Three ways to revolutionize school lunch programs

Need help banning mystery meat from your school's cafeteria? Get the tools you need from these organizations dedicated to serving up better lunches.

Child holding potato chip

—Flickr/heacphotos

By Carol Lloyd

It seems like a no-brainer: Just feed our kids healthy lunches and get back to the business of educating them, right?

Not so fast. Wander into your average U.S. school cafeteria, equipped with nothing but an industrial deep fryer and a shipping container’s worth of Tater Tots, and even the most salmon-oil -slurping, flaxseed-crunching health-food fanatic might be tempted to run screaming in the other direction.

If you’re brave enough to approach the stoic lunch lady (with a 50-pound bag of sloppy joe filling slung over one shoulder) to talk about starting a salad bar, chances are you’ve barely scratched the surface of the Sisyphean task ahead.

Being a lone school lunch revolutionary isn’t for the faint-hearted.

But now there is help. Here are three paths to making over your school’s cafeteria with the support of bona fide food fighters. Each of these organizations approaches the problem from a different angle, but all offer assistance to the parents, school administrators, and cooks who want to shift school lunches away from mystery meat to nourishing, delicious meals:

Carol Lloyd is the executive editor of GreatSchools and mother to two raucous daughters, ages 9 and 13.