Hello, Lunch Tray friends, and happy 2022! I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday season.
With the start of this new year, I have some announcements to share:
Kid Food Coming Out in Paperback! 🎉
First, I just received the happy news from my publisher that my book, Kid Food, is at last coming out in paperback! The timeline was slowed by the pandemic, so I’m thrilled the book can now reach a wider audience at a lower price.
For those unfamiliar with Kid Food, it’s a big picture look at how we feed children in America and the many forces—cultural, economic, and biological—that inexorably push our kids toward ultra-processed foods and drinks. I wrote Kid Food to help parents understand why raising healthy eaters feels like such an uphill battle, but I also offer solutions—everything from parent-tested advice for individual activism to important measures we could (and should) enact at the national level.
You can read more about the book here, including reviews by food policy experts like Alice Waters, Marion Nestle, Mark Bittman, Eric Schlosser and others, and you can also read glowing praise from readers, drawn from unsolicited Goodreads and Amazon reviews.
Look for the paperback this summer.
Ending The Lunch Tray 😥
On a more melancholy note, though, I also need to tell you that this will be the last issue of The Lunch Tray. Here’s why:
When I launched this newsletter last January, I was initially delighted to serve as your kid/food news aggregator. I took nerdy pleasure in scouring the internet each week for relevant items, I was thrilled watch this readership steadily grow, and I was honored to learn that many journalists and food policy folks came to rely on the newsletter for new story ideas and to stay informed. After ten years of unpaid blogging on WordPress, it was also gratifying—and novel!—to be compensated for my work.
But at some point last year, I also had to acknowledge the newsletter just wasn’t serving me well.
For one thing, I’ve been pulling together The Lunch Tray on the weekends (for those who don’t know, I’m a senior writer at Texas Children’s Hospital during the week) and—let’s face it—there’s only so long a person can go without a true weekend off.
More importantly, though, after almost 12 years of focusing exclusively on one topic—children and food—I’m itching for a change.
To be clear, I still care deeply about kids’ health and remain greatly concerned (as everyone should be) that two-thirds of their diet consists of the same ultra-processed foods now compellingly linked with disease and poor health. So I anticipate that I’ll continue to write and comment about these topics from time to time.
But I also know that if I continue to publish The Lunch Tray each week, I’ll never have the mental space to stretch and grow as a writer. And since today marks the newsletter’s one-year anniversary, it seemed like the right juncture to bring it to a close. You’ll soon receive a cancellation notification from Substack and all paying subscribers will receive a prorated refund of their subscription fee. (One last thank you, lovely subscribers, for your past support!)
But This Isn’t Goodbye! 💕 💕
Even though I’m ending The Lunch Tray, we’ll still be connected! You’ll remain on my Substack mailing list, but under a new URL: bettinasiegel.substack.com.
I’ll eventually use this new, free platform as a general author newsletter, though it may a while before I get it going. (And if it’s not your thing, you can of course unsubscribe at any time.)
New Twitter Handle and Email 📬 ✉️
Since I’m no longer publishing The Lunch Tray, I’ve changed my Twitter username from @thelunchtray to @Bettina_Siegel, and I’ve similarly tweaked my Facebook author page and public email address.
Here’s all my new/current contact info in one handy place:
My prior @thelunchtray tweets still appear under my new @Bettina_Siegel handle, and I’ll continue to actively monitor my Lunch Tray inbox. Please stay in touch!
Thank you! 🙏 🙏
So many food policy people, school food professionals, parents, and others have supported me on this 12-year kid/food journey, which included 10 years of blogging, getting the chance to write for publications I’ve long admired, like the New York Times and Civil Eats, engaging in successful kid/food activism, writing my first book, creating this Substack, and so many other remarkable life experiences.
I'm grateful for every step of that journey, and I can only hope my work in this area made some small difference along the way.
Thank you again, and here’s to a healthier, brighter year ahead for all of us.