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Book Review: Lunch Wars

Did you know that the typical student will consume 3000 school meals from kindergarten through 12th grade?  Kind of opens your eyes to how important school food really is.  Typically I review cookbooks here, but when Blog Her asked me to review Lunch Wars by Amy Kalafa I jumped at the chance.  School food has been a hot topic recently.  From Jamie Oliver’s revolution to Michelle Obama’s Healthy Hunger Free Kid’s Act, awareness of the school food issues is at an all time high.  Amy Kalafa really did her research to provide a great resource full of inspiring stories and shocking facts all about the nutrition related health of children.

My awareness of the problems with school food really started when my friend Mrs. Q told me about the food in the school she teaches at.  The more I’ve read and the more discussions I’ve had with teachers, administrators and parents, the more passionate I’ve become about the need for school food reform.  I thought this book would be one more eye opener, but it was even more than that.

One of my favorite things about Amy’s book is that she doesn’t just point out everything that’s wrong or play the blame game. She made “Lunch Wars” a tool that can be used by parents, administrators, or advocates like myself to make a difference in the school food system in their town. She shares stories of people who have revolutionized their own school food system and encourages each of us to do the same.

As I’ve been learning in my dialogue with Feeding America, millions of American children go to bed hungry. Yet at the same time we have a sweeping epidemic of child obesity! How can these two issues co-exist? The problem is that food is not the simple answer to hunger. These children need healthy, nutritious food in appropriate portions. Amy summarized the issue well in her introduction, “America’s children are overfed and undernourished. Why have we allowed this crisis to spin so dangerously out of control?”

(photo credit Ian Mutoo)

I have a few blog posts up my sleeve about the school lunch system after reading this book, but I strongly suggest you get your own copy of Lunch Wars. Whether you’re a foodie looking for a way to make a difference, or a mom wondering about what your kids are eating, this book will equip you. You’ll learn what questions to ask, who to ask them of, and how to make waves without making enemies.

Most importantly, if enough of us start making it clear that healthy school food is a priority, perhaps we can turn back the tide of childhood obesity, diabetes and other nutrition related diseases.

If you’d like to read more about Lunch Wars and see what other people are saying, check out the Lunch Wars page on BlogHer.com.

This was a paid review for Blog Her but all the opinions expressed are 100% mine!

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