric. Fruit and veggies are always a side note, and often in some processed form (like a fruit cup, or fruit jello, or canned green beans). It says something about what we as adults think constitutes a meal. Meat comes first; then bread; fruit and veggies are an afterthought.

  13. Seeing the French bread pizza reminds me of the much beloved English muffin pizzas my high school served! Cafeteria pizza made with non-traditional crusts are always awesome, for some reason.

  14. Wow, this is really amazing. Your food is kinda bad, but food from my Canadian middle school was even worse. Fruit and veggies weren't even an option. Even at my high school, kids routinely walked out with burgers and fries. I really hope that your efforts to raise awareness sends the message to our governments that change is necessary!

  15. As an individual and a mother who has always read labels since the 70's, it's great to see this teacher drawing attention to the important subject of clean food and excellent nutrition. I would not eat that packaged pizza for reasons already stated, nor would I serve it to my child. I sent mostly home cooked/prepared food to school with my child. When you eat clean food, you just don't want anything else, I have found. My mother fed us well-thought-out meals, and now my daughter, an adult, eats a perfect diet! Neysa, I agree with you completely about the structure of the diet in schools. Kudos to those schools who add creative and highly nourishing foods for our youngsters.

  16. You might like The Renegade Lunch Lady-

    For most of my public school life, I brought my lunch, but then for college, I was amazed at how terrible the food was, and how much we were (required!!) to pay for it. The price that the meal plan added to freshman year discouraged a LOT of students from going to that college in the first place.

    The food provider company was Chartwells, who seems to be the big business power behind a lot of school food, and it wasn't much healthier than some of the things you've been showing. We did have a salad bar, but it was pretty wilty and tasted like chemicals, and it explained a lot of the weight gain, health problems, and money problems the students were having. That's when I learned to cook for myself.

  17. I just found your blog today and am impressed. As a teacher, I am appauled at what my kids eat for lunch. Most of my kids are on free lunch and for a few, this is their only meal of the day. While their entrees are the only thing that is served them, few choose any of the items at the "salad bar" – salad mix (the cheap kind), baby carrots, and crackers are there every day. A few other items like fruit are offered, though rarely fresh. Most kids get the entree, chocolate milk and are then off to play. And we wonder why test scores are so low!

    I applaud your for eating school lunches. I used to eat lunch at school often, but then had a fun bout with some stomach ailment caused by my lunch and that was the end of that! But again, I am in CA and who knows what's really in our food!

  18. Thank you so, so much for your blog. It's a great thing that you're doing. My son started kindergarten this year and he takes his lunch in a laptop lunch box EVERYDAY. I couldn't stand for him to have to eat that junk. I volunteer in the cafeteria twice a week to help the kids, so I see the junk they are served. Sad.

  19. Haha! Reading this post was fun!

    Hostel life during medical school, for 4.5 years, taught me how to appreciate the crazy lunches and dinners we were served just coz i'd be so so starved. I even learned to eat veges i'd never heard of or seen earlier. I guess i even turned carnivorous (read- i'm normally vegetarian) when we were served food garnished with insect wings. TRY. TRY NOT TO SQUIRM.

    Don't worry, i'm not claiming that that is what is happening to you. All i'm saying is, that's what we call ADAPTATION, eh?!!

  20. I think that some of the over-packaging is meant to "prettify" the food, or disguise it. That way the kids, and also the food service workers, might not focus on how unattractive and unhealthy it is. Truly, if some of these lunches were served on a plain white plate, the whole mess would resemble jail food, or worse! I should confess that I HAVE seen jail food and lots of it actually looks better than THIS. Of course, the jail kitchen doesn't want to piss off a whole bunch of ornery inmates.

  21. Actually, anonymous at 2:15, I imagine the packaging has far more to do with food safety/hygiene, and far less to do with disguising the food. In addition, since it seems clear the food is not cooked on premises, it has to be pre-packaged, so all it needs is heating up in whatever type of warming device they use.

