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Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
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Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Remember how simple school lunches used to be? You'd have something from every major food group, run around the playground for a while, and you looked and felt fine. But today it's not so simple. Schools are actually feeding the American crisis of childhood obesity and malnutrition. Most cafeterias serve a veritable buffet of processed, fried, and sugary foods, and althoug ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by William Morrow
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Mara YA Mood Reader
Jan 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2020
More a nonfiction novel than recipe/lunch ideas but I enjoyed reading the history of the school lunch program which actually began in the 1700s.

I’m unhappy with today’s school lunches in the US. At my children’s elementary school they serve pizza on Monday and Friday and a hamburger, breaded chicken burger or corn dog/hot dog the rest of the week. Yes there are also a healthier option available each day (tuna salad box, turkey sandwich, veggie wrap) but of course the kids are going to pick the
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-issues, cooking
I've been following Chef Ann via her informative blog and her weekly podcast and think she is doing some very important work in regards to waking up the country about children's dietary habits and was thrilled when I received the ARC in the mail.

I became interested in the subject when my 2nd grade daughter began developing migraines that made her so ill she'd turn as pale as a ghost, get nauseous, and be unable to do much of anything but take a nap in a dark room until it passed. They were so ba
Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Yes, this is a book about children's lunches, and we have no children. But I am interested in childhood nutrition, and I wanted to check out the "dozens of kid-friendly recipes" advertised by the cover. Well, they are also adult-friendly, as we have found. Cooper and Holmes spend a bit of time describing some of the horrid things that are going on in American school cafeterias, tell you how you can help change that, and end the book with easy, healthy recipes for packed school lunches and home m ...more
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I took this home because I thought it might give me some healthy, easy lunch ideas. Instead it served, in a round about way, to make me realize again that educating our children is more than just school lessons - everything and every part of life is teaching them lessons they'll carry with them for the rest of their lives. Including how and what they eat and the attitude they have towards food.

And thinking abut that led me to thinking about how I would hope to bring children up to see food as a
Breanna Weston
Aug 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book is trying to encourage people to change the school lunch programs, by showing how some schools have changed. However, it seems to ignore the types of difficulty in getting these changes to occur, and how they can be overcome. It seems obvious that school lunches suck and that there are some innovative programs out there, but knowing and handling the adversity of the change would seem more helpful. Also, the lack of citations is disturbing. Statistics are thrown around and there is no w ...more
May 28, 2007 rated it really liked it
horrifying and exciting at the same time. so far excellent.
the turkey meatloaf recipe is outstanding - looking forward to trying other recipes.

Update - just re-read this. After spending the past 4 months working lunch at my younger child's preschool it is even more clear to me how important this issue is. What most parents appear to consider a healthy lunch is just ... not. And that's not even touching the school cafeteria issue. This book deals with more than just lunch - it offers comprehensi
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
If you are interested in organic food and/or in cooking, you should read this book. It's a chronicle of one woman's fight to change the school lunch system at a school in California. When you read about what the public school systems feed children, you will freak out. It's pretty sad. I also saw this woman speak at a book reading in D.C. and I just got a good feeling about her in general. ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it liked it
The recipes looked good but just weren't my style of cooking - a little to high maintenance for me. The book gave depressing information about our school lunch program and lots of information on how to change it. Unfortunatelyu, I have enough energy to pack my own kids lunch and that's about it. ...more
Susan Bazzett-Griffith
This book is exactly what the summary indicates- the book is roughly divided into three sections- overall info on health and dietary trends in U.S. children (depressing facts galore), then there's the history of the US school lunch programs, info on how and why they first came about in the U.S. (to combat hunger and malnutrition), and how the nation's diet and health problems have changed in the many decades since its inception, making the program now part of a problem as much as it is part of a ...more
Jill Urie
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This was pretty dry. A lot of good information. (Don't start babies foray into the world of real food with highly processed/super bland rice cereal; get the kids involved as much as possible; variety!!! Etc. So yeah, informative but dry as toast, whole grain toast. ...more
Susannah Skyer Gupta
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
This book was not quite what I'd thought it would be. I was hoping for an idea/recipe book full of clever ways to boost the nutrition in kids' lunches perhaps with some guidelines specific to rapidly growing middle schoolers, vegetarians, all sorts of different groups. Maybe some reviews of convenience foods that revealed some of them weren't toxic, maybe some lunch packaging ideas I hadn't thought of yet. While the authors do tout the Laptop Lunch system (which, although pricey seems very cute, ...more
Erin Price
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was hoping for not only recipes, which there were plenty of, but some suggestions of balanced meals such as the one pictured on the cover. This is something that I find difficult to manage for myself (for any meal, not just lunch!), so I feel that I have little hope of it for my daughter. The information about the nutrition of school lunches was terrifying (and don't I remember surviving on diet Cokes and Swiss cake rolls for lunch in high school, with maybe some fries), but we do seem to be h ...more
For people who have read books by authors such as Bill McKibben, Barbara Kingsolver, or Michael Pollan, this book doesn't provide much in the way of new information, but the focus on school lunches was valuable. I was surprised to learn that the federal nutrition standards for school lunches are so low and are not really carried out or checked up on. The authors make an excellent point that trying to find the cheapest food out there does not result in serving our nation's children healthy, nutri ...more
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
i have not yet finished this book, but so far, it's ok. i know about nutrition and i know about the terrible state of public school lunches and so far i feel two things 1) will i be able to raise eaters as varied as myself? 2) what are we doing about ALL the children in this nation who don't have the opportunity to attain an excellent lunch (thank you WK for the liberties with your words), but really! there are places in the bay that do this, but it makes an educator feel depressed about the iss ...more
Kristen MacGregor
Nov 06, 2008 rated it liked it
This book was not as good as the other kids' lunch book I recently read. It didn't seem to have a lot of advice- more just recipes with ingredients I don't use [like tofu]. I don't think that we need to eat vegan in order to have a healthy lifestyle. There were a few good tips, but most of the book was spent explaining things that the authors did to improve schools, families, etc.- there isn't a lot of advice that the reader could take home with them because the situations are so specific and ma ...more
Sep 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
This book is roughly divided into 3 parts: the case for changing our kids' lunches, the success stories of districts/schools that have started to implement change, and recipes. I highly recommend reading the first section - the rationale for change and the various facts/figures on nutrition throughout the book are humbling. If you are willing to fight the fight and get involved, section 2 is for you. Since I make my kids' lunches each day, I skimmed that section and will move on to the recipes! ...more
Oct 28, 2008 rated it liked it
This had great information and I loved hearing about the schools that have incorporated better school lunch programs. There's some cool stuff out there. I wish I was the kind of person that could make something happen here, but at least it makes me want to be involved in something somehow.

