One of the unexpected benefits of writing this blog is that suddenly I’ve become a one-woman clearinghouse for everybody’s favorite school food website, kid-and-food-related product, healthy kid-food recipe, etc. But why should I be the only one in the know? Today I’m starting a Lunch Tray tradition of periodically posting on a Friday some of the latest stuff I’ve learned about from readers and from my own research.
Invaluable School Lunch Sites
I want to start off with some invaluable resources for anyone interested in kids and food, and especially the issue of school food.
Chef Ann and her colleagues have also created an organization called The Lunch Box which provides solid resources for folks on the ground, including, for example, the actual recipes she uses at her school (scaled for lunch rooms, not home cooks) and a manual of tools and guidelines for farm-to-table groups. Not all of the promised information is yet up on the site but should be soon.
Fed Up with Lunch, the School Lunch Project is another great site in which the intrepid blogger undertakes the unenviable task of eating every school lunch served at one school in 2010, along with photos. But the site isn’t just a stunt – there’s excellent commentary on the school lunch program from the author and from guest bloggers.
Two Angry Moms are – well, two angry moms — one of whom just happens to be an award-winning documentary film maker. Together they made a film (which you can order from the site) chronicling their efforts to improve school lunch in their area. The Angry Moms like to say, “It’s not just a movie, it’s a movement,” and the “movement” side of their work can be found at Better School Food.
There are some practical, hands-on tools at this site from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. It’s worth checking out if you’re a parent trying to bring about change at the local level.
And finally, I just learned about the Healthy Schools Campaign, a non-profit organization that addresses not just food but general issues of environmental health and wellness in schools. They have a blog here.More on Lunch Boxes and Reducing Lunch Waste
Turning to my earlier post about the Planet Box lunch box (“Coolest Lunch Box Ever“), several readers wrote in with information about a similar bento-style lunch box (here). I haven’t compared the two products . . . maybe the Lunch Tray should start a consumer testing division? (Are you listening, manufacturers? Any and all free samples welcome). I also received several links for reusable (and dishwasher safe!) snack and sandwich bags (here and here and here). And I was referred to this site which generally deals with the issue of reducing lunch-related waste.
What to Feed Your Kid
In the near future I (selfishly) want to do a sort of recipe exchange among Lunch Tray readers so that we can all get some new ideas for healthful, kid-approved items to fill lunch boxes and dinner plates. For now, here are three food sites that came across my inbox in the last few weeks:
First, there’s Cooking with My Kid in which a “foodie by day, microwaver by night” sets out to teach her child and herself the art of cooking. Her mission is 365 recipes in 365 days. The photography is gorgeous, the recipes look healthful and appealing and there are tips for parents of picky eaters. My son and I have already scouted out some recipes we plan to make together.
Second, a reader sent in a site which apparently includes recipes that work well in the bento-style lunch boxes discussed above. On the home page it looks like it’s all about baby/toddler food, but if you click on the “recipes” tab you can find big kid foods as well.
And finally, for any parents of a child who requires a gluten-free diet, a friend in NYC referred me to this interesting blog, created by a fellow parent at her school.
Please keep sending me your favorite sites to include in the next Lunch Tray Friday Buffet. Have a great weekend, everyone!