Happy 2015, TLT’ers!
I think I forgot to mention here that I was taking a hiatus from blogging, but if you happened to notice my three weeks of silence on TLT, you probably figured that out.
My blogging break started in late December, when I had the pleasure of attending (and speaking at) a conference in Washington, DC arranged by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Pew Charitable Trusts. It was a gathering of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity “Council of States,” which meant I had the chance to meet and talk with leading food policy advocates from all over the country. For someone who usually does this sort of work alone at her kitchen table, it was an incredibly stimulating and educational two days, so huge thanks to CSPI and the Pew Charitable Trusts for inviting me to attend!
And now here’s a round-up of some of the kid/food news you may have missed while you were relaxing and celebrating with your families:
More On Home-Packed vs. Cafeteria Lunches
Another study has found that home-packed lunches are, statistically speaking, nutritionally subpar as compared to cafeteria lunches. I addressed another study’s similar findings back in July and my take is this: school meals may well be superior to home packed lunches from a “nutritionism” standpoint, in that every nutrient in school meals is analyzed and accounted for. But a myopic focus on nutrients can still result in a very highly processed, chemical-filled meal that many parents choose to avoid. That said, for parents with few resources or little nutrition education, school lunch is no doubt vastly superior to home packed lunches, if a lunch can even be packed at all. That’s why I so strongly support the National School Lunch Program and will continue to work hard to defend the new, healthier school meal standards.
Which leads us to….
Republican Congress Gearing Up to Weaken School Nutrition Standards
We’ve certainly known this was coming, but Helena Bottemiller Evich of Politico has written an informative preview of how the new, Republican-controlled Congress is planning on rolling back several key Obama administration food policy initiatives, including improvements to school food. This is a serious challenge for school food advocates, and we’ll be talking more about it in the weeks and months ahead.
Maybe Family Dinner Isn’t So Endangered After All
Or so says the Washington Post.
Getting Junk Food Out of Classroom Parties
Is Fast Food Adversely Affecting Children’s Brains?
A study discussed in the Washington Post (and many other news outlets) found an inverse correlation between children’s fast food consumption and their test scores, even when factors like socioeconomic status were ruled out. What was most astonishing to me was this troubling 2008 statistic cited in the WashPo story: “Nearly a third of American kids between the ages of 2 and 11 — and nearly half of those aged 12 to 19 — eat or drink something from a fast food restaurant each day.”
Does the Timing of Recess Reduce School Food Waste?
It’s long been believed that allowing kids to take recess before lunch leads to greater fruit and vegetable consumption and less food waste, but a new study reported on by Reuters says otherwise.
Coming Soon: The Lunch Tray’s Makeover!
Finally, before the month is out I’ll be unveiling an entirely new look for The Lunch Tray. I’ve been working on the design with the super-talented Rita Barry, aka Blog Genie, and while I might be a tad biased, I think it’s just so pretty. In connection with the blog’s relaunch I’ve also created lots of helpful new resources which I can’t wait to share with you. Stay tuned.
Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 9,200 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page, join over 5,200 TLT followers on Twitter, or get your “Lunch” delivered right to your email inbox by subscribing here. And be sure to check out my free video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”