Monday, May 17, 2010

From Taco's to Pizza

Last week was crazier than normal for me so I have decided to cram Wednesday (5/12), Thursday (5/13) and Friday's (5/14) school lunches into one post. 

Wednesday 5/12: Twin Taco w/ turkey taco meat, cheddar cheese, lettuce, salsa and fruit. 

Wednesday saw the inclusion of an extra veg (asparagus), which was not stated on the menu...Thank you Chartwells for the lovely surprise.

Later in the week, I just so happened to be passing the high school, and lying on the streets was all the packaging/cardboard boxes discarded by the kitchen. I can't tell you how excited I got because I noticed that the boxes contained ingredients lists and nutritional information.

One of the empty boxes was Jennie-O Taco Seasoned Ground Turkey, the very thing the kids had for lunch on Wednesday, so here are the ingredients as taken off the box:

The picture is a little blurry because it was taken by my iPhone so I'll decipher the ingredients for you: Ground turkey, taco seasoning (dehydrated onion, salt, spices, chili, peppers, garlic powder), potato flour, cocoa, citric acid, autolyzed yeast extract, glucono delta lactone, torula yeast, maltodextrin, wheat, natural flavor, water, contains by or less modified food starch, salt.
There you have it. After the citric acid I get totally lost with the ingredients and have NO idea what any of it is.  A quick Google search reveals that autolyzed yeast extract is actually MSG, and the rest of the ingredients are flavor enhancers/additives as well.  That's the reality.

Thursday 5/13: Pasta w/ meat sauce, breadstick, seasoned peas, applesauce.

Again the kids got an extra component today and were served one vegetable AND one fruit. A definite change has come about and I am truly pleased to see it happen. The meat sauce also was home-made at the school kitchen and smelled delicious. My only concern is the quality of the meat.  Whether it was just purely ground-beef or whether it had added preservatives and flavorings, I don't know. Perhaps if parents called Chartwells and asked for the list of ingredients they would begin to work on getting that type of info to us all.

Friday 5/14: Pizza, tossed salad, carrot sticks, fresh apple.

They served exactly what was stated on the menu. A well-balanced meal, with a vegetable, a fruit and salad. I may even let my daughter start eating some of the school lunches again!


  1. Happy to see things found in nature on the plates finally! Unhappy to see the ingredient list for the taco meat. That is not food!!

  2. Good stuff, Peta (your blog, not the food). Hey, have you ever read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver? One of my fave books of all time.

  3. Thanks for the information. I never buy any kind of meat that comes preseasoned, there absolutely no reason for it. I do this to avoid the high sodium, but had no idea MSG was lurking in them. That's horrible.

    I think what needs to happen eventually, is the fed gov't needs to get out of the food business.

    thanks for keeping us informed on this topic.


  4. I think your attention is bring some positive changes to your school's lunches. Kudos to you!

  5. autolyzed yeast extract is LIKE MSG but is NOT MSG.

    it is yeast which is grown then killed (usually with salt, unfortunately, but sometimes with heat). it gives that yummy meaty flavour without the need for MSG. I would choose it over MSG.

    but I agree with the overall sentiment, I don't really agree with meat containing anything but meat. I don't understand what gets in the way of just frying and seasoning their own meat.