Horrible Horrible Hot Lunch

The lunch room has it’s very own class system. At the top of the food chain are the kids who bring a duffel bag of food each day, complete with an animal, vegetable, mineral, a bag of potato chips and half a dozen cookies. Second tier would be the hot lunch class. Nice, middle of the road, average eating. Then there’s the lame brown baggers. The kids who get uber healthy, homemade food that is often about as palatable as cardboard.

This year I figured the safest option for Harrison was hot lunch. Now I’m wondering if I should have gone with the cardboard. Check out this week’s article or click on my face to read the whole hot story.


  1. Oh my …

    Over in the UK Jamie Oliver has been campaigning to get school lunches better because they are, truly and utterly, horrific over here.

    But then again the kids who get lunch sent in from their parents are often just as bad. Empty calories as you said and so many junk food snacks it is terrible!

    On one of his school dinners shows (Jamie) there is this kid of about 10 who hasn’t been to the toilet in a week and a half, or something like that, cause of the food they’re fed!

    Good luck!

  2. You are believing a first grader? Maybe you should investigate yourself (i.e. GO IN AND SEE)……

    Our school has a salad bar for the kids which they have to walk by to check out. When I have been there for lunch (I volunteer there) I find that most kids stop to take some carrots (and ranch) or fruit (a piece of whole fruit) or something else off the salad bar……and my kids go to a public school in Utah. It might be time to get your own evidence before reporting how “horrible” it really is. Maybe it is horrible at your school, but in our case it most certainly is not.

    (sheepishly stepping off soapbox now)

  3. I always loved taking a lunch from home—they were usually pretty good! But I didn’t always take the time to ask my mom to make one or do it myself so I was stuck with hot lunch.

  4. There is a documentary where they overhaul the lunch menu at an “alternative” school (i.e. behavior issues, etc). Feeding them mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, hi quality, low-fat protein, no soda or mostly-sugar juices, but lots of water made huge differences in their overall behavior, concentration levels, and health. The schools feed our kids on just a few cents. And parent sit by ignorantly bliss. I send turkey wraps and a fruit and a vegetable – my kid trades for chips and cookies … ARG!

  5. We had the best “from home” lunches. And my mom would always stick surprises in our bags. We are years from this with our son..I am sure he will not find it as “cool” as I did. LOL.

  6. Ahhh the dilemma. I found a $2 little thermos and $6 lunch bag at Walmart the second or third day of school and it has changed my attitude toward the brown bag lunch. I can send my son with anything hot I want, rice, noodles, soup, mac and cheese, even a hot dog one day, and it stays warm(ish, I haven’t really tested this myself) until lunch time and he’s happy as a clam. The cold stuff stays cold in the bottom compartment of the bag with a little ice pack and it is completely wonderful. I can’t guarantee he’s eating of course, except that he isn’t starving when he comes home, so he must be getting enough to keep his stomach full all day. Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend finding a way to send hot things to school. My son complained for the first week or two about wanting to eat “their” lunch at school, so last week I went and ate with him. It was a fairly average day as far as food goes, soup, veggies, fruit, and a cookie. As I expected it was WAY more food than he could eat. He had maybe three spoonfuls of soup, one carrot stick (totally dried up and nasty), one white bread roll, chocolate milk and half of his cookie. It was about 1/3 of the lunch they gave him. The rest went in the garbage. So, I am sticking with my thermos, sending him a little bit of rice with butter and soy sauce, two (not dried up and nasty) baby carrots with ranch to dip, 1/2 an apple, chocolate milk and a cookie (sometimes). I wonder how long it will be before someone does a study on how the amount of food, not just the quality, of school lunch contributes to childhood obesity.

  7. Anonymous –

    That was a great comment, why not own it? There’s nothing wrong with stating your mind on a public forum, and it’s so much more effective if you claim it. Comment any time, and don’t be afraid to say who you are!

  8. Last year, our school lunches left a lot to be desired. This year they are so much better! They stopped the desserts, for one thing. My daughter, in middle school, is regularly offered an apple on top of the rest of the hot lunch she receives. Salads are a daily option.

