Monthly Archives: August 2009

Peer Pressure and Healthy School Lunches

I posted last year about my daughter feeling a bit of peer pressure about bringing her lunch to school. She was afraid friends would tease her, even if no one had.

This year she’s actually had a classmate comment that she’s eating too much healthy food.

Sure, kid, whatever.

My daughter had no idea how to handle this, so we went over a few ideas.

First my husband and I asked if she knew what her classmate was eating. Nope, not a clue. They don’t sit together at lunch or anything, so she’s never seen what the other girl eats. She doesn’t even know if the other girl buys school lunch or brings it from home.

Then we talked about what she could say. Nothing snide, although it’s sure tempting. We suggested that they could talk about what each of them likes to eat for lunch.

I also reminded her that she got a comment from a teacher about only bringing healthy foods when I put a cookie in for a snack for the first day of school. Everything else very, very healthy, but schools are so insane about sugar these days that a single homemade cookie was cause for a reminder to only bring healthy things. I tend to think that cookie was probably better for her than a lot of what most school cafeterias serve, at least in combination with the other foods she had.

She was taking it a bit hard because this is her first year at a new school and that made the teasing just a little harder to deal with. It’s tough when you’re the new kid, even though I know there’s at least one other new kid in her class.

Fortunately, she also loves what I’ve been sending for the most part. Makes things a little easier even if her favorite lunches to bring aren’t exactly the classics.

Still, I’m trying to think of interesting but reasonably healthy treats I can include for her. It’s tough to balance teaching healthy eating habits with helping her to feel more comfortable as she adjusts to a new school but I know we can do it.

After This Revelation from Sigg, I’m Glad I Went with Klean Kanteen

Back when I bought my daughter’s Klean Kanteen (and we have one now for my husband to bring to work too), I took a long time deciding which brand to buy. Sigg’s a huge name, but in the end I chose Klean Kanteen because I would sooner trust stainless steel than coated aluminum.

Now that Sigg has admitted that their bottle liners do contain but not release BPA, I’m glad I did.

I thought they were wording things in a rather interesting way when I was doing my research. It was always about BPA not being released, very carefully avoiding answering the question of if it was present at all.

BPA doesn’t worry me that much a lot of ways, but there are enough questions about it that I would just as soon avoid it out of principle. Besides, you damage the coating you get exposed to aluminum, which has its own problems.

Now Sigg has admitted that they’ve had to change their liner formula to get rid of BPA. There are some really great articles on how all this went over on Z Recommends, Tree Hugging Family and Non Toxic Kids.

This kind of thing is a huge mistake for any company to make. Just because your evasive answer may have been technically accurate doesn’t mean people won’t feel betrayed when more information comes out. No one likes to feel as though they’ve been tricked.

Sigg’s going to have to do some repair work on their reputation after this mess.

Let’s Share School Lunch Ideas

One of the challenges I’ve always had is preparing a good lunch for my daughter. She pretty much won’t eat sandwiches (aside from once in a long while wanting a grilled cheese), won’t touch tortillas in her lunch (despite loving them at home) and is just generally picky about what she will eat for lunch at school. She particularly hates peanut butter or anything at all to do with nuts.

Here’s one of her favorites, which we call Sand and Shells:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 diced onion
1 cup cracked wheat
1 egg, beaten
2 cups water
12 oz. seashell pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in large frying pan. Saute onions, then remove and set onions aside.

Mix cracked wheat into beaten egg and mix until coated. Pour into frying pan and cook until egg is done. Pour in water, add onions, salt and pepper and allow to simmer on low heat.

It’s a really easy recipe and one of the few things I can make for her lunches that she will be excited about. Unless you want to count those awful canned raviolis, which she adores and I only keep on hand for when there are no other choices. Can’t always get to the store in time.

When the water has been absorbed, add in the sea shell pasta and butter. Mix and serve.

I always include some fresh vegetables and some fruit in her lunches. Some crackers or a bread roll and she’s pretty happy.

Once in a while there will be a dinner leftover that she will like well enough to want to take to school. Not as often as I’d like, but it happens. Mostly with one sort or another of pasta. Put a little pesto sauce on pasta, and she’ll wolf it down!

What about your family? What school lunch recipes really go over well. Let’s share ideas.

The Advantages of Walking the Kids to School

Yes, I know not everyone can walk their kids to school. It can be too far or just not fit in your schedule. But if you can find a way to make it work, there are a lot of advantages.

While it’s only at its worst for many schools at the start of the year, posts such as The Car Rider Circle of Hell are a great reminder of just how much of a pain it can be to pick the kids up after school in a car. It’s not a pretty sight.

Things aren’t that bad for my daughter’s school, which started last week. However, we did have cars parked all the way up to our house, 3 blocks away from the school for both the morning drop off and the pick up in the afternoon.

Obviously at that distance we walk. It would probably take more time to drive there.

Walking even part of the way has a lot of advantages over driving to the school. If you’re too far to walk, parking a short distance and walking the last bit still has some of the advantages.

1. Saving gas.

If you sit with your car idling while you wait in line to drop the kids off or pick them up, you’re wasting fuel.

2. Exercise.

Short distance or long, walking to the school means you’re getting some exercise.

3. Possible time savings.

This one depends on the situation at your particular school, but walking up to the school can mean you get in and out faster than the parents who drove there and are waiting in line. Doubly true the first few days of school, when more parents drive to the school.

4. Get to know other parents.

It’s really hard to talk to other parents when you’re all in cars. Get out and walk up however far the school allows parents to go and you have a chance to meet some of the other parents. This can be really great if you get to know the parents of your children’s friends.

5. Time to talk to your kids.

Yes, you can do this in the car too, but walking together can be particularly conducive to conversation. The walk to school last year was a special time for my husband and daughter to talk, for example.

Can you think of advantages I’ve missed?

Checked Out the Local Produce Stand

Since we now lack a garden, finding a good source of fresh produce has been pretty important to me. The Stater Bros here is adequate (the company started here in Yucaipa!), but I like having smaller and hopefully more local sources for my fruits and vegetables when I can.

There’s a fruit stand… small store, really, just down Yucaipa Blvd a ways. Their prices on their signs always looked promising, so I took a look the other day.

Not bad at all. A smallish selection but definitely cheaper than the grocery store. And the selection was far from inadequate.

I’m not certain as to where the farms they buy from are located, but there are quite a number of local farms, so I have my hopes on that score.