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'Fed Up with Lunch' blogger works for CPS

October 4, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
Sarah Wu's book ''Fed Up with Lunch'' is based on her experience eating the food served in Chicago Public Schools, where she works as a speech pathologist.

Wu began blogging about her CPS food experiences when she forgot her lunch one day and had a bagel dog at Haugan Elementary School's cafeteria. She says the meal left her feeling unsettled, literally, and now more than 160 lunches later, the once anonymous blogger is going public on a media blitz.

Wu, a CPS speech pathologist, spent much of 2010 secretly eating what her students ate, photographing her meals in the school cafeteria and posting comments online as Mrs. Q.

"What I found out is that many chicken nuggets are just 50-percent chicken," Wu said. The rest of it? "Things you can't pronounce."

    The 34-year-old wife and mother pulled no punches online, ranking:
  • "the good," which included a rib-a-cue meal that Wu said smelled and tasted great,
  • "the bad," which included a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,
  • and "the ugly," which included cheese lasagna.

"I think also what's startling about the whole school lunch experience is that kids are not getting enough time to eat," Wu told Good Morning America on Wednesday. "Yeah, so they're getting overly processed food and not enough time to eat it," Wu said.

The food on Wu's blog was served at Haugan Elementary on the Northwest Side, where parents say they receive a weekly menu of their kids' meals.

"Now that it's on there, I really want to check it out, see how the food looks, if it's actually cooked well," Julio Lopez, parent, said.

In a statement, CPS said it's eliminated full-fat dairy, trans fats, and deep-fried food, while adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. "...Our nutritional standards are designed to exceed the USDA's Gold Standard of the Healthier U.S. School Challenge guidelines."

"I did see changes, and I was encouraged by the fact there was a little more fresh vegetables, a little more fresh fruit," Wu said.

The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, a group that advises CPS on nutrition issues, says strides have been made in the last five.

"If you think about your own home, parents may think, how am I supposed to do a healthy meal that my kids like every single night? And imagine trying to do that for 400,000 kids," Adam Becker, executive director, CLOCC, said.

On Wednesday, CPS said it was reviewing the content of Wu's writings to determine if any rules have been broken. A short time ago, Wu, who is still in New York, said she doesn't know what, if any disciplinary action she might face -- but says she has no regrets.


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