Picture of the Day: Michelle O’s school lunch not fit for a prison inmate

The compartmentalized plastic tray is mostly empty, a sobering reality mocked by its cheery yellow hue. In one compartment is a scrawny fish fillet partly obscured by a small bun sitting, for some reason, astride the fillet. A second compartment contains what on first blush appears to be a handful of corn kernels but that, according to the school lunch menu (below), is actually brown rice, which by dint of the scale of its grains gives the viewer a far better appreciation of how utterly skimpy the portion of fish is.


So in what prison are these measly rations passed off as lunch? Actually, this repast was served Tuesday at James Hurst Elementary School in Portsmouth, N.H. The mother of a student there took the photograph shown and sent it to local station WAVY, which in turn provided the total lunch menu for that day. From it we learn that the delicacy shown is supposedly Spicy Cajun Fish w/Brown Rice. (Presumably, the last three bulleted items were intended to round out this oh-so-nutritious lunch, which judging from the portion size in the picture, probably provides 200 calories — a fraction of what a growing elementary school student needs.)

  • Spicy Cajun Fish w/Brown Rice
  • Cold Cut Turkey Sub (w/g)
  • Assorted Chef Salad (Croutons & Crackers)
  • Steamed Carrots & Side Salad
  • Fresh Orange or Canned Fruit
  • 1% or Skim Milk

The station reached out to Portsmouth Public Schools Food Service Coordinator Jim Gehlhoff, who said in a statement:

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We appreciate this parent’s concern about the presentation of this school lunch. Poor lighting and food presentation make this lunch unappealing. Other lunch options on the day this photo was taken included a chef’s salad and turkey sub sandwiches. The meal in this photo and other meals served by Portsmouth Public Schools meet nutritional and USDA requirements. The presentation of the meal pictured concerns us and we plan to address presentation of food items in a training session with all cafeteria managers. Our goal is to provide healthy food options that students will want to eat. We will take actions to ensure that presentation is addressed. [Emphasis added]

The highlighted sentence should be of concern to any parents of school-age children reading this.

Seeking to modify the eating habits of America’s youth, as the first lady espouses, is not a bad thing. As noted earlier today, we as a nation eat too much and too much of the wrong foods. Starving children, however, is not the answer. Neither is threatening to withhold funding from schools that refuse to participate.

Mrs. Obama should also find better advisers if she is going to be an advocate for more healthful eating. That would prevent her from making incorrect claims such as she did on a recent episode of the quiz show “Jeopardy” when she stated that sweet potatoes contain 400% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A. Actually one medium sweet potato provides 1215% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A for woman and 935% of the RDA for men. More importantly, you have to wonder whether Michelle Obama is aware that Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning it is not excreted in the urine, and that ingesting too much of it can be fatal.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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