Last year, inspired by my friend Sally Kuzemchak at Real Mom Nutrition, I used Google Analytics to find and share my top 10 posts of 2015. As a writer, it was really interesting to see which posts had resonated most with all of you – not always the ones I expected!
So let’s do it again, shall we?
In reverse order, the Lunch Tray’s 10 Most-Read Posts of 2016 were . . . [drumroll, please] . . .
During the presidential primary season, then-candidate Chris Christie trashed Michelle Obama’s support of healthier school meals, telling audiences at his campaign rallies that she had “no business” meddling in kids’ school lunches. But back in 2011 – you know, when he wasn’t seeking the Republican nomination – he recalled his own struggles with obesity and expressly supported the First Lady’s efforts. Doh!
In this post from last January, I told you how Dr. Sean Lucan published an open letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association describing his efforts to get junk food out of his child’s school. While I of course supported Lucan’s goal, I had some qualms about how he was tackling the problem. This post generated a ton of discussion in the comments section, including a thoughtful reply from Lucan himself.
I guess the headline of that post says it all. House Republicans made clear they wanted no part of the bipartisan school food compromise brokered in the Senate Agriculture Committee, instead offering up their own Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) bill, one that would gut many key provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA). As of now, these issues remain unresolved in Congress (see #3 below.)
Back in August, the American Heart Association issued its first guidelines on exactly how much added sugar is too much for our kids. I applauded that move, but I also worried that by creating a uniform standard for such a wide age range (kids aged 2 to 18), the AHA may have set such a strict goal for older kids, some parents will just throw up their hands in defeat.
I just love that this post made my top 10! Nothing makes me happier than telling you about the inspiring people I get to “meet” through this blog and social media, and Alli Sosna is nothing if not inspiring: she teaches economically disadvantaged students how to cook wholesome, nutritious meals for four people on just $3.50 — the same amount families receive under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Here I told you about the USDA’s “finishing touches” on four sets of school nutrition rules promulgated under the HHFKA, including a provision that for the first time requires districts to set a nutritional standard for classroom food. (I later had a piece on that development in the New York Times, too.)
Yup, another Republican presidential hopeful bashing healthier school food. Not, apparently, a winning strategy. (See #10)
Last month, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts announced that no agreement could be reached in the last Congressional session on the pending CNR. And after the results of the presidential election, House Republicans reportedly feel even more emboldened to push their anti-school food reform agenda in the days ahead. (See #8)
Even at the time, and certainly as I was compiling this list, I was surprised by the outpouring of interest in this September post. In it, I explained why I was stepping down from a Houston ISD school food committee on which I’d served for six years. My reasons were twofold: my kids are no longer in public school, so I felt my service on the committee was no longer appropriate (and might actually prevent another public school parent from participating), but I was also feeling quite frustrated after my district quietly backtracked from some express promises to reduce the amount of sugar in HISD’s breakfast program.
And now, The Lunch Tray’s most-read post of 2016 . . . .
In this post, hastily penned just two days after the presidential election, I poured out all my fears regarding the possible fate of child nutrition programs under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress. While the subject matter of this post only depresses me, I’m actually cheered by the fact that it was my most-read post of the year. That means you, too, deeply care about these issues – and perhaps together we’ll be able to convey our concerns to the new administration at the appropriate juncture.
Thank you, as always, for making blogging here such a pleasure! And now let’s see what 2017 brings . . . .
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