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What parents should know about school lunch

When a Chicago-area school employee decided to eat school lunch every day for a year and blog about it, she discovered a world unknown by most adults: a world of mystery meat patties, plastic-wrapped sandwiches, and kids who subsist on chocolate milk and the juice from fruit cups.


This is allegedly pasta.

What are your kids actually eating at school? Here’s what blogger Mrs. Q and food expert Marion Nestle say you should know about what really goes down in the cafeteria:

  • Don’t rely on the written menu alone. What you consider “meatloaf” is probably something very different from the processed meat slab your kids get served at school. Even something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can take a bizarre turn, Mrs. Q discovered.
  • Don’t blame the lunch ladies! Those poor souls in hairnets are doing the best they can with very limited resources.
  • Go in person and check it out. “The most important thing is for parents to go look,” says Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University and author of “What To Eat.” “Some school foods are terrific (people who care). Some not.”

Have you ever been shocked – or pleasantly surprised – by the cafeteria lunches at your child’s school? If you pack lunches, what do you pack? And what do you think we as parents should do to improve school lunches? Have your say in the comments!