Monday, December 21, 2009

Rachael Ray takes on school food

Another celebrity chef is taking up the cause of improving school food, making it tasty and nutritious, all without having to resort to disguising everything as burgers and pizza. Maybe this is the way to go, getting a star chef to lead the charge, much as Jamie Oliver has done in the UK.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Students Want Reform, Too

What Schools are Up Against

How will schools ever be able to work on nutrition if parents seek to subvert efforts? The same thing has happened in England as they have tried to make school dinners more healthy--parents passing junk food through the school gates!

Though I certainly don't think that students should be denied education (i.e., suspended) for violating food policies, that's not really the big story here in my mind. Why didn't the reporter ask the dad why he was bringing fast food to school for his daughter?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meatless Mondays and Other Innovations in Baltimore

Friday, October 9, 2009

School Nutrition Programs Get a Boost

The Senate has sent a bill to President Obama to expand funding for the Child Nutrition programs (among others). School food looks to be getting $1.9 billion in extra funding, more than even the School Nutrition Association was expected as of this summer. Part of this includes new kitchen equipment, but most will likely go to fund the increased number of free and reduced price lunches.

More can be found at

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Michelle Obama pitches gardens on Sesame Street

The First Lady is doing her part again, this time taking her gardening and healthy eating message to the television shows that kids watch.

Reuters reports that she will be on the season premier of Sesame Street pitching gardening to kids. Tune in on November 10, 2009.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

More on the White House kitchen garden

On the day that President Obama is giving his speech to the nation's schoolchildren, I think it especially important that the video of the White House Kitchen Garden is on the same page. And here:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Spider-Man and Montel's Daughter Advocate for Healthier School Lunches, Including Vegeterian Meals

Tobey MacGuire has written to Congress about including more healthy, vegetarian options in the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. You should write your representatives to share your opinions on school lunches, too.

Read about Tobey at

Montel Williams' daughter is doing much the same in a new TV commercial. This one is sponsored by, a venture of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Obesity Rates Up Again

I'm just back from the annual School Nutrition Association annual national conference in Las Vegas (more about that in a later post). While I was gone, an important event occurred:

The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are just out with their newest report on obesity in the United States, "F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009." According to the report, "in the past year, adult obesity rates grew in 23 states and did not decrease in a single state. The number of obese adults now exceeds 25 percent in nearly two-thirds of states" (p. 3).

The report has, I think, a relatively fair portrayal of the difficulties faced by schools in the current context of food politics. In the face of rising food prices, rising demand for free and reduced meals amidst a recession, and policy pressures to run profitable operations, school foodservice operations are having a difficult time affording to offer nutritious foods.

To illustrate this meteoric rise in obesity in the U.S., I animated the slideshow available from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Watch as the nation gets fatter from 1985 to 2007! Apparently, according to "F as in Fat," there's no end in sight.

Friday, June 19, 2009

First harvest for the kids working on the White House garden

The following story is an audio report of the first harvest in the garden that local Washington, D.C., students are helping with on the south lawn of the White House.

You can see more images at the White House website.

This is the first garden at the White House--a good model for kids and their schools--since the victory garden days under Eleanor Roosevelt.

Much of the reported benefits for the kids remind me of the wonderful program, the Edible Schoolyard, started by Alice Waters.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Does forbidding food make kids want it more?

The above clip comes from the BBC series (also seen on Discovery Health), The Truth About Food. More clips from the series can be found at

This clip presents some interesting questions about whether it will do any good to forbid kids from eating particular foods at school. Does it do any good to forbid sugary snacks, say from vending machines? Does it make a difference that the raisins are still there, really just being delayed not forbidden? Isn't this really just proof that you can get kids to eat--with gusto!--healthy snacks like raisins?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Michael Pollan on School Food Politics

Here's a small clip from the November 28, 2008, Bill Moyer's Journal featuring Michael Pollan (full interview available at In this short clip, he has some wonderful insights about the key role of school food in the overall politics of food policy.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

School Lunch in Springfield

From The Simpsons, Season 20, Episode 18, Originally aired 4/26/2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wall Street Journal on the "Health" Claims of Manufacturers

This jives very well with Marion Nestle's contentions in her wonderful book, Food Politics.