School Lunch Overhaul

My children’s school does this really annoying thing for lunch.  The “hot lunchers” sit at one table, and the “cold lunchers” sit at another table across the way.  Almost all the kids buy the hot lunch. Which means kids who bring cold lunches are effectively physically separated from the bulk of the kids in their grade.

If I let my son get the hot lunch the way he wants, he’d eat a hot dog every day. (They have a basic lunch menu, and then turkey hot dogs as “optional entree” every day. My son doesn’t like anything, so he’d get the hot dog. (It’s a given.) So he takes cold lunch. And sits over on the sparsely populated side of the cafeteria with the other poor rejected cold lunchers whose parents pack them food every day.

As a compromise, we decided to let him do hot lunch one day a week for the second semester. One hot dog a week is acceptable. I guess.

So my interest in school lunches has just taken a 20% increase as of today, his first hot lunch day.  So the news that the USDA is planning to overhaul school meal safety standards is something I will pay attention to…Marion Nestle’s summary and analysis of what it’s all about is definitely worth a read.  Check it out!


Posted on January 14, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. It all sounds great, except that it occurred to me last night that my fairly picky son would opt out anyway. So then what? I guess once they get hungry enough, they start learning new habits?

  2. My boys have taken their lunches almost every day and one is a sophomore in high school and the other is in 6th grade. Our schools have never segregated students who bring their lunch from those who purchase their lunch. The furthest our schools go is to designate a peanut free table which is justifiable. OUr high school is kind enough to offer microwave ovens so my son can take soup or some other hot lunch that he can simply warm up at the appropriate time.

  3. My daughter won’t eat what they serve at school. As a result she brings lunch from home. My son on the other hand,would love to eat the junk they serve every day. He’s allowed to buy once a week and must have at least one fruit or veggie. The sad thing is that the only things he can usually find are canned pears.

  4. I actually saw this the same place you did, on Marion Nestle’s blog and decided to blog about it too.

    I’ve been following this legislation for a while, and I think the area it will affect most are those children that do not have the choice to have a home-made lunch, like many of us took for granted.

    Many children get federally subsidized discounted or free lunches and their parents should be able to have the peace of mind that they are getting healthful food.


  5. Jessica, I’m with you there–and I’m aware that it really is a luxury to be able to make the choice…I’m just crabbing about the way our particular school district seems to stack things socially against those whose parents make the choice.

    It is such a kick in the teeth that we even HAVE to worry about this–to fight for healthy food for children at school. Shouldn’t that be a no-brainer? ESPECIALLY for kids whose only shot at a healthy meal might be what they get at school? Oy.

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