About Bettina

NEWPHOTOcroppedBettina Elias Siegel is a former lawyer, freelance writer and blogger.

A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Siegel practiced intellectual property and advertising law in New York City for almost a decade.  Her experience included handling litigation and corporate transactions at a mega-firm (Skadden, Arps), becoming Spiderman’s lawyer (Marvel Comics), and reviewing the marketing and advertising of a multinational consumer products and food conglomerate (Unilever U.S.)

A few years after leaving the legal profession to stay home with her first child, Siegel joined a writing workshop for stay-at-home moms and unexpectedly found herself on a new career path.  Her writing has since appeared in outlets such as the New York Times Motherlode, SELFParentsGlamourThe Guardian, the Huffington Post, the American Bar Association’s Litigation magazine, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Examiner and Houston Family magazine.

In early 2010, she launched The Lunch Tray, a widely read and well respected blog covering “kids and food, in school and out,” with a particular emphasis on food policy and school food reform.  Selected Lunch Tray posts also appear regularly on Civil Eats and The Huffington Post.

Since the Lunch Tray’s launch, Siegel has appeared on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, the Today ShowNBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, Anderson, various Fox News affiliates, and on many local Houston news and radio broadcasts.  She has also been quoted or featured in numerous print and online publications including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, The New York Daily News,  the Guardian, Yahoo Shine!, The Dish, Atlantic Wire,  and the Houston Chronicle.  In 2012, the Houston Chronicle named Siegel one of Houston’s “41 Most Fascinating People.”  (Links here.)

Siegel is also actively involved in school food reform, serving on the Houston ISD Food Services Parent Advisory Committee and as chairperson of the food/nutrition subcommittee of HISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC).  In 2012, she launched a Change.org petition which quickly garnered over a quarter of a million signatures and led the USDA to change its policy with respect to the use of “lean, finely textured beef” (aka “pink slime”) in school food ground beef.  In 2014, she launched a second petition (along with two co-petitioners) regarding the use of Chinese-processed poultry in school meals. That campaign is ongoing; the petition has garnered over 325,000 signatures to date.

Siegel has authored and illustrated a free, rhyming kids’ video about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory,” which has been viewed over 18,000 times to date and has been used by teachers as part of their nutrition education curricula. 

Siegel lives in Houston with her husband and two children and can be reached on Twitter at @thelunchtray or via email at bettina at thelunchtray dot com.