Amy Kalafa's Lunch Wars: A Hard Look at Ourselves

5 years ago

When I saw Amy Kalafa's Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children's Health in the BlogHer Book Club line-up, I knew I was in for a hard look at my own seven-year-old second grader's eating habits. And boy, was I right.

As I read, I learned about how government commodity distribution works in schools and how to approach a school district about changing up the menus, getting more whole foods into the program and school gardens.

My daughter and I had a lengthy conversation when she was in kindergarten and I learned that she could buy ice cream and cookies with the lunch money I was dutifully depositing in her lunch account online. In kindergarten! I remember having a la carte items in high school, but impulse control in kindergarten? You have to be kidding me. I made her promise me she would only purchase a treat twice a week. I told her I would check up on her to make sure. That was two years ago. I forgot all about it until I read this book, and when I asked her if she was still only buying them twice a week, she looked away. WHAT??

The harder questions I started asking myself while reading, though, were about what I fed her at home. I struggle with fighting my school district when I'm not positive I'm a stellar role model at home. (I did read the menu for her after-school care finally and realized I have been so completely spoiled by daycares all these years -- the daycares gave healthy snacks because they were entirely funded by parents and had to answer to parents. The school-provided after-school care apparently hands out microwavable pastries on a fairly regular basis, which I would never do for snacks.)

As a formerly disordered eater and someone who has written extensively on BlogHer and my personal blog, Surrender, Dorothy about eating disorders, diet and parenting a kid after recovering from an eating disorder, the question of what my daughter eats is always intense for me. I try very hard not to eagle-eye what she is eating as long as I am satisfied she's eating a balanced diet. At the same time, my husband and I both work full-time and barely have time to cook dinner most nights. It's a struggle to eat healthy at home, and I really had been assuming she was eating better at school.

Will I go on a campaign to change my district's lunches? I know I do not have the time to dedicate to that cause. However, I'm glad I read this book and will be changing some of my own behaviors at home and contacting the school to learn more about what's going on there after reading Lunch Wars. I'll be sharing my thoughts in the discussions there, which are sure to be lively! Please join us at BlogHer Book Club for our discussions of Amy Kalafa's Lunch Wars!

Rita Arens authors Surrender Dorothy and is the editor of Sleep is for the Weak. She is BlogHer's assignment and syndication editor.

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