Day 37: chicken patty

Today’s menu: chicken patty, whole wheat bun, beans, banana, milk

Overall I think this is a great school lunch.

Thanks to everyone for their great comments about the greens I had yesterday!

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21 thoughts on “Day 37: chicken patty

  1. Dear Teacher,

    Very interesting blog! I like your cause and I appreciate your effort. You said a few days ago that you want to stay anonymous to keep your job. I'm confused as to why you would even be fired in the case that your identity is revealed.

    From the looks of this blog, you're not doing anything wrong. You're not violating the privacy of any children. Your photos are on the actual school lunch served, depicted with no editing. Your photos and posts do not mention names or children in your care. Presumably, you do this in your lunch hour — which are federally mandated and time in which the school cannot control or compel your every move.

    It seems to me this is your free speech and freedom of expression being practiced and the cannot and should not be able to retaliate. You should make this your campaign and put your full name behind this project should you decide to do so.

    I should mention that it might be prudent to wait a while longer to see if these foods actually make a negative impact on you, or not. The fact is, the school is limited in resources and from the looks of the pictures, they try their best to make sure everyone has access to a basic and nutritional lunch. No one expects gourmet or top of the line and it would be asinine to suggest so. Likewise, any conclusions you can draw may also be spurious as you are only eating one school meal a day and your outside activities are likely to have an impact as well.

    I would tread carefully as to not make general claims or even false claims that the lunches are unhealthy using only yourself as an experiment when the 'design' of your experiment lacks the basics of scientific process. In the case you move forward with reasonable claims and message, I think you will be protected under the 1st amendment.

  2. This lunch is not awful. However, a whole muscle piece of chicken would be preferable.

    I wanted to report back to the "Fed-Up Blog Community" about the extremely interesting and eye-opening seminar I attended in NYC yesterday entitled, "School Food Matters: Hunger, Obesity and Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act"

    A member of the USDA and other influential figures in the arena of public school food were part of a panel discussion regarding the goals of the CNA Reauthorization. (Check out the details and participants here:

    Without being too lengthy I wanted to let you know what I got out of the discussion.

    * It was made clear that the primary goal was to "improve access to the National School Lunch Program and address hunger issues."

    It was also clear that, while improving the nutritional value/quality of school lunch was an objective, increasing access was the central focus. Now while personally I agree that hunger is major and morally reprehensible issue in this country where food is abundant and routinely wasted, I am still very concerned with the content of the meals being served. When this was addressed by an audience member, there was hostility from some panel members and it was explicitly stated that strong food industry lobby groups made improving food and restricting items like Chocolate Milk and Beef nearly impossible. It was said numerous times "Money talks"

    One last point I need to put out there . . . One panel member commented that "progressive blogs" were stigmatizing and degrading the image of the Nat'l School Lunch Program. As a massive fan of THIS blog, I took that personally. I feel very important work is being done here in terms of shining a spotlight on the issues in our country's cafeterias.

    SHINE ON, Mrs. Q!!!

  3. "Food for thought"

    I just want to laugh at the logic-molesting irony that motto has.

    thee thought in this food is the equivalent of american stereotypes.

  4. Hi, I'm an avid reader of your blog from Singapore. Currently I'm 15, and in Secondary Four in Singapore, which would be about the equivalent of high school in US if I'm not wrong.

    In Singapore, school lunches and recesses are provided by a canteen consisting of about 5 vendors or more. We have a choice as to what food we want to eat, and because we're Asian the food served in the canteen is most Asian in variety, such as chinese chow-mein, yong tau foo (basically various types of vegetable stuffed with fish paste and served in soup with rice or noodles), nasi lemak (a malay dish of coconut rice with sides such as deep fried anchovies, peanuts, chill)and pseudo-"western food" (Chicken chops that are cold and taste horrible)

    A meal typically costs about SGD2, drinks and fruits are optional and bought separately.

    While it is possible to eat healthily in school, most students don't because firstly, (because my school is an all-girl's school) there is a higher awareness to eating less and to eating healthily so as to not put on weight, thus the vendors that sell healthier food are usually flocked with all these students, and for those that aren't really concerned about what they eat, most of the food bought are deep-fried or chockful of MSG, in addition you never know what chemicals are in the processed food used by the vendors.

    Personally, I've adopted a healthier way of eating. School recesses for me usually consist of a sandwich with a drink or something that I've packed from home. I usually have lunch at home because I end school at around 2pm (usually leftovers)

  5. ….really…."a great school lunch"? I'm wondering if your palate and expectations/food standards are being undermined the longer you do this.
    a step in the right direction and a step up from other lunches – yes! a great meal – no.
    no veggie, highly sugared milk, what exactly constitutes the chicken patty (they're usually not 100% meat and it's probably from a hormone & antibiotic raised bird), I'd also put money down that the beans were laden with sugars and unnecessary fats via the sauce they're in.
    lowering standards won't help your cause or convince others there's a need for change.

  6. Is it my imagination or has the quality of the lunches improved? Greens? A real whole banana? Seems so much better than the processed PB&J creation and other horrible lunches earlier in the year. Maybe you are already making a difference!

  7. Now, I haven't been in a school for about 6 years now, but I have to say I'm shocked the way things have changed. While I understand that it varies from school to school, I have never even heard of those little trays with the peel back plastic in a school lunch! We had a lot of little paper food service boats, so at least our lunch ladies took the tater tots out of one package and put them in another for us.

