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Never Seconds: A Young Girl’s Quest for Healthier School Lunches

A nine-year-old girl in Scotland has started a not-so-average blog. Martha Payne was so dissatisfied with her school lunches that she felt she needed to do something about it. Payne’s opinion about her lunches was that, “they’re a wee bit small and sometimes they’re not very nice either.” She also mentioned that she is a growing kid who is expected to concentrate on school and finds that hard to do when the food she receives at lunch is limited. Using her creativity and her love for writing, Martha decided she wanted to document what was going on in her school’s lunchroom. With help from her father David, this aspiring young writer started up the blog Never Seconds.

Never Seconds started on April 30th of this year and has since gone viral. Each day, Martha, under the user name Veg, takes her followers on an adventure of her school lunches. She starts out by taking a picture of her meals. She then rates the meal (“food-o-meter”) according to how it tastes, its portion-size, how healthy it is, how much she had to pay for it, and even how many hairs she found in it. She is also curious about what is going on at lunchtime at other school cafeterias. Students from all around the world email her and let her know what their meals are like. She then reports those findings to her followers.

Many of the documented meals at Martha’s school are cause for a lot of concern. Most of the meals are made up of tiny portions sizes and food that hardly has any nutritional value. One of Martha’s biggest requests was that she could start seeing more fruits and vegetables on her plate. Martha’s father, shocked by what his daughter was showing him, decided he wanted to help her make a change as well. After all of the international attention Never Seconds has received, Martha’s father met with the local city council about this issue. After debating the issue, Martha finally got her wish. As of May 17, students at Martha’s school are allowed as much fruit, vegetables, and bread as they want.

Excited by this change, Martha blogged to her followers about how thrilled she was. “For the first time ever I have seen at lunch cherry tomatoes, radishes, carrot and cucumber shredding,” In an interview with the British Broadcasting Cooperation, Martha’s father talked about how excited the teachers were for Martha to start up this blog. He also mentioned how the kitchen staff is not to blame for what is being put on student’s plates; he stated that somewhere along the way something went awry with school lunches. Since the new rules came into place, Martha and her father have talked about how willing the staff and students are to learn more about good nutritional choices.

Martha encourages everyone to get up and make a difference. She encourages young people to write about their lunchroom experiences. Martha is hoping that the new changes made in her school will be the start of many positive changes in school lunch programs around the world. If one young girl can make a positive change in such a short amount of time, hopefully others will be inspired to advocate for healthier school lunches as well.

You can access Martha Payne’s blog, by going to

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