The authors were smart and put a bunch of recipes in the last part, so I feel like in order to truly get the most of out this I would need to buy it....tricky eh?
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I thought this was just going to be a book about lunch recipes or something.
I was suprised, however, to see that it is much more.
It goes into the history of the school lunch programs and tells about several schools and districts that have reformed their school lunch programs into truely healthy learning environments.
I wish that all school lunch programs would be so healthy and wonderful.
The book also has some yummy recipes that I want to try out.
I checked this out of the library because even though I don't have kids I am a nutrition and food policy book. This book looks at the history of school lunches, the basics of good childhood nutrition, recipes and ideas for and example of changes to make. Interesting read and although the book was published in 2006 the info is still pertinent and a bit disheartening to see how little has changed across America. ...more
Apr 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Pretty quick read. interesting history of school lunches. Some interesting recipes. not exactly what I was looking for, but informative

100s of studies validate that food dyes and additives are a factor in attention and behavior disorders and can increase the incidence of ADHD. In one of these studies, 73% of children on a diet free from chemicals and dyes and artificial sweeteners showed a reduction in hyperactivity and an increase in attention.
John Beeler
Nov 17, 2007 rated it liked it
Tries to be too many things. Starts as a critique of the modern, public school lunchroom. Ends as a recipe book. Somewhere in between are suggestions for raising healthy kids that have to frequent a school cafeteria.

Pretty basic stuff here for anyone that is already trying to shop local and organic. Recipes looked delicious though.
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book, emphasizing the importance of feeding our children well and teaching them about wellness - good locally-produced food, active lifestyles, and home cooking. The recipes look great - I know I will try some, but some of them look way too time-consuming!

I will probably borrow this one from the library again, if for no other reason, to check out more recipes.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
If only everyone had equal opportunity to healthy food. I rarely saw my school kids eat fruits and vegetables mainly because they were on free lunch. When they packed a lunch for field trips it was solid processed foods. Fresh food is just too expensive for many. How can we honestly expect these kids to perform as well as kids who have actual balanced diets?
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I liked this book. I am going to buy a copy for myself sine I checked this one out of library. I enjoyed the recipes in the back.

I expected something different from this, but still enjoyed the way they told us about schools that have transformed their lunch rooms by making them more healthy, vibrant and liked by students at their school.
Feb 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars This book had to stretch to fill so many pages. The information it contained was nothing that people with a basic working knowledge of nutrition wouldn't already know. The recipes were not the least bit interesting to me, so I'm assuming the same would go for my children. I think the topic is so very important and I appreciate that the authors are bringing it to light. ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-read
Couldn't read. So poorly researched.

For example, they talked about how crowded and crazy lunchrooms are and how the NYC teachers' union had just won the right to not work in the lunchroom, to avoid the craziness. And I'm like, no, they want to not work in the lunchroom so that they actually get a lunchbreak.
Mar 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I more or less skimmed this book as I no longer have children at home. It's pretty hard-core although the recipes do include things that kids will like and they aren't completely anti-fat, etc. Interesting tales of revamping school lunchrooms. ...more
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book- more than I thought it would. A fantastic argument on the importance of helping children create a good relationship with food in the home as well as in the educational system, as well as the importance of what we feed our kids.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it
There are some really tasty recipes in there, plus some great tips on how to introduce more wholesome choices into your diet. Of course, I still have to have Jack in the Box tacos now and then, don't ask me why. They are just so-o good! ...more
Aug 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
Rarely do I encounter a book whose central premise I basically agree with that irritates me as much as this one did. The support of facts is inconsistent with footnotes in some places but no support for other sweeping assertions like "40% of cancer can be prevented by diet". ...more
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