Book Review: Lunch Wars (Which Isn’t About Mealtime At My House, BTW)

Lunch Wars

Lunch WarsReading Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa gave me the strength to say this: I hate school lunches.

There. I said it. I feel better.

Except that I don’t feel better. Not really.

The most recent menu that my oldest son brought home from his elementary school is somewhat appalling. I’m thankful for two things: 1) That our family is financially secure enough that we can send BigBrother to school with a packed lunch every day, and 2) That peer pressure hasn’t yet stepped in and caused him to want to buy his lunch. (Also, with his texture issues and food aversions he has informed me that he has absolutely no desire to eat any of what he has seen thus far. Not even the school pizza. Whew.)


But being able to avoid the problem doesn’t mean that the problem doesn’t exist. We’re fortunate… and not every family is as fortunate as we are. I know that, and it makes me sad that we — as a society, not just my local and surrounding school districts — don’t seem to care more about the nutrition our kids are getting in our schools. I feel ill-equipped to fight this fight myself as I’m fighting issues on other fronts, but I do appreciate the sentiment and challenges brought forth by those who do have the time to take this issue head on.

Read an excerpt from Lunch Wars at the BlogHer Book Club right now. This is probably my favorite point in general (and makes me feel better about what we’re doing at home as well!).

[Myth] Kids need choices so they can learn to make good choices. Offering children unhealthy foods and drinks at school contradicts what they are taught about good nutrition and sends a mixed message. Why shouldn’t all the choices be good choices? We don’t ask kids if they’d rather have recess or math! Limiting choices, especially in the younger grades, helps kids develop a taste for good food, and good eating habits. When kids choose soda, candy, and junk food instead of eating a meal, they don’t get the nourishment they need to learn properly.

And feel free to join in the discussions even if you haven’t read the book. Talk about your school lunches, your kids’ school lunches and other important topics.

[Disclosure: This was a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.]


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Hope on the Horizon — Maybe?

LittleBrother is a Bathroom Tourist. He has not met a bathroom he doesn’t like. He visits bathrooms in restaurants, schools, churches, stores and friends’ houses. He even enjoys a good porta-potty on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, he almost always “has” to use the bathroom during a meal. I say “has” in quotations because, more often than not, it’s just a LittleBrother ploy to get out of eating whatever he has deemed inedible at that given moment. Meal stalling at its finest.

It happened during dinner tonight. It’s frustrating when it happens during a dinner that I know he likes. I made breakfast for dinner, because who doesn’t like a good brinner? Both of my boys love eggs, so I thought we’d have a dinner-fight-free-night. I was wrong, as I am about so much in parenting, and LittleBrother dawdled even more slowly than usual. He even pulled the bathroom trick.

As I sat and read the newspaper while he finally finished up his last few bites, he came up with a grand plan.


What is it, Bubba?” (Can you hear my exasperated tone?)

When I’m one-a-hundred years old…” There’s a pause here while he actually takes a bite of the forsaken dinner. “When I’m one-a-hundred years old, I’ll wipe my own butt.

Oh. Oh good. I’ve just got 96.25 years left of meal-time-bathroom-duty. How thrilling! I chose not to respond to his butt-wiping declaration — because, what do you say to that anyway?

But Mommy, you’ll need to get me a bigger toilet for when I’m one-a-hundred.


Noted. Bigger potty. Eat your eggs.

Okay Mommy. But promise me you’ll still love me when I’m one-a-hundred.

I lowered the paper and looked across the table at the meal-time-stalling, bathroom-touring, frustrating-almost-four-year-old staring back at me.

He looked kinda like this: Hopeful and silly and just — him.

Fall Boys

What can you say to that?

I promise. But I hope you eat faster when you’re one-a-hundred, Bubba.

I will, Mommy. I promise.