To Pack or Not to Pack? A Lunch Conversation

Staff Writer
Tomorrow is National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day, so we chatted with recently “out” Susan Wu of Fed Up With Lunch
Bagel Dog and Tater Tots
Courtesy of <A href="http://fedupwithlunch.com/" target="_blank">Fed Up With Lunch</a>
Bagel Dog and Tater Tots

Susan Wu went public last week, and since then she’s been navigating the media with her new book Fed Up with Lunch. Wu spent a year eating and blogging about school lunches (starting with a sad bagel dog), so we picked her brain on packing lunch for her 3-year-old son.

His normal lunch? “I always make sure that there’s a veggie, a piece of fruit, grain, and a meat or a protein depending on what I got ready.” Sounds pretty standard.

Another tip? Don't take rejection personally. "Food refusals are normal," she says. "Parents may back off of foods they think the kids won’t like, and they put only kids preferred food in there. I would encourage people to try new things."

But packing lunch is still a pain, since most kids don't have microwaves or refrigerators. Wu packs her son's lunch with an ice pack, but says life would be easier if he could eat what the school provides. "If we fix school lunches, we end up fixing school lunch for everybody. We’re helping all the kids. And from the perspective of a daily packer for a child, it’s exhausting. It would be just easier for me to have him eat there."

To help improve conditions, Wu suggests talking to the principal and the PTA. Still, since public education is such a bureaucratic institution, it's tough to see parent intervention helping in every school. Wu's still optimistic. "I would say most schools really like to talk to parents and work with them. I mean sometimes they really aren’t open to change, and that's when you create the political world for change." Shout out to Michelle Obama.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.