After careful consideration of some comments, I realize that I owe Mrs. Q an apology and a clarification. I am not fed up with her personally; I am fed up with the approach used by extreme critics of school lunch. Choosing to bash all school meals because some do not "rock" does a disservice to children and to the dedicated professionals in America's school nutrition programs. I have clarified this in the title of my announcement ... and will post more about positive strategies that can make a real difference soon on School Meals That Rock.
January 3, 2011
School Meals That Rock Announces Fed Up with School Lunch Bashing
When Mrs. Q – the school teacher/celebrity blogger – posted her final 2010 meal on Fed Up with School Lunch, she got a bit of media buzz. In one sentence, she also got the facts about school nutrition altogether wrong: The meals I ate were identical to meals eaten by kids all over this country every day in a school in your neighborhood. Not even close, Mrs. Q!
“In a December 17th post, Mrs. Q described a little voice telling her to document the hazards of school lunch in her Chicago-area school,” explains Dayle Hayes, MS, RD (registered dietitian) and President, Nutrition for the Future in Billings, Montana. “A strong voice has urged me to refute the claims of Mrs. Q – and Mr. Oliver, Ms. Cooper, Dr. Phil, the Two Angry Moms, and every other extreme critic of school lunch. It is a well-informed voice with 20+ years experience in helping to improve meals in my neighborhood school and in districts across the country.”
During 2011, School Meals That Rock will continue to document the appealing nutrient-rich, delicious school lunches (as well as breakfasts and snacks) that are really eaten by kids all over this country every day in districts large and small. These meals are amazing because school nutrition programs are able to serve them on USDA reimbursement rates of $1.76 or less for breakfast and $2.74 or less for lunch, depending upon local income levels. These rates must cover food – increasingly fresh and local – as well as labor and benefits.
Ms. Hayes, Chair of the School Nutrition Services Dietetic Practice Group (SNS DPG), believes that it is time to completely bust the myths about school meals and to give credit where it is due. “Mrs. Q got a lot of online interest for blogging about poor lunches in a single school. School Meals That Rock will gather more support for the positive promotion of real meals in many districts.”
For the 2011 Fed Up with School Lunch Bashing, Hayes invites everyone to submit a photo of their Tray of the Day for Success at School and to Like School Meals That Rock on Facebook. The goals of the project are simple:
- To celebrate the real nutrition revolution in America’s school meals
- To showcase over 200 appealing school meals from 50 states during 2011
- To create a community of over 5,000 school meal supporters on Facebook
“Mrs. Q claimed her blog ‘was a campaign to raise awareness’, but it was based on incomplete and erroneous information,” says Hayes. “Tray of the Day for Success at School is a factual project to celebrate the transformation of school meals led by members of the SNS DPG and the School Nutrition Association.”
To share a Tray of the Day for Success at School, send a photo, with date served and a brief description of the meal to firstname.lastname@example.org. To join the online supporters of ongoing excellence school nutrition programs, go to School Meals That Rock and hit the Like button.