Bettina Elias Siegel is a writer and nationally recognized commentator on issues relating to children and food policy.
A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Siegel practiced intellectual property, advertising and food law in New York City for almost a decade. Now a freelance writer, Siegel’s work has appeared in the New York Times Motherlode, SELF, Parents, Glamour, The Guardian, Civil Eats, the Huffington Post, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Houston Chronicle and other publications.
In early 2010, Siegel launched The Lunch Tray, a widely read blog on children and food. The blog has been recognized by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution as a “Blog of the Month,” by Rachel Ray’s Yum-O! Foundation and was voted a Circle of Moms “Top 25 Foodie Mom” blog. Select Lunch Tray posts also appear regularly on The Huffington Post and Civil Eats.
Since the Lunch Tray’s launch, Siegel has become a respected voice on food policy relating to children, including school food reform. She has appeared on ABC World News Tonight, the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show, Fox News affiliates, and Houston news broadcasts. She has also been featured or quoted in the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, the Associated Press, Texas Monthly, The Dish, the Atlantic Wire, the Houston Chronicle and many other outlets.
Siegel has also been named by the Houston Chronicle as one of Houston’s “41 Most Fascinating People” (2012), by Elizabeth Street as one of the “Top 15 Most Important Moms in the Food Industry” (2014) and by Family Circle as one of the “20 Most Influential Moms of 2105.” (Press links here.)
In 2012, Siegel launched a Change.org petition which quickly garnered over 250,000 signatures and led the USDA to change its policy on “lean, finely textured beef” (aka “pink slime”) in school food ground beef. In 2014, Siegel, along with a fellow food policy advocate, launched a second Change.org petition targeting the use of chicken processed in China in school meals. This petition also went viral, garnering almost 330,000 signatures, and also resulted in a victory.
Siegel has also authored and illustrated a free, rhyming kids’ video about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory,” which has been widely viewed and used by teachers in the U.S. and internationally as part of their nutrition education curricula.
Siegel serves as a member of the Houston ISD Food Services Parent Advisory Committee and chairperson of the food/nutrition subcommittee of Houston ISD’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC). She lives in Houston with her husband and two school-aged children and can be reached on Twitter at @thelunchtray or via email at bettina at thelunchtray dot com.