iOS app Android app

Bettina Elias Siegel
GET UPDATES FROM Bettina Elias Siegel
 
Bettina Elias Siegel is a former lawyer, freelance writer and school food advocate. She blogs about children and food policy at The Lunch Tray and can be found on Twitter at @thelunchtray.

Entries by Bettina Elias Siegel

Why the Food Industry Is Running Scared of Internet Activism

(4) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 11:11 AM

A new study by Dr. Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, seeks to determine why people -- mothers in particular -- develop so-called "food fears" about certain ingredients (such as sodium, fat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, MSG and lean finely textured beef)...

Read Post

We Have the 'Cure' for Obesity, But Is the Pill Too Difficult to Swallow?

(2) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 6:30 PM

Many years ago, I mentioned to a doctor friend that a woman I knew -- a Seventh Day Adventist who never drinks alcohol -- had been told she was at risk for cirrhosis of the liver due to her poor diet and excess weight.  My doctor friend looked at me skeptically and said I must...

Read Post

Kathleen Parker on School Food: It's All the Feminists' Fault

(1) Comments | Posted June 3, 2014 | 2:52 PM

Last Friday, conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker wrote an editorial praising the School Nutrition Association's (SNA) current attempts to roll back the nutritional improvements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), derisively referring to the legislation as "the first lady's well-intentioned but disastrous school nutrition program, otherwise known as the...

Read Post

Saving School Food: A Letter to My (Imaginary) BFF Michelle Obama

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 11:28 AM

Dear Michelle,

Can I call you "Michelle?"  I know it's a bit presumptuous, what with you being First Lady and all, but for the last six years you and I have shared a beautiful friendship, one that's no less special for being entirely one-sided.

We have so much in...

Read Post

Chicken From China? Your Seafood Is Already Being Processed There

(7) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:22 AM

Thanks to our Change.org petition (307,000 signatures and rising), millions of Americans have learned that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is about to allow U.S chickens to be sent to China for processing, then shipped back to the U.S. for human consumption. This arrangement is particularly alarming...

Read Post

Chicken From China? Why You Should Be Worried

(3) Comments | Posted January 16, 2014 | 4:57 PM

In March 2012 I launched on The Lunch Tray a Change.org petition seeking to remove lean, finely textured beef ("LFTB," more widely known as "pink slime") from the ground beef procured by the USDA for the National School Lunch Program.  The petition garnered over a quarter of a million signatures in just...

Read Post

School Food Gets Its Close-Up -- But Is It a Fair One?

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 6:03 PM

A lot of readers have recently asked for my thoughts on the Fed Up campaign, sponsored by Do Something, which asked kids around the country to send in photos of their school meals. (While the project has been going on for a while, it's gotten a lot of press in...

Read Post

Schools Meddle in Parents' Home-Packed Lunches: Why I'm Not Offended

(7) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 9:58 AM

A few weeks ago, the Internet was buzzing over news reports that an elementary school in Richmond, VA -- allegedly in accordance with federal law -- is requiring parents to obtain a doctor's note if they want to send a home-packed lunch to school with their child. Then, last week,...

Read Post

It's OK: Let Elmo Be a Carrot Pusher

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) will join the Partnership for a Healthier America to help promote fruits and vegetables to kids.  Specifically, PMA's growers, suppliers and retailers will be allowed for two years to use iconic characters such as...

Read Post

Texas Passes Law to Keep Junk Food in Schools (Yeah, You Read That Right)

(37) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 4:12 PM

The USDA earned praise this past June when it released its ground-breaking new rules for "competitive" school food, i.e., the snacks and beverages that compete with the federal school meal and are offered to students through school stores, snack bars, vending machines and other outlets.  These new rules, while not perfect, will go...

Read Post

Good News: In New School Snack Rules, USDA Rejects a 'Nutritionism' Approach

(10) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 2:58 PM

As you probably read last week, the USDA has released its interim final rules for "competitive school foods," i.e., the snack items and drinks offered to school kids via vending machines, school stores, fundraisers, snack bars operated by the school cafeteria and other outlets. Currently, these foods are unregulated in many states...

Read Post

Is It Wrong to Market Even Healthy Food to Kids?

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 4:35 PM

That's the contention put forth by public health lawyer Michele Simon (Eat Drink Politics) and Susan Linn, Director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, in a recent article.

Noting -- as I often have -- that cognitive deficits make children especially vulnerable to the persuasive power of advertising,...

Read Post

An Interview with Melanie Warner of Pandora's Lunchbox

(3) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 6:12 PM

As someone who writes regularly about food and who worked as an advertising/regulatory lawyer for one of the world's largest food conglomerates, I didn't think there was a lot that could surprise me about the processed food industry. Then I picked up Melanie Warner's new book, Pandora's Lunchbox,...

Read Post

Candy and Junk Food in the Classroom: the Other 'Competitive Food'

(2) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 7:07 PM

With the closing of USDA's period for public comment on the new proposed competitive food rules, there has been a lot of discussion about the food and beverages offered to school kids via vending machines, school stores and cafeteria snack bar or "a la carte" lines.

But what...

Read Post

Are You Satisfied or Stuffed? Teaching Kids When to Say 'When' at the Table

(2) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 11:22 AM

About two months ago I was prescribed an antibiotic, doxycycline, for a sinus infection. The medicine came with a warning that you shouldn't lie down for thirty minutes after taking it, but I somehow managed to forget all about that, popping a pill in my mouth with just a small sip...

Read Post

Artificially Sweetened Chocolate Milk in Schools: Why I'm Concerned

(3) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 10:20 AM

Food activist Nancy Huehnergarth tweeted this troubling Dairy Reporter item last Friday, which indicates that International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are asking the Food & Drug Administration for permission to add aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to the flavored...

Read Post

USDA's New "Competitive" School Food Rules -- What You Need to Know

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 12:53 PM

After months of delay, the USDA released its proposed rules governing the nutritional quality of so-called "competitive" foods and beverages offered on school campuses.

To refresh everyone's memory, competitive food and beverages are those offered in competition with the federally subsidized school meal, and are sold via vending machines, school...

Read Post

A Girl Scout Cookie Gets "Healthwashed:" Musings on Nutritionism and Our Kids

(23) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 5:06 PM

The Girl Scouts organization has been criticized in recent years by some parents, bloggers and activists over the organization's annual -- and quite profitable -- cookie sale fundraiser.  The complaints range from the cookies' artificial and/or unhealthful ingredients, the general promotion of cookie consumption in an era...

Read Post

When My Kid Gets an A, Please Don't Give Him Krispy Kremes!

(27) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 3:08 PM

Chris Liebig of A Blog About School shared with me a recent post in which he describes how his school is handing out Dairy Queen coupons for perfect attendance. Chris points out how this scheme is misguided in about ten different ways -- his post is definitely...

Read Post

Schools Ban Flamin' Hot Cheetos, But Why Stop There?

(44) Comments | Posted October 19, 2012 | 6:19 PM

On my Houston ISD school food blog, The Spork Report, I once shared a candid photo of a Houston middle schooler's "lunch:"  a bag of  Baked Flamin' Hot Cheetos doused in cheesy nacho sauce:

 

Both of those...

Read Post