Guest Post on Mrs. Q's Fed Up with Lunch Blog

Photo source: FedUpwithSchoolLunch.blogspot.com

About four months ago I came across a blog where a school teacher committed to eating the same school lunches her students ate for an entire year. I scrolled through far too many photos of tater tots, bagel dogs, pizza, nuggets, overcooked veggies (if any) and completely colorless meals – all documented by the blog’s anonymous author, Mrs. Q. I was hooked and immediately added this blog, Fed Up with Lunch to my reader. Since then I’ve been reading daily records of Mrs. Q’s lunch, and oftentimes get a little queasy just reading about what she eats. Even as a kid I was never really interested in school lunches and now as a dietitian know that so much work needs to be done to get kids nutritious lunches while working with the Federal Food Program and school funding. In one of my (many) jobs, I work at a school that has in-house chefs cooking fresh vegan food for over 200 students daily. The produce, whole grains, and variety is plentiful, but I know this school is an exception.

Mrs. Q has decided to stay anonymous for fear of losing her job, but I think the amount of publicity she’s received from this feat is tremendous, in a really good way. So good that not only has she been featured on some big news shows including Good Morning America, but also received a call from the Jamie Oliver, who is a passionate advocate for children’s health and school lunch. Type “Mrs. Q” in google and you’ll get thousands and thousands of results about her and her school lunch project.

I was honored Mrs. Q allowed me to guest post on her blog. Click here to see some of my Better Bagged Lunch ideas on her blog today. Even though school is out for the summer, these lunches can be made at home, or packed for camp. Mrs. Q is also taking the summer off from eating school lunches and will be serving them as a lunch lady. I can’t wait to see what the future brings for her and the future of school lunch. Thanks for letting me be a part of your blog, Mrs. Q!

9 Comments

  1. Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    So happy that I found your blog through Mrs. Q. Your guest post on bagged lunches was great! I am a former P.E. teacher-now SAHM, and I always stressed the importance of bringing lunch rather than buying! Hopefully more parents will jump on board and decide that packing a healthy lunch is the BEST decision for happy and healthy children 🙂 GREAT BLOG!!!

  2. Janel
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Marissa – thank you for your so-sweet comment! I think I liked bagged lunches even more when my mom left me a note on a napkin 🙂 Thanks for checking out my blog!

  3. Posted June 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Janet, so happy to read your post on Fed up this morning. Always glad to add another interesting blog to my list of must reads!

    I’ve always packed a lunch for my girls. The oldest because of food allergies and the youngest because of the oldest. Now the youngest is 16, wont step foot in school lunchroom. Eats in a teachers room and is doing her best to go veg.

    I teach 3 yr olds and take my lunch when I work too. Some of the things the mom’s send in for the 3 yr olds to eat would make you cry. I give a pep talk to them before school starts and point out online sites to look at for information and have given them Dr. Sears chart on the best foods for growing brains…it seems not to matter. Everything is High in salt, sugar and HFCS.
    Mom’s who are active and healthy and hurry off to their yoga class after dropping their kids off are sending in lunches of processed cheese crackers, pudding, fruit cups in HFCS and a cereal bar. That is one childs lunch, every day and he would eat it all.
    Any tips on what I can say at the meeting this year before school starts to prompt healthier lunches?

  4. Janel
    Posted June 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Hi Viki – thanks for your comment. I feel your pain! I can imagine how hard it must be to see those 3 year olds eat whatever junk their parents may give them. You said you meet with the parents before the school year starts, right? Is this individually or at an open-house type setting? Maybe you could bring sample lunch ideas to show parents and hand out recipes (from a kids cookbook or something similar). Sometimes just seeing things live helps people realize how easy it can be. I don’t know much about where you work but maybe you could also bring in a pediatric dietitian to give a little talk about the kids’ nutrient needs. Or, if you have this ability, maybe do some fun cooking classes with the kids during the day (like making sandwich roll ups, yogurt parfaits and other simple kid-friendly foods) and send the kids home with the recipes. The kids will probably wind up asking their parents for these foods and as a result will educate their parents on what they should be eating! Feel free to contact me if you’d like more info or suggestions. Good luck!

  5. Posted June 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I read her blog – so inspirational! I wish I would’ve thought of that idea, I just love it! So wise!!

  6. Posted June 22, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I love that blog!! It’s disgusting what is fed to young children in the school system. I am fortunate to never have consumed a school meal-they always disgusted me!
    and I think if Jaime called me i would faint.
    Go Mrs. Q and Go you!!

  7. Posted June 22, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    What a great idea! I’ll pack a few sample lunches this year to go with my open house talk. I don’t know that the director would let me bring a pediatric dietitian in, but I’ll check to see if one of the companies that does the CEU classes can have one do a class this year because I think it is timely and many teachers would enjoy learning more about this subject.

    One thing that I do with the kids is I sit down and eat with them. We talk about growing food, we compare what we have in our lunch boxes. I have water who else is drinking water today. I have carrots and so on. Then, I ask if carrots are a growing food….where does milk come from…cheese…and so it goes. Every moment is a learning moment from playground to lunch table to hand washing.

  8. Janel
    Posted June 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Viki – I love that you eat with the kids and talk about food. You’re setting a great example! Let me know how it goes when the open house rolls around this year!

  9. Posted June 26, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Great post Janel! I’m sure many mothers out there are thanking you right now. I think bagged lunches from home can get boring if you’re not careful and stick to the usuals. I’m pretty sure I ate pb&j sandwiches for 5 yrs straight as a kid :). But spreading the word about exciting lunch ideas for kids to bring from home will really help the movement to switch from school lunches to lunches brought from home!

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