Michelle Obama


by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 24, 2014

You may have already heard about a new Twitter hashtag that’s making national news: disgruntled kids are taking photos of their unappetizing school lunches and sharing them on Twitter with a sarcastic #thanksmichelleobama.  A recent Buzz Feed post about the trend has already received an astonishing two million views. Some of the photos shared by students are indeed stomach-turning. […]


What the Midterm Elections Mean for School Food

by Bettina Elias Siegel on November 6, 2014

Whether you voted red, blue or purple in this week’s midterm elections, you and your viewpoints are always welcome on The Lunch Tray. But there are times when political partisanship directly impacts the kid-and-food issues I cover and, unfortunately, that’s the case for school food reform.  As the New York Times reported in a recent Sunday Magazine […]


My Piece in the New York Times Motherlode Re: The School Food Wars

by Bettina Elias Siegel on October 8, 2014

This Sunday’s New York Times Magazine will feature a major story on school food, “How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground,” and I was honored to be asked to interview the Times reporter, Nicholas Confessore, for a piece on today’s New York Times Motherlode. For those of you who regularly follow this blog and other sources of school food news, […]

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Imagine a restaurant getting a great review, only to have the chef call the newspaper to complain that the critic was sorely mistaken and the restaurant’s food isn’t as good as the review made it out to be. That bizarre scenario was all I could think of when I received an email yesterday from the School […]


How Did the School Nutrition Association Lose Its Way?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on June 3, 2014

How did the School Nutrition Association, the nation’s largest organization of school food professionals, go from being a vocal supporter of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act to the moving force behind current efforts to gut that legislation? Even the First Lady finds this flip-fop perplexing, reportedly saying at a recent gathering of school nutrition leaders, “Help me understand why, […]


Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal 2015 spending bill with controversial language, drafted by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), which would allow struggling schools to request a 12-month waiver from complying with healthier school food standards.  While that might sound innocuous, this waiver, which was strenuously opposed by the First Lady and school food advocates (including this […]


First Lady Defends Healthier School Food in NYT Op-Ed

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 29, 2014

What can I say?  The Michelle O. love I expressed yesterday only deepens. . . . Here’s her piece in today’s New York Times making a strong case for staying the course on healthier school food. Keep in mind that in writing this kind of editorial (and in making her White House statement on Monday), the First Lady is engaging in an unusually […]

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Dear Michelle . . . .

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 28, 2014

Dear Michelle, Can I call you “Michelle?”  I know it’s a bit presumptuous, what with you being First Lady and all, but for the last six years you and I have shared a beautiful friendship, one that’s no less special for being entirely one-sided. We have so much in common, Michelle, it’s no wonder we’re one-way BFFs!  We’re both […]


Simple Steps to Help #SaveSchoolLunch!

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 19, 2014

As I wrote here last week, and as I’ve been telling you for the last few months, many of the important school food reforms of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act are currently at risk of being rolled back.  We fought hard for the passage of those improved school meal standards and changing course just two […]


How “Optimistic” Should We Feel About the War on Obesity?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on May 8, 2014

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an opinion piece, “Finally, Some Optimism About Obesity?,” in which bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel and researcher Andrew Steinmetz tell us we should feel good about the country’s anti-obesity efforts* because we’re responding to this health crisis “much more nimbly” than we did with smoking. The dangers of tobacco were first established in the 1920s but it took fifty years before […]