Robin Shreves, a stay-at-home mom who writes about eco-friendly food options, recently interviewed Mrs. Q, a teacher in the American Midwest with a mission to improve school lunches. She frankly admits to not having all the answers. To learn more, she encourages communication with her network of social media “followers,” which includes teachers, parents, and health professionals.
Mrs. Q engages in direct research by eating whatever the kids are served for lunch every day. Her interests range from urban farming to food marketing that targets children, as well as many other nutrition-related subjects. It’s not just about the food itself. Among other changes, Mrs. Q would welcome a return to dishes and dishwashers, rather than packaged food that creates an appalling amount of trash. In the area of school lunch menus, she would love to see more choice, more variety, and more fresh food — just for starters.
Mrs. Q talks about the nutritional lifestyle she grew up with. She became a teacher on purpose, and loves her work. The kids in her school are needy in many ways, and she enjoys helping them. When asked about the impetus and inspiration behind her efforts, she says,
I know that I feel bad about myself when I eat food I know is bad for my body. The last thing that the kids from my school need is to feel even worse about their circumstances. The meals send a message to the kids that they are not cared about.
In the time-honored tradition of restaurant critics everywhere, Mrs. Q maintains anonymity. She discusses this on her own blog, Fed Up With Lunch. When she was invited to speak at an upcoming Mayo Clinic symposium, the sponsors wanted to videotape her appearance. The Mayo Clinic folks devised a clever solution: Mrs. Q will appear in the guise of a Second Life avatar.
It’s not all fun and games, by any means. On a subject of mental preparation for this school year, Mrs. Q says,
Frankly, I’m not looking forward to eating the lunches again. I keep hoping that there will be menu changes and that things will be better than the 101 school lunches I ate over the first half of the project… I have a sensitive system. My body has been happy all summer long. Upsetting that balance bothers me a little, but I will survive.
DR. PRETLOW GETS AROUND:
Here is a very comprehensive review of Overweight: What Kids Say, written by Cascia Talbert at Healthy Moms.
Stephanie Miller, a.k.a. Head Health Nutter, lays out the 10 points of her dream healthcare system, and invites participation in imagining the ideal. In Point #9, “Affordable healthy food & high-priced junk food,” she gives a nice mention to Overweight: What Kids Say.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “An Interview with School Lunch blogger Mrs. Q,” MNN.com, 01/21/10
Source: “Mrs. Q on the Move,” Fed Up With School Lunch, 08/23/10
Image of Fed Up With Lunch graphic, used under Fair Use: Reporting.