junk food

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 […]


“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 […]


Kids, Summer Camp and Junk Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on July 16, 2014

If you’ve been a Lunch Tray reader for a while, you might remember this “Hall of Shame” post that called out a summer day camp for actually requiring campers to bring four liters of soda and two dozen cookies per week. That was a pretty extreme example of a camp doing a poor job of feeding kids, but it certainly […]


Moms, “Food Fears” and the Power of the Internet

by Bettina Elias Siegel on July 8, 2014

Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, has published a new study in the journal Food Quality and Preference entitled “Ingredient-Based Food Fears and Avoidance: Antecedents and Antidotes.”  This study, co-authored by Aner Tal and Adam Brumberg, seeks to determine why people – mothers in particular – develop so-called “food fears” about […]


Earlier this month, a school district in suburban Chicago made news when it announced its plan to opt out of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), forgoing $900,000 a year in federal funds. David Schuler, superintendent of Township High School District 214, made a sympathetic case for the district’s decision, telling public radio’s Here and […]


Speaking Truth to Ronald

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 23, 2014

I’ve just come back from Oak Brook, Illinois where yesterday I attended the annual McDonald’s shareholders’ meeting.  I was hoping for a chance to speak face-to-face with CEO Don Thompson about the company’s aggressive marketing to children but, as you’ll read below, the corporation made that rather hard to do. I went to Oak Brook as part of a […]


Last Day to Tell USDA You Support Strong Wellness Policies!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 28, 2014

Back in February, USDA released proposed rules for district wellness policies which, if implemented, will hold schools and districts far more accountable in improving their campus health environments.  Among other advances, the new rules ask districts to set specific wellness goals (versus the vague, purely aspirational statements contained in most policies around the country right now) […]

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Helpful New “White Paper” on Food Rewards in the Classroom

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 22, 2014

M & M’s doled out for every correct math answer in second grade. . .   Jumbo boxes of Milk Duds in the third grade good behavior “treasure box” . . . .  A “Junk Food Party” to honor the winning team in an academic contest . . . . 12 oz. cans of Coke and full-sized bags of gummi […]


Giving Kids Junk Food “Treat Bags” for Standardized Testing?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 7, 2014

This morning I belatedly opened an email from my son’s middle school, which last week asked parents to donate items for “treat bags” for the 6th graders taking our district’s standardized tests. Here’s what volunteers were asked to bring:  Goldfish, Blow Pops, peppermint candies, Hershey’s kisses, bite-size Snickers, 100-calorie packs of cookies, Starburst candies, clementines […]


Junk Food Marketing at Your Child’s School? Take a Picture!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on March 27, 2014

A few weeks ago I told you about the newly released, proposed USDA rules which would use district wellness policies as a vehicle to curb junk food and beverage marketing on school campuses.   (At first I told you I wasn’t so happy with using wellness policies as a means to that laudable end, but […]