    I think I had the most balanced lunch out of my entire group of friends. A couple girls (skinny little things, too) would default to a cookie and a Snapple. They must have eaten better than I did at home, because I craved the somewhat balanced meal of my school lunch. There was always a very processed main dish (pizza, chicken nuggets, hot sandwich, whatever), veggie choice (salad – later a salad bar! – occasionally a warm and limp canned veggie option, or tater tots, which are not actually a vegetable. I mean, yes, potatoes come from the ground, but in tot form, they are a starch!), fruit-or-juice, milk and occasionally a dessert item. By picking the salad (and unfortunately the juice, but the fruit was hardly ever good) I managed to do pretty well by myself.

    And we at least got the illusion of freshness, between the salad and not having everything covered in plastic. That's the part that scares me the most. Well, that and the bit where they dared serve grade schoolers(?) collard greens. That's really cheeky.

  8. Something I find strange is that a burger, a chicken patty, anything put on a bun doesn't come with lettuce, tomato, onions, anything! Just a pack of ketchup? It's like they want kids to crave fast food more, when they can have a totally stacked burger!

    I was happy to find this blog, it's so interesting and has made me think of the cafeteria when I was in school. Compared to what I'm seeing, I had it pretty good (yet back then I complained almost every day!). Hang in there!

  9. I think this is at least a lunch that most of the kids will eat, except for the beans. Whole wheat for the bun plus a whole banana! How nice it is to see a fruit that is not sitting in syrup in one of those little containers. Somebody is at least trying with this one to pay attention to nutrition.

    As a Mother I'd like to see chocolate milk banned. As a former child I know that most of the kids want the chocolate.

  10. I think they need to serve more bananas; they're such a kid-friendly fruit. They're America's favorite fruit!

  11. First off- I LOVE LOVE LOVE this project. It's interesting to see how schools are providing lunch. But I have to say, I'm kinda appalled by these lunches. Everything seems so processed and prepackaged. Like, you might as well hand each kid a Lean Cuisine and call it a well balanced meal. I understand that it's hard for schools to provide meals. There's a huge deal of cost involved as to how things are done. I'm only 25, but thinking back to my school days– we would've never been asked to eat this. Our food was part govt and part bought from the school (per meal costs passed to each student). We had lunch ladies who prepared everything. In HS, we had 4 separate food lines- sub line (which was probably the healthiest), pizza line, pasta line and then a line which resembled foods we got in elementry school (which cost less than the other lines). My mom is a cook for a school and they make pretty much everything from scratch, well at least not prepackaged, warmed up and handed to the kids. I think it's really sad that this is what your meals are. I'm not trying to be all negative, just that this definitely brings awareness to school lunches. I'm not sure which region of the US you are from, but in the upper midwest, this is not seen in the schools.

    Hopefully some changes will happen with your school lunches.

  12. Lisa,

    First, I just visited your veggification website and it's great! Second, I'm emailing you to pick your brain about ideas around vegetables that I could weave into my environmental science class AND I'm so happy you were at the forum on school lunch yesterday. Thanks for your continued thoughts on this blog!

    As for beans… Yesterday my kids were served beans, too. But they were black beans mixed with corn and none of the kids would eat them! They just put their napkin over that section of their styrofoam plate. Did the children eat these beans??

  13. Your blog is great! I just sent my son to school for the first time (6th grade) a week ago and he has been eating school lunch lots of the days. He loves that he doesn't have to make a lunch in the morning, but when they served burritos today with nothing to put on them, (no cheese, lettuce, tomatoes – nothing)he decided to skip the burrito!

  14. Wow, this is enlightening. I have to say though, that most of the pictures of the lunches you are served show that the food is individually packaged, which has never happened at any of the schools I've worked at or attended. Additionally, where I am they serve nacho chips with cheese sauce (essentially canned was never once cheese) and count that as a protein, and that's the entree! The next day they serve french toast sticks and sausage patties. The following day is dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets with buttered noodles and carrots(which for some reason I was always grateful for because it most closely resembled a balanced meal). No wonder the kids always lagged after lunch. They didn't have any energy! Cheers to you for doing this blog. But rest assured that even your school does not have the nutritional deficiencies that other schools are experiencing.

  15. A chicken puck with a pouch of BBQ sauce and some bland, presuambly very sweet, baked beans is not good eats. God knows what is in the chicken puck, probably a whole long list of chemicals and meat by products and salt plus lots of saturated or trans-fats that it was originally fried in. And that BBQ sause is probabley just as high in HFCS as the previously noted ketchup. And not all baked beans are equal. You can make them with great spices and aromatics and molasses (think B&M or Homemade), or just a bunch of dried crap and refined chemicals and I would bet they are of the latter grade.

    I really think you need to get more information on these foods as to what they really contain as in what you see listed on every food label in the US. Only then can you really tell the difference between basic, simple, low-processed ingredients and what is instead spit out by factories that put cost before quality and nutrition. Otherwise, you're just the blind leading the blind. So I do hope you will learn more of this from your readings and I would hope you concentrate most on the book from Harvard Medical School because it is the only one truly steeped in hard science and that is of which we need far more.

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