Energy Drink Ads Reach Young Kids, Even As Evidence of Dangers Mount

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 21, 2014

Two very different studies crossed my desk this week and, when read together, they point to a disturbing problem. Earlier in the week, many media outlets reported on a new study in Pediatrics which adds to the growing evidence that energy drinks pose a serious danger to young children.  Looking at data from a three-year period, researchers found that of […]


Our Open Letter to Congress re: Chinese-Processed Chicken

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 19, 2014

For those of you following this issue, I wanted to let you know that Nancy Huehnergarth and I now have an open letter to Congress in The Hill, a widely read publication on Capitol Hill.  The text of that letter may be found here, and it asks Congress to include language in any 2015 appropriations […]


Book Review and Giveaway: The 52 New Foods Challenge

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 17, 2014

If we could somehow channel all of the collective thought, time and energy parents devote to getting kids to try new fruits and vegetables, I think we could solve most of the world’s problems in short order.  Few feeding issues cause as much angst, and the advice we receive from the experts couldn’t be more contradictory. […]


The Challenges and Rewards of Feeding Teens

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 14, 2014

The other night I was trying to use up some vegetables in the crisper drawer, so I added some spinach to my Italian wedding soup and served it with roasted Brussels sprouts, sautéd mushrooms and grilled cheese sandwiches made with sliced pears and a pretty “stinky” cheese, taleggio.  We sat down at the dinner table and, while not everyone ate […]

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In August, 2013, the USDA made the controversial announcement that it will allow four Chinese facilities to process poultry raised in the U.S., Canada or Chile and then export that cooked chicken back to the United States.  This development was deeply troubling to many advocates due to China’s terrible food safety record and the fact that (by the admission of one of its own officials) China’s food […]


What the Midterm Elections Mean for School Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 6, 2014

Whether you voted red, blue or purple in this week’s midterm elections, you and your viewpoints are always welcome on The Lunch Tray. But there are times when political partisanship directly impacts the kid-and-food issues I cover and, unfortunately, that’s the case for school food reform.  As the New York Times reported in a recent Sunday Magazine […]


District Ditches Seven Problematic School Food Ingredients (But Who Pays for It?)

November 4, 2014

A school district in Minnesota has made news for removing seven problematic ingredients from its school food: artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, artificial preservatives, trans fats/hydrogenated oils, antibiotics and hormones in meats, and bleached flour. As a result, kids there are now eating entrees like grass-fed beef hot dogs on whole grain rolls, with the ultimate goal of […]

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In the Worry Over Halloween Candy, Are We Missing the Bigger Sugar Picture?

October 31, 2014

This Halloween is a bittersweet one for me and Mr. TLT:  for the first time, neither of our kids are going trick-or-treating!  Our 14-year-old daughter will be out of town but doesn’t seem especially bothered that she’ll miss the ritual, and our son, aged twelve, declared he was “over it” and that he’d rather pass out candy at our front door. […]

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Celebrating Food Day 2014 with a Kid-Run Farmers Market

October 28, 2014

I’ve written many times on this blog about Recipe for Success, an innovative Houston-based, “seed-to-plate” educational program that brings gardens and cooking literacy to schools.  I used to be a classroom volunteer for the organization and it was inspiring to see kids tentatively try — and then enthusiastically gobble up — the fresh produce they’d grown themselves. Today I wanted to […]

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A School Nutrition Director Gives Me a Wake-Up Call

October 23, 2014

Yesterday I attended a Houston ISD Nutrition Services Parent Advisory Committee meeting, something I’ve done almost every month during the school year for the last four and a half years.  And while I sat through the various presentations, I reflected on how much my feelings about school food professionals have changed since I walked into my first PAC […]

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