Would you eat school lunches for a year for fame and fortune? One teacher did, and now she’s got a book deal under her belt as a result.
After a year of eating school lunches, Mrs. Q survived to blog about it.
She works at an urban school in the Midwest, where she ate bagel dogs (yes, that’s an entree), yellowish meatloaf and chicken tenders, which she likened to “squirts of chicken foam.”
With spork in hand, her mission was to chronicle the $3 school lunches on her blog, Fed Up With Lunch. Every afternoon, Mrs. Q — who asked to remain anonymous out of concern for her job — photographed the lumps on her orange school lunch tray, and shared her observations about the food and how it affected students.
The blog gained a substantial following and stirred conversations about what should be on kids’ trays. Mrs. Q announced on her blog late Thursday that she will reveal her identity later this year when she publishes a book about the project.
“I just wanted to make a public record of what my students ate,” Mrs. Q said during an interview. “It’s not to target anybody. The lunchroom manager, the ladies and men who are in the cafeteria, they care about the students and what’s the best for them in their lives. They don’t have power of controlling their menus. They’re just doing their jobs.”
Kayla Coleman wrote about the blog early last year, and pointed out that school lunches play a huge factor in the health of our children.
Endocrine Today recently reported that a University of Michigan study proclaims children who eat school lunches are more likely to be overweight and obese than kids who bring their lunch from home. The report says that kids who buy lunch at school are more likely to eat fatty meats, drink sugary drinks, and eat less fruits and vegetables. Our own Beth Buczynski has also written about how Underfunded School Lunch Programs Create Unhealthy Kids.
The link between the meals children eat at school and their weight makes sense. For many kids, school lunches provide the main source of nutrients they get every day. School lunches teach kids what “normal” food is. If tater tots are seen as vegetables, what will they think of a salad? If a kid is regularly served fruit cups laden with high-fructose corn syrup, will she/he ever choose to eat a plain, fresh apple?
In light of the struggle we’ve had even to pass things as basic and the Child Nutrition Bill within the last year, hopefully a new book exposing the shortcomings in school lunches will launch a new and productive discussion on how to really change the way meals are served and help our children be their healthiest.