competitive food

Invoking the Cherished Bake Sale to Undermine the Smart Snacks Rules

by Bettina Elias Siegel on September 11, 2014

Back in November, 2010, only a few months after starting The Lunch Tray, I wrote about running my children’s elementary school Election Day bake sale.  In that post I expressed a little bit of ambivalence about selling sweets to raise money  — ambivalence that would evolve over the next four years into outright activism against junk food in schools  —  but at the […]


When the “Smart Snacks in School” rules went into effect on the first of this month, it was good news for the health of school children. These rules, which were mandated by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, represent the first significant federal effort to regulate “competitive food,” i.e., the foods and drinks sold to kids during the school day through outlets […]


Well, We Saw This Coming

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 13, 2014

Back in February, when I was asked to write a piece for Civil Eats on the state of school food, it became clear to me that some of the hard-won school food gains of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are now in jeopardy.  With reports of decreased student participation in meal programs and trash cans full […]


My colleague Dana Woldow has a new piece in Beyond Chron that’s well worth reading.  In it, she takes issue with a position paper just released by the School Nutrition Association (“SNA”), the leading organization of over 55,000 school food professionals around the country. Woldow tells us that the SNA is seeking to roll back some of the […]


The USDA earned praise this past June when it released its ground-breaking new rules for “competitive” school food – the snacks and beverages offered to students through school stores, snack bars, vending machines and other outlets. But it might surprise readers to know that my adopted home state of Texas, a place hardly known for its progressive policies, is […]


As I told you last week on this blog’s Facebook page, the USDA has released its interim final rules for “competitive” foods and beverages offered on school campuses.  But I didn’t want to share this news here on the blog until I’d taken some time to parse through the new rules so I could share […]


My Own Letter to USDA re: The Competitive School Food Rules

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 9, 2013

Well, nothing like waiting until the last minute. As I’ve been telling you all repeatedly, USDA’s deadline for submitting comments on the proposed competitive school food rules is 11:59 tonight, but I only just finished writing my own letter this morning!   I thought you all might be interested in reading my letter, the text of […]


The Time Is NOW to Tell USDA We Want Junk Food Out of Schools

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 8, 2013

I wanted to remind TLT readers that midnight tomorrow, April 9th, marks the end of USDA’s public comment period on its proposed  “competitive” school food rules. For those needing a refresher, “competitive food” is food that competes with the federally subsidized breakfast and lunch programs.  We’re talking about the snack foods and beverages offered on school […]


After months of delay, the USDA today released its proposed rules governing the nutritional quality of so-called “competitive” foods and beverages offered on school campuses. To refresh everyone’s memory, competitive food and beverages are those offered in competition with the federally subsidized school meal, and are sold via vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, snack bars […]


Schools Ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, But Why Stop There?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 19, 2012

On my Houston ISD school food blog, The Spork Report, I once shared a candid photo of a Houston middle schooler’s “lunch:”  a bag of  Baked Flamin’ Hot Cheetos doused in cheesy nacho sauce:   Both of those items were purchased by the student from one of my district’s cafeteria a la carte lines (to be […]