Tag Archives: school lunch

Ever Get Comments About Your Child’s School Lunches?

My kids bring lunch to school pretty much every day. I’m good at making their lunches on a small budget, and it allows me to include fresh vegetable and healthier ingredients in their lunches. What amazes me are that the kids get comments on their lunches, not too much from the other kids, but from the adults around them at the school.

My oldest says that her lunches fascinate one of the yard duties. My daughter often takes leftovers from the night before, plus a carrot or other fresh vegetable. It doesn’t often much resemble what other kids bring, from the little I’ve seen. No bag of chips, no juice box. It’s not always perfectly healthy or balanced, but it averages pretty good. My daughter eagerly awaits the next batch of homemade chicken soup so she can start bringing it to school, as it’s a favorite.

My son doesn’t get nearly so many comments, mostly because he’s in a big peanut butter and jelly phase. That’s all he ever wants for lunch. It’s cheap, and I’m glad of the protein in the peanut butter, but it’s not my favorite lunch for him overall. But when you pack school lunches, you want to be sure that the food will be eaten, and that’s what works right now. I hope it changes soon.

The key to a good packed school lunch is to make one that your kids will eat and not overmuch miss the junk that their friends will probably bring along. It pays to listen to what your kids want. Provide favored healthy foods, and they aren’t as likely to trade them away.

I don’t do all the packing for my kids’ lunches, and I think that’s a part of what helps. I pack the main dish, they pick sides and snacks from what we’ve agreed is allowed. This keeps it healthy yet it was their decision in part, rather than entirely my own.

Certainly they sometimes miss the foods they see other kids bringing, but not too badly so far. They know chips and such as an occasional treat, not a daily food. I’m hoping this will help with lifelong eating habits, although one can never be certain of that. Still, this is the time to try.

It’s really a lot of fun packing school lunches that are healthy enough to get positive and intrigued comments from others. It’s a little way for my kids to stand out in a positive way.

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.

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.