Friday, August 30, 2013


School lunches.
I hate 'em.
Don't get me wrong, the school's are definitely trying to make school lunch more healthy for children, but the problem is, I know that my kids won't eat much of what they serve for those lunches. 
Turnip greens? Black bean salad? Baked (soggy, I'm sure) tilapia on a whole grain bun? Orange Chicken w/ whole grain vegetable rice? I'll give them credit, but this is stuff my kids would hardly touch at home with prompting (and bribing) from me.  Left to their own accord... looking at that food that's been sitting in a school cafeteria kitchen all day and surrounded by friends who are enough of a distraction from eating even an appealing lunch, and I'm not sure much of that food gets eaten. What good is a cafeteria full of healthy(ish) options if no one actually consumes anything but the lowfat chocolate milk? Let's stick with kid friendlier food and make it real, good tasting food, okay?

Needless to say, my kids, hands down, day after day, choose to bring their lunch to school.
(Except Mondays... sometimes Sawyer chooses to buy Mondays because it's of course Cheesy Flatbread Pizza)
In fact they resist school lunches so much (seriously, sometimes I just want a break from lunches! can't you just eat cafeteria food for one day?!), it has become their "punishment" for not emptying their lunchbox from the day before.  If they leave their day's lunch in their backpacks and I don't have an empty lunchbox on my kitchen counter when I'm ready to pack a new one, I dole out the money.  And they hate that. ;)

But packing a lunch to send to school every day gets really old for me — figuring out things my kids will eat that will fill them up and give them the good energy they need... things that will survive the trek to school and sitting in a lunch box... and then take peanut butter options out of the equation as well... it's what I hate most about the school year. :(  I feel like I'm constantly trying to come up with things that are healthy, appetizing to a 2nd and 5th grader, good hot, cold or room temp, and are easy to make and eat??? Lunch -even at home- has never been my forte.

So these have kind of been my go-to's so far this year:
whole grain waffles w/peanut butter or nutella, hard boiled egg, fruit and yogurt
whole grain mini bagels w/ cream cheese and turkey, sugar snap peas and carrots, fresh fruit
spinach salad w/ ham bits, mandarin oranges and raspberries, carrots, cheezits
pizza quesadillas, cucumber slices, applesauce, pirates booty
pepperoni stick, cheese stick, fig newtons, yogurt, carrots
muffins (usually carrot/zucchini/berry/bran varieties), deli meat, cottage cheese, fruit

That's it. Pretty much the same old things rotating all year long.
Sawyer won't eat sandwiches.  Or pretty much any vegetable besides carrots. (he'll eat spinach if he has a canned mandarin orange segment to eat with every bite of spinach. weirdo.)  And he doesn't like berries, fresh oranges, peaches or bananas.
Savannah isn't so picky, but you never know what she's "in the mood for". (i.e. what comes back home uneaten that day)

Savannah leaves for school a bit later than Sawyer does this year, so I've decided to see how it goes giving her her own lunch responsibility.  (this may or may not have to do with the fact that she cannot seem to remember to not leave her lunch box in her backpack every. single. night. -and weekend!)(and the tears and stomping that ensue when I try to enforce my "I don't have a lunch-box so I can't pack a lunch, here's your lunch money" rule)(every morning)(seriously.)

So she's started making her own lunch. Supposedly following my "protein + vegetable + fruit + grain" requirement. Which meant today she basically packed the same thing that I packed for Sawyer.
But she did it herself. Because I refused to, when at 7:45am I still hadn't seen her lunchbox return from the day before.  She slathered a couple of mini bagels w/ cream cheese, cut up a nectarine, threw in some snap peas and grabbed a frozen yogurt tube and called it good.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel of my dreaded lunch-packing days... ;)

Any other great packable lunch ideas for me?? Well, for me and my non-sandwich eating, dip hating, most fruit and veggie boycotting seven year old??


Anonymous said...

Hmmm... cottage cheese? Does he like any noodle/ravioli type options- they have good ones in the health food section or even the weigh watcher frozen types packed with a little more protein, etc in their simple cheese variety. This is my not favorite household task either...really, you all need 3 meals + snacks!

Leslie Collins said...

what about hummus? or, chicken salad. the girls love both of those.

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