  22. I remember having a pizza like that in about 2nd grade when I was brave enough to eat school lunches. I remember it tasting like cheese, spiced tomato sauce, and cheap bread. It was pretty good, even though I never got the chance to eat it again. I also remember how there used to be peanutbutter-fluff sandwiches which were later knocked off the menu for a healthier lunch. In 7th grade I ate pbj all the time, but those were chucked too because there were a few peanut allergies. I never ate cafeteria food since. Your blog is extremely interesting. As a student in high school, cafeteria lunches are a regular experience. Somehow I always find myself asking my friends if they like the lunches, and it turns out that appearently most of the food served at my school is healthy and tastes reasonable. Good luck with your mission, you have an exellent cause. (I hope you don't get too much bad food!)

  23. I still remember food in my middle and high schools; it went in a pattern. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we were served hamburgers or chicken patties with fries and milk. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we were served a slice of pizza, fries and milk (Thursdays the pizza was clearly leftover). Occasionally we'd get the icee things. That was literally all we were ever offered. Chili and other such options sound gourmet by comparison.

  24. I wonder how many plastic packages of carrots go straight into the garbage without ever being opened. I imagine that little cello bag is hard to open for a lot of little kids. If the food was presented to them on a tray, fully accessible, they would be more apt to eat it. Not to mention, there would be a LOT less waste.

    Sigh. Makes me sad. It's totally my pet peeve! I mean, I blog about this for goodness sakes.
    *shakes head with scowl on face*

  25. I just started reading your blog, and I'm already amazed.

    The only thing I don't like, though, is how all the foods are PACKAGED– think of all that packaging going to waste daily! I graduated in June, and even then my schools just served food on paper plates or trays or something; it's really bugging me how everything is sealed and bagged shut.

    It's just really weird to see 😛

  26. frightening thought for you – our tastebuds DO CHANGE and regenerate and as they do, they adapt to new foods… may be coming accustomed to basically really crappy food. You're a brave soul! I'm counting down the days till your cleanse!

  27. So, am I to assume that corn is not the preferred accompinament to school pizza anymore? Every time we had pizza in school, it came with corn, without fail. Odd, but I never noticed corn on the menu at pizza joints or Italian restaurants, but it always came together at school.

    This of course leads to the popular saying, "Me and Jenny went together like corn and pizza."

  28. Salt content must be through the roof!!! ahhhh

    I am so curious to see the Nutritional Info on these items. Would it be possible to post a picture of the package info sometimes?

    I love you, Mrs. Q!

  29. My school has the worst pizza. It is served every wednsday and if you held it up by the crust the grease would just drip off. It takes about 2 minutes for all the grease to drip off at a steady pase.

  30. The pizza looks disgusting! And those kids eat way too much of it. That being said….it looks exactly what I used to eat in school. It's odd how my eating styles have changed, but some of those things (regardless of their flavor/nutrition value) still look good. I eat WAY healthier now, but still….some of those items call to me. What is it about school lunches?? I would LOVE to have our schools make an effort in a more healthy, natural direction. Kudos on your blog!! I just found it tonight and I haven't been able to stop reading!! Thank you!

  31. I was in the Army for 6 1/2 years, and I have to say, the garbage that the children at your school are eating really closely resembles what I was fed in places like Fort Polk, Louisiana. Of course, there's a big difference between serving unhealthy food to children and adults.

    I understand what you mean about your taste buds changing, the first few meals I had on different bases were horrible, I could barely choke them down, but after awhile, I had "favorites". Strange, isn't it?

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I think what you're doing is great. I just started reading your blog after seeing the headline on Yahoo and I'm very impressed.

  32. It's school hot lunch "Stockholm syndrome" … be afraid on the day when you decide the Icee is "not that bad"

    Thank you for your blog, a bunch of my Facebook friends and I are following your reports/research. Hopefully there will be a change in child's nutrition in schools soon!

  33. Since I am a teenager, currently in high school, I can personally from experience say that when your so starving by lunch time you can hardly stand up straight, anything tastes freakin' awesome! and honestly, I think what it mostly is is that the kids couldn't care less about the food as long as it fills their stomach. They need to be educated, and like was said earlier, their tastebuds re-trained.

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