ANNIE'S MAILBOX: School lunches don’t cut it

By Kathy Mitchell

and Marcy Sugar

Dear Annie: Our nation’s schools provide the majority of American children with at least one of their daily meals. Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of the school meals do not measure up to national nutrition standards. This is worrisome because we know how important food is to the development of healthy bodies and minds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering requiring our schools to add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to their breakfast and lunch meals, while also lowering the levels of fat, sodium and calories.

These measures are steps in the right direction, but to keep these efforts moving forward, our nation’s policymakers need to know they have the public’s support. Our website,, has information on how your readers can help ensure all students are offered safer, healthier school meals.

Now is the time to focus on America’s children. They deserve a healthy start.


Erik D. Olson, Deputy Director of the Pew Health Group’s Food Portfolio

Dear Erik Olson: Those of us who remember school lunches understand that expedience and cost were the overriding factors in what was served. While some children learn about healthy food at home and are disciplined enough to make wholesome choices on their own, many are not as well educated about proper nutrition or have difficulty resisting temptation. Healthful offerings at school can make a huge difference. We hope our readers will check your website and see how they can help our children grow up strong and healthy.

Dear Annie: I am looking forward to my beautiful daughter’s wedding. She wants her father, my ex, to walk her down the aisle. He comes from a very dysfunctional family, and none of them speaks to the others.

My ex, who is helping to pay for the wedding, insists that no invitations go out to any of his family. He has threatened to walk out if any of them attend. However, unbeknownst to him, our daughter has developed a good relationship with her “Aunt Marie and Uncle John.” They have been there for her and contributed so much to her life. They even put hours of labor into upgrading her newly purchased home.

Obviously, my daughter very much wants to invite this aunt and uncle. Should she disregard her father’s wishes and risk the chance that he will not be any part of her wedding? She could ask her stepfather to escort her down the aisle. He has raised her for the past 15 years. However, she loves her father and does not want to alienate him. It is terribly important to her that he give her away. What should she do?

Mother of the Bride

Dear Mother: We dislike it when people issue ultimatums about who can be invited to what. Your ex-husband has put his daughter in a terrible position on her wedding day. She needs to talk to him, explaining that her aunt and uncle have been very good to her, and it would mean a lot if he would be flexible enough to include them. If he refuses to reconsider, your daughter must decide how important it is that her father, and not her stepfather, walk her down the aisle. Sorry.

Email your questions to, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.

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