kitchen background

Friday, March 26, 2010

School Lunch on TV

After my post earlier this week about school lunch with my daughter, a few readers let me know about other things happening with school lunches around the country.

Tonight the new show "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" will air on ABC. I watched it online earlier this week. His main objective is to teach people to cook their own food and be aware of what they are eating. His first attempt was in a school cafeteria in Huntington, West Virginia, the unhealthiest city in the U.S. It's really interesting to see their reaction: not only are the lunch ladies not grateful to see him there, they are downright hostile towards him. The big shocker to me was that they don't see anything wrong with the food they are serving. Looking at a box of hamburger patties, where ground beef was the number one ingredient, Alice (a lunch lady) didn't mind that there was a long list of other ingredients mixed in there too.

In Chicago earlier this week, students prepared to meet with their school board to protest against the school lunch food. They are concerned that nachos, fries, pizzas and slushies are the daily fare. Their suggestions include: having an organic school garden and cooking the food on site. The board turned down the students request to meet with them, but a teacher promised to deliver their speeches for them. You can read the full article here. The powerful part is that students here care enough to try to make a change in what they are served.

Jessica Ortega, one of the high school students involved in trying to make changes in her school lunch, said, "If we could get used to the nasty food, why couldn't we get used to the healthy food too?"  That's part of why the school lunch is such a concern: at a very young age, we are getting kids used to  unhealthy food as the norm.

Michelle Obama has taken school lunch up as one of her issues. “Every day, with the food you serve, you're teaching them these critical lessons about nutrition and healthy eating,” Obama said. “You're shaping their habits and their preferences, and you're affecting the choices that they're going to make for the rest of their lives.”  She is working from the top down, and students working from the bottom up, maybe we have a chance of making a change in the quality of food we feed our nation's kids.

Less than a week left for the jewelry giveaway- be sure to enter before the 31st!


  1. I watched the show tonight. It is frustrating to see how defensive people get about the foods they eat and what they are feeding their children. We are not the strictest people in the world about healthy food, but the bulk of Bayer's diet is made up of fruits and vegetables and since that is all he knows, he prefers them. It is nice to talk to other people who are passionate about the same things. You are doing good work on this blog Chanelle!

  2. I didn't see the program (don't have a tv), but I read about it. On one hand, I applaud the efforts of everyone working to improve our food supply. On the other hand, we have to remember that we don't see what goes on behind the scenes. Apparently Oliver treated the people shown in the film like country bumpkins from the get-go (not shown in show), which is why they were hostile and defensive towards him (shown in show).

    It might make for more interesting tv to pit people against one another and demonize them but I think that a pleasant approach goes a lot further if you really want to educate people and change things. I'm fairly certain that approached differently, the women working at the school cafeteria would have responded a lot more positively.

    I'm glad you mentioned it's available online; I'll try to find it so I can watch it myself.