Chef Ann Cooper

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 […]


Earlier this year I wrote a piece for Civil Eats called “State of the Tray” in which I explained how some of the key gains of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) may be rolled back when the Child Nutrition Reauthorization comes before Congress in 2015. One of the most contentious issues under consideration is the current mandate that […]


Your Monday Kids and Food News Round-Up

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 16, 2013

As is often the case, sometimes there’s so much news out there that I have to share it all in one post!  Here goes: Michelle Obama Muddies the Waters The latest campaign from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which encourages Americans to drink more water, is being met with howls by food policy critics.  With […]


In late February, I alerted you to an FDA citizen petition which would allow the dairy industry to add non-nutritive sweeteners (such as aspartame) to milk and 17 other dairy products without the prominent front-label “nutrient content claims” currently required by FDA regulations — phrases like “reduced sugar” or “reduced calorie.”  I explained to you in detail […]


Pink Slime: More On Why USDA’s “Solution” Needs Work

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 16, 2012

I was traveling to all day yesterday for a media appearance (more on that when I’m allowed to share), which was extremely frustrating because all I wanted to be doing was speaking with school food sources to get their reaction to USDA’s announcement about school choice and pink slime. Fortunately, though, my online colleague and […]


A Little More Thanksgiving Gratitude . . .

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 22, 2011

Following the lead of other bloggers and writers in the past few days, I thought I’d share my list of some people (and organizations) for whom I’m truly thankful  . . . . People Who Inspire and Challenge Me to Be a Better Blogger Janet Poppendieck, author of the excellent Free for All: Fixing School […]


School Food Reform: Enter the Lobbyists

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 2, 2011

The New York Times has an excellent article today describing the stiff opposition of the food industry (along with some Congressional representatives of potato-producing states) against current attempts to improve school food nutrition standards.  According to the report, over $5.6 million has been spent to date by lobbyists opposing the proposed school food rules to be […]


Some Thoughts from a Lunch “Lady” Named Ryan

by Bettina Elias Siegel on August 5, 2011

Chef Ann Cooper’s The Lunch Box organization recently shared with me a post from their blog and offered to let me repost it here.  It’s written by Ryan Andrews, a registered dietitian who, according to The Lunch Box, was impressed with the daily need to consult his adult clients on healthy eating habits they should have […]


Last week we talked about how hard it might be for some school districts to follow the new federal mandate to provide free drinking water to students during meal times (“Getting Water Into School Cafeterias:  Not As Easy As It Sounds“).  If you haven’t read the comments on that post, I encourage you to do […]


USA Today Offers Two Views on Improving School Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 12, 2011

USA Today has an op-ed this morning entitled “Want Fries With That?  Not  at These Schools.”  In it, the newspaper is critical of those, like the School Nutrition Association (which represents school food directors), who worry that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is underfunded and that schools will not be able to meet […]