Janet Poppendieck

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 […]

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Study: Home-Packed Lunches Are Nutritionally Subpar

by Bettina Elias Siegel on July 29, 2014

A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (subscription only) finds that home-packed lunches are nutritionally lacking, as compared to school food. As summarized by Reuters, the study’s researchers peered into the lunch boxes of 626 third and fourth graders from 12 public elementary schools in Eastern Massachusetts, and found that only 34% […]


Dana Woldow on The Tools of School Food Advocacy

by Bettina Elias Siegel on July 18, 2012

Sorry to have been AWOL these past few days – this blogger has been seriously under the weather!   But I’m back to work today and wanted to share with you another solid article from Dana Woldow, the school food reformer in San Francisco USD.  In this piece she asks, “What Is a School Food […]


School Food News, International Edition

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 16, 2012

Happy Monday!  I thought I’d kick off the week with a few school food stories from around the world: England The Southwark district of Central London recently instituted free school lunch for all children, regardless of income level, as a means of reducing stigma in the lunch room.  But Southwark has come under fire by some critics, who […]


Two Good Articles on Social Stigma in the Lunch Room

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 10, 2012

While the blog was devoted exclusively to the LFTB issue, San Francisco school food reformer Dana Woldow (creator of the immensely useful school food reform how-to site, PEACHSF.org) wrote two important articles in Beyond Chron about an issue often discussed here on TLT:  social stigma in the school cafeteria. As I first wrote in “A La Carte […]


A New Book From School Food Expert Kate Adamick: “Lunch Money”

by Bettina Elias Siegel on February 29, 2012

Back in December I wrote an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle urging my school district to consider moving from the use of a food service management company (Aramark) to operating its own school food program.  In the piece I also mentioned a forthcoming book from school food expert Kate Adamick which argues that fresher, scratch-cooked school […]

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TLT Documentary Film Review: “Lunch”

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 2, 2011

One of the fun things about writing this blog is sometimes getting to review books and films relating to kids and food.  Over the summer, Avis Richards of the Birds Nest Foundation was kind enough to send me a screener DVD of the foundation’s 2010 film entitled, simply enough, Lunch.   Here’s a preview: Lunch is […]


One of the events that led to my starting The Lunch Tray was picking up a copy of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America.  It’s a comprehensive analysis of all that’s wrong with today’s school food program (and some innovative ideas on how to fix it) and I found reading it to be an […]

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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 […]


For a long time I’ve wanted to write on TLT about School Food FOCUS (Food Options for Children in Urban Schools), a national collaborative that brings together the thirty largest school districts in the country to improve school food.  I’d first read about FOCUS in Janet Poppendieck’s Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, and later […]