Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday 4/1: Pizza on Thursday!

The menu reads as follows: Assorted Pizza, Tossed Salad, Fresh Apple

What they got: Plain or pepperoni pizza, tossed salad and an apple.

Today the kids had pizza on Thursday since as of today we are on spring break! Have to admit, I am secretly sad that I will not have any lunch pics to take and report back on! I'm sure I'll find something to ramble on about though. 

The regional as well as the district chef was at our school again today checking in to make sure all is running smoothly. Chartwells has definitely taken an interest in making sure they are delivering the menu as promised and also maintaining a presence at St.Francis! If only their presence somehow transformed the food into nutritious and well-balanced meals, I'd be way more satisfied, but then again I wouldn't have anything to blog about! ;)

Just looking this pizza loaded with pepperoni one can tell it's your hearts worst enemy, talk of artery clogging and high cholesterol!  If a child's most formative years are their youngest — from birth to age 5, then what message are sending we to our kids when this type of food becomes the norm? As parents we have to take control of this. WE are responsible for our childrens' education,  integration and socialization into the world. School budgets are shrinking, disposable incomes have decreased, inflation continues to rise and we are forced to come up with creative ways to provide for our families. I believe it's time to return back to our basics. For me this has meant providing home-cooked meals for my family everyday, and everyday since my daughter was able to sit-up and eat solids we have eaten dinner as a family. My parents did it and I am doing it. Growing up Greek definitely reinforced the food issue. My dad has always kept an impressive fruit and vegetable garden. Picking figs straight from the tree and eating them was habitual and oh, how do I miss that!  We cook a lot and family sit-downs is the absolute rule! This is not too say we don't ever order in pizza or on the odd occasion eat Chinese take-out, but even then we sit down to a family meal, around the table, together. 

Consider this: A study of family eating patterns was published in 2005 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University and reflects nearly a decade's worth of data gathering. The researchers found essentially that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be, the less healthy the food and the more meager the talk. Among those who eat together three or fewer times a week, 45% say the TV is on during meals (as opposed to 37% of all households), and nearly one-third say there isn't much conversation. Such kids are also more than twice as likely as those who have frequent family meals to say there is a great deal of tension among family members, and they are much less likely to think their parents are proud of them. Read the full article here.

Wishing you all very happy spring break!


  1. Virtually identical to this pizza lunch, also served by Chartwells here in D.C.

    FYI: the controlling factor for cholesterol level is genetics, not diet. And what most affects cholesterol and "clogged artieries" from the diet is carbohydrates. A diet rich in protein and healthy fat actually lowers cholesterol.

  2. Interesting blog. It raises some questions for me, though:

    1. Whose lunch are you photographing, anyway?

    2. How do you get into the school to photograph and examine the lunch? Isn't there any security at this school? As a parent, this concerns me.

    3. Your reviews of the school lunch are overall pretty negative. Does your child eat school lunch, or does he/she brown bag it? (and, to link to my first question, if your kid brings lunch, then whose lunch are you photographing?)

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    I'll answer your questions in the order you asked:

    1. I am photographing a lunch tray about to go out to a child. No one in specific if that is what you are asking.

    2.My child attends Mile Square - St.Francis,a public school. They have an open door policy and welcome the parents to visit and get involved. The principal of the school was and is fully aware of my project and I believe she supports me. There is of course security at the front door but since my child attends the school I am allowed to walk in their at any time. There is a total of about 90 kids in the school so we all pretty much know each other. The school district has been alerted to my project including the superintendent and board of ed. I have been completely transparent since the get-go. I saw a problem, it raised a huge red-flag for me so instead of just complaining about I decided to raise awareness to some of my concerns. Its quite shocking when you see it yourself.

    3. As for the reviews: They are negative for the most part because the quality of food is inadequate for growing children. Which parts of additives, preservatives or processed foods is positive?
    My child stopped eating school lunches as of 3 weeks ago. I decided that I'd rather take the time to make her lunch in the morning. Before that she would eat the school lunch 2 or 3 times a week and rest of the time we brown-bagged it. Since starting this project the food service company has stepped up there game and are making sure they are delivering the meals they said they would. They are even making an effort to make the meals look appetizing but alas, mystery meat will always look like mystery meat.

    I hope that this answers all your questions and please free to reach out again if something concerns you.

    Also, please be aware that the only children harmed in the making of this blog are the ones that are eating school lunches.


  4. This is very interesting stuff, particularly the study about family eating habits. When I was growing up (with a mother who did NOT enjoy cooking), the kids ate alone while the parents drank, or while my mother waited for my father to (maybe) come home. We rarely ate together unless it was a special occasion. Not happy memories. My siblings and I do things every differently now that we're grown, except for one who has an eating disorder. Oh gee, TMI. I better stop now. This was obviously food for thought.