A School Nutrition Director Gives Me a Wake-Up Call

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 23, 2014

Yesterday I attended a Houston ISD Nutrition Services Parent Advisory Committee meeting, something I’ve done almost every month during the school year for the last four and a half years.  And while I sat through the various presentations, I reflected on how much my feelings about school food professionals have changed since I walked into my first PAC […]


Houston ISD to Provide Universal (Free) Meals at 166 Schools

by Bettina Elias Siegel on August 18, 2014

I’m back from summer vacation in time to share some nice news:  Houston ISD, the seventh largest district in the country, has announced that it’s taking advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) to provide universal (free) school breakfast and lunch to every student at 166 of its schools, regardless of economic status, and without the need for meal applications or other paperwork.  These […]

{ 1 comment }

“Copycat” Junk Food in Schools – Why Is Anyone Surprised?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on July 21, 2014

I couldn’t make it to last week’s School Nutrition Association (SNA) annual national conference (ANC) in Boston, but I closely followed reports coming out of the convention via Twitter and other social media. And one common refrain from some food advocates and reporters in attendance was surprise and concern over the glut of junk food promoted by some food manufacturers at […]


Houston ISD Offering Meatless Entrees on Mondays

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 30, 2014

With all the school food developments happening on the federal level these days, I’m a bit late in reporting some nice news from my own backyard. Houston ISD, the largest school district in Texas and the seventh largest in the nation, recently announced its new “Lean and Green” initiative: offering its students meatless school meal entrees […]


Starting in 2014-15, two significant changes will be coming to school cafeterias.  First, under the new “Smart Snacks in School” rules, we should see a big improvement in the nutritional content of snack foods and beverages sold to students from outlets like vending machines, fundraising tables and “a la carte” snack bar lines.  Another, less-talked-about change […]


Two days ago, I told you about proposed USDA rules, promoted by the First Lady and released on the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move! initiative, which would curb the marketing of foods and beverages on school campuses.  Specifically, if adopted, the new rules would restrict on-campus advertising during the school day to foods and beverages meeting the […]


Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama and the USDA made headlines by announcing a proposal to ban the marketing of junk food and sugary beverages on school campuses.  Timed to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Ms. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, the proposal would restrict on-campus advertising to only those products meeting the relatively stringent nutritional requirements […]


The Spork Report: A Food Day Panel on School Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 17, 2012

For TLT’ers in the Houston area, please check out my post on today’s Spork Report with details of an exciting line-up of Food Day events tomorrow night, including a panel discussion (in which I’m participating) on school food. Hope to see some of you there!   Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The […]


School Kitchen or Janitor’s Closet? You Decide.

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 1, 2012

Back in July, 2010, I was about two months into writing The Lunch Tray and had been involved in school food reform activities here in Houston for about five months. Due to the impending passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, school food reform was frequently in the national news.  In particular, there […]


Spork Report: A Nice School Food Story from My District

by Bettina Elias Siegel on January 11, 2012

After a long holiday break I’ve resumed posting on The Spork Report, my Houston ISD school food blog which also appears on the Houston Chronicle‘s chron.com site. Today I share a story about a dedicated elementary school principal who eats the school lunch with his students everyday and who, when hearing complaints about a particular entree, […]