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Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children Paperback – Bargain Price, September 4, 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Paperback, Bargain Price, September 4, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In prose both straightforward and practical, Cooper and Holmes cleverly avoid the depressing air of many of current nutrition manuals in their charge against the school lunch status quo; though they do note in the foreword that "thirty to forty percent of children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes," they've largely jettisoned scare tactics in favor of practical, easy-to-follow solutions for the daily school lunch pail. The book is well documented throughout, giving authors' claims that their advice will lead to "increased ability to concentrate, increased cognitive development...and less moodiness" a solid foundation. Clarifying which foods are truly hazardous to children, the authors offer readers a litany of substitutions and positive options. Avoiding trans-fats and processed foods is only the beginning of advice that includes "trusting your children's appetites" while keeping in mind that "you are the boss" where food choices are concerned. Perfect for working parents who believe they're far too busy to pack a school lunch for their child, this well-organized manual offers a host of surprisingly simple meal changes and easy-to-follow recipes. Other sections offer tips on getting involved locally to transform school lunch programs; the end of the book boasts a valuable resource guide with helpful websites.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Perfect for working parents who believe they’re far too busy to pack a school lunch for their child” (Publishers Weekly )

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (September 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060783702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060783709
  • ASIN: B001FOR602
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,763,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The photograph on the cover of this book is a bit misleading. The topic of "Lunch Lessons" has a lot more to do with improving American school hot lunch programs than it is about packing healthy brown bag lunches for your own child. It does include a list of recipes at the back of the book. Many sound great, like the "Three Cheese-Vegetable Strata" and the "High Protein Squares" (a homemade replacement for power bars). They also look very time-consuming. Although I haven't tried any of the recipes, it seems to me that making your own pizza dough for the "Pizza Wheels" might take a bit longer than anyone wants to spend making lunch. Actually, I think the recipes are really in here to inspire the people who make hot lunches in school cafeterias.

Like other reviewers I am interested improving school nutrition policies. I head a health committee at my daughter's school dedicated to improving nutrition and fitness for the students and their families. As such this book should be a perfect fit. Unfortunately for me, my daughter attends a private school and almost all of the information in this book, including the reference list in the back, is only helpful if your child attends a public school. (I've actually found more useful information on government web sites than I have in this book!) That doesn't mean it's been completly useless. There are a few great tidbits to be found here and there. I found the recommendation about "laptop lunches" really great. I don't think I would have found out about the company and their fabulous lunch boxes had it not been for this book. (The cover photograph shows a "laptop" lunchbox.)

In the end I think I would recommend this book to anyone interested in taking on the enormous problem of unhealthy school lunches in public schools.
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Format: Hardcover
Lunch Lessons begins by stating everything that is wrong with the American diet. It clearly explains what children should be eating and explains why children need to stay away from additives, high fructose corn syrup, fast food, trans fat, etc. Did you know that children born in 2000 and after who are following the current trend of the fast food, prepared food nation, are facing a shorter life span than their parents? I didn't but it makes since with obesity and diabetes on the rise in the young.

There is a chapter devoted to outlining the caloric needs of a growing child, which food groups are actually necessary for correct development and a helpful chart explaining portion sizes and the number of servings to eat per day based upon the childs age. The book is filled with tools to help anyone learn to change their eating habits and lifestyle (because it is a huge lifestyle change) and I'd bet even those without children would find it a very useful reference and jumping off point for dietary change.

The middle section of the book is about several school systems who bravely changed the menu by eliminating pre-packaged processed food and brought in whole foods from local farmers. The stories, especially the comments from the children, are inspiring and hopeful. What surprised me the most were the positive social experience these children enjoyed while tending to a garden and preparing their healthy meals.

The recipe section is filled with lunch options I've never before considered. I tend to get stuck in a rut with whole grain bread, natural PB&J, turkey cold-cuts, turkey hot dogs, etc. I'm not sure if my kids will go for some of the more radical options like couscous (especially my meat loving son) but I'm going to give it a shot.
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book because I am involved with several committees dealing with healthy eating and fitness issues for school children in our area, and because I'm very interested in this topic. "Lunch Lessons" proved to be very informative and provided lots of ideas on changes that parents, teachers and policy makers can be making with their own children and/or with programs at school. It gave a nice overview on the history of the School Lunch program and how it has changed over the years. There are interesting summaries of innovative programs that are going on in different parts of the country, helpful resource guides and a policy guide. And it has some GREAT recipes that I intend to try at home and possibly use in some cooking demonstrations I will help organize for children. Because I am a registered dietitian, I did take issue with some of the information, especially in the chapter on Basic Childhood Nutrition, such as the absorption of calcium from plant sources, the quality of research on relating food dyes and additives to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and whether we should be changing recommendations on feedint infants under 1 year of age. Other parts of the chapter were, however, well done. Also, I do not feel all readers will "buy in" to the ideas for organic foods, switching to local food vendors, composting, etc. But pulling out any of the ideas on promoting a greater variety of minimally-processed foods, well prepared, in moderate portions, and eaten at a leisurely pace will benefit many. The distressing rise of obesity and health problems among our youth mandates change; and these experienced authors offer good ideas for action.
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