Ann Cooper: Lunch Lady on a Mission

January 24, 2011


Chef Ann Cooper is trying to change the way kids eat school lunch.

If your school cafeterias were anything like mine there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between getting your food from the cafeteria and getting your food from a gas station. They feature mostly the same fare: prepackaged microwaveable food products like chips or Pop-Tarts and processed chicken nuggets or pizza slices under a warming lamp. Not a pretty picture. Ann Cooper is trying to change all that.

Grist reports:

“Cooper explodes the myth embraced by so many school food service directors that they must offer cheese-covered soft pretzels, Subway sandwiches, corn dogs, and Eskimo pies to make ends meet. …And it wasn’t just because the food was bad. Trying to operate cafeterias like convenience stores, she found, was a drain on resources that did not yield the bounty that is popularly assumed.”

Cooper’s approaches school lunch from two angles: finances and health. According to her, getting the fast food items out of the cafeteria and replacing them with meals with recognizable whole ingredients is both healthier and more affordable. And its working.

Here’s Cooper’s blog to learn more. And a great TED talk:

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