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A first-hand look at school lunch

As the All We Can Eat blog reported last week, lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation that would improve school lunches, enhancing their nutritional value and making them available to more children.

If you don't think such changes are necessary, take a look at this blog that is said to be created by an anonymous teacher who has committed to eat school lunch every school day in 2010 -- unless she gets fired first. "Mrs. Q" writes on her "Fed Up With School Lunch" blog site that she's "Eating school lunch just like the kids every day in 2010."

Mrs. Q, who says she's staying anonymous for fear of being fired for writing the blog, chronicles her daily lunchroom experiences in words and photos. It ain't pretty:

Today's menu: cheese lasagna, peas, pear, milk, bread, butter
Wow. Truly monumentally bad. I couldn't get through the main entree. I was hungry too... I bit the cheese lasagna and it didn't even pass muster as pasta! Al dente? No, al crappy. The pasta couldn't hold its form and it crumbled. I ate two bites and I was done. Yuck.
Luckily I keep peanut butter in my desk. I used the two pieces of bread that came with the lunch and made a peanut butter sandwich. The spork was my snife. I would have been so screwed without my little snack stash today.
The pear and the peas were good. If it had been a fruit cup, I probably would have cried.

Mrs. Q told AOL Health "These are the kids who need the good nutrition. . . My students don't have good food models at home. These kids depend on the school for so much, including good nutrition. And if they don't get it, they will develop bad habits and increase our health-care costs in the future."

Having written about school nutrition programs before, I know that many school systems have upped their game and do their best to serve nutritious food that appeals to kids. But I also know that too many schools--apparently including the one at which Mrs. Q teaches--lag behind.

I'm not big on government's telling people what to eat and what not to eat. But since the federal government already runs the national school lunch program and sets the standards for the quality of food served and sold in schools, then I heartily endorse efforts to get the government to up its game, too. Given what we know about childhood obesity in America, continuing to feed kids garbage on the taxpayer's dime is unconscionable. Let's hope this legislation passes--and accomplishes the changes it aims to achieve.

Tweet about it! The other Local Living writers and I are on Twitter at @wposthome/local-living. And keep track of my "Me Minus 10" effort to lose 10 pounds before I turn 50 at

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  March 22, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Family Health , Nutrition and Fitness , Obesity , Social Media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is that Right? Movie-theaters should offer healthful snack options?
Next: Losing weight with your honey is not always sweet


Actually, that meal doesn't seem too bad on it's face. Sounds like maybe it could be corrected in the preparation which may also mean purchasing if you don't prepare on-site. Don't think any laws will guarantee good taste, so think you might need to wage a war a little closer to home - maybe the school kitchen!!

Posted by: CAN50 | March 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

My child cries if I even make mention of the hot school lunch as an option. He won't even eat the things that he loves like chicken nuggets. He tells me that they are slippery. We are lucky in that hot school lunch has the potential of being a luxury when pressed for time and not an economic necessity. They should increase the quality of what is served and have families like mine pay more than $1.25 for the meal. I think that most parents would pay extra for quality food.

Posted by: mmcgowen | March 22, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I completely agree--the teacher is complaining about the TASTE, not the nutrition. Pear and peas--not too bad! I'm sure lasagna is not the healthiest option in the land, but she didn't mention that it was greasy or fatty. It just didn't taste good.

Posted by: ARL514 | March 22, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe I'm having a hard time seeing the point of this blog. If she's talking just about taste, then I'm not sure how relevant it is to school food issues. Palates change and expand as kids develop. What is served in elementary schools should not necessarily be the same as middle school or high school; so trying to accommodate the palates of adults and children in one meal may not be a realistic goal. But . . . given her comments to AOL Health, she's not just talking about taste.

Posted by: CAN50 | March 22, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

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