    I’m really pleased this year. Last year and the years before that… I was on a soapbox too. Some of them were truly awful lunches. We still have one a week or so that we have to skip, but all in all, it’s a huge timesaver for me and the kids are happy to eat hot lunches from school.

    When the do take their own lunches, I try to have something the night before that they might like to take for lunch the next day in one of those thermal containers. That’s always a hit and it’s easy.

    Anyway, hang in there. Even if lunches aren’t what you would prefer this year, I think schools across the country are under pressure to improve nutrition. Maybe next year will be your year. 🙂 Hey, if WV can do it, I am positive Utah can.

    oh-oh… I think I just committed a blog faux pax and wrote a longer comment than the actual blog entry! Sorry!

  9. Hot lunch may not be the best in nutrients but it’s a heck of a lot lighter on my wallet than home lunch. And what’s worse, my dudes just racked up a “credit” at school for the chocolate milks they wanted anyway even when I DID pack lunch. *Sigh* I gave in to their terrorist demands.

  10. I have such strong feelings about school lunches, only because my mom did the whole brown bag thing, INTO HIGH SCHOOL and I may have thrown them away EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    I think you may have inspired me today for my own post. 🙂

  11. My kids want the home lunch, with the whole animal, potato chips, etc. As a working mom, I don’t want to spend time and money when my kids can do school lunch, and for the most part, get what they need. Oh the dilemma and drama of it all.

  12. School lunch? I would have KILLED for a “school lunch”. Lunch from home was worse than prison food. “Mom” thought it was just ducky to send a very stale sandwich made from wheat bread that she conjured up from a WWII German faux bread receipe including sawdust.(it’s what it tasted like) The innards of the sandwich usually consisted of peanut butter and mayonaise, mixed together like some kind of pate de peanut-n-oil grois). I detest BOTH (actually I loathe wheat bread as well) to this day. I have only recently relented and allowed peanut butter into the homestead.
    Actually, dog meat isn’t so bad, I’ve had it once in Thailand. Wasn’t poodle thank goodness, I would have rather eaten monkey meat than lowered my palate to resorting to poodle-on-a-stick over the hibachi. (poodlesare nothing more than fish bait that barks-incessantly)
    Harry has it too good. Eating the trash at school now is a little better than McDonald’s, definitely better than anything on the menu at Arctic Circle.
    Square meat patties? How far away is the County Animal Shelter?
    You haven’t lived until you’ve had to try and eat anything “Dear One” ever tried to cook. Harry has it too good.

    • Loved your comment on the school lunches — like yours, my mother was not the greatest cook, but at least she never foisted peanut butter on me. I abhor the stuff. The absolutely worst school lunch ever offered to us was a hideous concoction of hardboiled eggs, overcooked spinach, beets with vinegar (I believe they are called “Harvard Beets”) a square of cornbread w/sugar syrup on it and a carton of milk. Truly horrible.

  13. My second grader loves hot lunch. She stood in line for 20 minutes (her entire alotted lunch-eating time) for macho nachos. (They let the macho nacho kids have a few extra minutes.) She dragged herself out of bed with a stuffed up nose and scratchy throat and insisted on going to school because it was mini corndog nugget day.

    Unfortunately, I find hot lunch to be a bit on the pricey side, so she’s only allowed one per week. I don’t know what she’s going to do if they offer macho nachos and mini corndog nuggets in the same week. It’s like the Sophie’s choice of hot lunch.

  14. It’s nice to know there are so many concerned parents out there.
    I believe the motto “moderation in all things”. I have a printed menu for my kids to look at, not just the main dish, but the sides as well. If we deem it a yummy & nutritional meal, that THEY ACTUALLY will eat, they get hot lunch. Otherwise we pack up lunches.
    If we put too much emphasis on what and how they eat and all of the time, they start acting just like we do and then we could create eating issues in those very children we are trying to help!

  15. Thanks. I just laughed for a good 5 minutes. Why WOULDN”T he want to eat dog meat?

    • Great comment about the dog meat. When I was in school in France, we regularly got horse meat. I must admit it was VERY good.