I finally got the opportunity to watch the final three episodes of "Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution" last night. There has been a lot of discussion about the success or failure of Jamie's revolution, and I’m working on putting my thoughts — as well as some other people's thoughts — together about that.
If you saw the final episode, you’ll know that Jamie went back to Huntington, W. Va., three months after he left. One of the things he found was that many of the children had started to bring bagged lunches because they didn’t like the changes to the school lunch program.
Jamie walked around looking at the bagged lunches. One girl had jelly beans and two kinds of chips. Jamie likened that lunch to child abuse. Another had what looked like cold chicken nuggets. Several children had Lunchable-type meals. Jamie held the ingredients list up to the camera from one of them. It was a mile long. He found one girl who had cut up apples, but she hadn’t touched them yet. Instead she was eating her neon blue-glowing jello. You can see Jamie’s thoughts on these lunches in this video:
This morning as I was throwing lunches together for my boys about five minutes before they were due at school, I started to feel Jamie’s eyes peering over my shoulder. My husband walked in the kitchen, and I told him all I could think about was Jamie Oliver commenting about my boys’ lunches. He told me he thought the same thing as he saw me making the lunches.
Would Jamie approve of the organic peanut butter and all-fruit jelly on whole wheat bread, homemade whole-wheat oatmeal raisin cookies (only two of them), an apple, and an iced-tea in each reusable lunchbox?
The iced-tea made me nervous. He wouldn’t like that. There’s sugar in it. Maybe I should start letting my kids buy milk again at school. But the lines are so long, and the lunch period so short. If they stand in line to buy milk, they might not get to eat their lunches. Short-lived panic started to set in. If Jamie saw me sending my kids off to school with that lunch, would he stop following me on Twitter?
I know some of you are laughing with me right now, and some of you are thinking, “This woman needs to get a grip on reality.”
I’ve already gotten a grip on my ever over-active imagination. All I needed to do was remind myself, as Robyn O’Brien, author of "The Unhealthy Truth," said several times in our interview last year, not to make perfect the enemy of good. I packed a good lunch. Was it perfect? No. Was it a heck of lot better than jelly beans and chips? Definitely. Was it a heck of a lot better than whatever the cafeteria would be serving today? Absolutely. Will my boys drink milk later today when they get home from school? Sure — probably a half gallon between the two of them.
I think it’s good that I will now have an imaginary Jamie Oliver peering over my shoulder and his voice in my head in the morning as I pack my boys’ lunches. It will be a little reminder to make sure what’s in there is balanced and wholesome.
One of the major goals of "Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution" was to change the school-made lunches. Hopefully, this last episode got people thinking about changing their bagged lunches, too, and put a little voice in their heads that says, “What would Jamie pack?”
I'd love it if you would tell us about what goes in your child's packed lunch. Let's get some ideas for healthy bagged lunches that kids will like.
Related: More Jamie Oliver news on MNN.