fed up with school lunches? you’re not alone

Sarah L. pointed me to Fed Up With Lunch, a website by a teacher gone undercover (with the Bondsian pseudonym “Mrs. Q”) to photograph, eat, and discuss the hot lunches served at her school each day. The results are fascinating, discouraging, and sometimes disgusting. But there’s hope, too, especially with growing interest in her project and guest posts on a variety of lunches from across the country and globe, good and bad, and how we can make them better. Recommended reading! — Mary T.

Related: What do your kids each for lunch?

From our partners

WOW. I’ve only had a few minutes to check that blog out, and I can tell I’m going back to read it all. It’s criminal what we as a society feed our children. I’m a parent of a preschooler, so we don’t have to contend with school lunch — yet. I’m trying to educate myself so I can advocate when the time comes. And I’m not perfect — my son eats pb&j A LOT, he’ll eat any kind of fruit (fresh or dried) but only last night did he eat his first vegetable voluntarily (spinach leaves). But I’m trying to make smart choices for us, and open our eating horizons even if only a little. I’d like schools to do the same thing! And I’d like them to get started on it yesterday!

Yeah, Sarah and I were emailing about what lunches were like when we were kids. I don’t remember loving them (chili mac, ugh) but I do remember they were pretty much all made from scratch by the legions of lunch ladies. I was in a private school though, which had about 30 kids total per grade, so it may have been easier to handle, though it wasn’t a very rich school.


I was pretty impressed by my high school’s lunch menu for my first two years, which had lots of veggie and salads on offer, as well as fairly balanced hot main dishes.

Then, my junior year, the main part of the cafeteria was shut down and replaced by a (more expensive) hamburger & ice cream bar.

The drink were limited to milk, soft drinks and milkshakes. Essentially, most people who ate lunch in the cafeteria after that ate a hamburger, fries, and some sugary drink every day. Plus ice cream for dessert.

There was a bowl of bruised apples and bananas by the cash out, in a very mild nod to a healthy diet. And this was 25+ years ago, so it’s not a new problem, by any means.


I forgot to add, the school my children attend (a public school) does not even have a cafeteria. For the first several years they attended, there was no school-provided lunches at all, so we’d pack a fairly healthy lunch for them.

In the past three years, parents banded together and found a company that provides healthy, organic lunches, with a heavy emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy.

Although not as cheap as a school lunch of yore, they are healthy and well-prepared and pretty affordable for what is involved.

Parents order a month of lunches directly from the food company and pre-pay for them ($6 per lunch, generally). The company sends a truck every day to set up the lunch table, checks off each student as they pick up their lunch, and microwaves the meals before handing them over (if it’s a hot meal).

It’s a system that works pretty well, for those who can afford more expensive lunches.

However, there is a hitch. You would not believe how much many of the kids complain about the healthy food not being salty or sugary enough!

Many of the older kids will simply pick up and not eat the meal their parents have paid for, and go off campus to a nearby 7-Eleven to buy gross junk food.

You can lead these little horses to water, but you may not be able to prevent them from buying a Big Gulp. I can only hope that someday what we have tried to teach our kids about eating balanced meals will kick back in, since at nearly 18 years old, I have very little control over their eating habits away from home.


I cannot believe that they are allowed to even feed us that stuff! There is absolutely NOTHING healthy at my school. sure they have salads and sub sandwiches, but they don’t taste fresh at all. (FYI: WATCH FOOD INC. its the best!). The salads look fake. So, what i usually get is orange juice, string cheese and 2 crackers, and chips. Everything else there is fried.
Why isn’t there change in this? I hope there will be soon. because i don’t have time to make my lunch everyday. Well, i’m leaving off to college this year so i’m happy that i will have more options for food but sad for the younger generation.

that picture up there with the school lunch actually looks a lot better than anything you would see at my school.
p.s. they should provide organic food.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » teachers: win a grant to kick-start healthier eating at school

[…] posted before about the sometimes dire state of school lunches, so this contest caught our eye: The […]