Monday, September 21, 2009

Making Lunch...


I loved watching Beastie Boy, Mike D busting out his sons' school lunches on his wife's online cooking show... He's so incredibly famous and cool, and yet his morning routine is strikingly similar to mine. Nice.

I mentioned a while back that I'd abandoned the plan to let Audrey buy lunch at school after volunteering in the cafeteria. (Basically, I was completely freaked out when my otherwise fruit loving daughter passed-up both orange wedges and a bananna and selected a hamburger, french fries and chocolate pudding for lunch.)

The situation at her school is decent in that the kids have healthy items to choose from like the aforementioned fresh fruit + little cups of broccoli and baby carrots with ranch, etc...but the main dishes are pretty crummy -- lots of fried foods, lots of processed foods, and they consider things like apple juice and pudding a side dish, which to me is completely unacceptable.

What left me so bummed out and demoralized though was this notion that no matter how much you reinforce with your kids the importance of making healthy food choices, (and I truly believe many parents do just that) they will still pick pudding over baby carrots 9 out of 10 times if given the choice. This was exactly the case that day I volunteered in the cafeteria -- every. single. kid. picked the pudding. And most kids LOVE oranges... I'm just saying.

The easy solution would be for the school NOT to offer pudding as a side dish, no? Seems so very obvious, but in the meantime, the plan is to pack Audrey's lunch four days a week and let her buy once a week. We look at the menu together on Sunday evening and decide which day looks best. She usually goes for pizza day, but enchiladas are a close second.

Now my daughter is a major creature of habit. I went into the packing lunch exercise with the goal of mixing things up each day to keep lunch exciting, but she's happiest with a core lunch of peanut butter (I buy organic) on wheat bread (she loves really dense wheat bread, which is great!) with no crusts. I do try to change up the sides a little bit. She gets fruit or some organic apple sauce, a little yogurt or a cheese stick and some pirate's booty or a few organic pretzels. + she has a little Sigg bottle for water. I also throw in a Newman's Own cookie, so she doesn't feel totally deprived of anything fun.

We pack it all in little reusable containers in an insulated lunch box with a sweet note and a fun napkin. My little budding environmentalist puts the napkin back in her lunch box if it's not too dirty. I of course promptly threw it away every night until she informed me Friday afternoon that she's trying to save the earth here (her words) and that she's been trying to give me clues, but I'm just not getting it.

Clearly I'm not hip to the ways of my six-year old ├╝ber tree hugger... My bad.

10 comments:

  1. Joslyn, I am right there with you. I pack four days and week and let the kids buy on Fridays. We have a good vendor at our school but the kids get to select their food. One week my son passed the fruit because he ran out of space due to his cookie and chocolate milk. No bueno! He can't even handle dairy. Anyway, I'm a lunch packin' mama most of the time too. I've started posting some of our lunches. I try to change it up a bit and get them eating other things. So far, so good. I think I get away with more if I make it a little interesting. Fight on, sister.

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  2. i will always remember in high school when they upgraded french fries from an a la carte snack to the "french fry meal" whereby you could order a huge plate of french fries, add a milk and a juice and call it a meal. how could the school board think that's a good idea??

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  3. I really loved your post about "how much are you willing to pay for good food?" I feel the same way, going to whole foods and farmer's markets etc. but it's hard to swallow the bill sometimes. If it's not too personal, I would love some follow-up posts about your shopping trips for a family of 4, things you're doing to re-think food spending etc. As for school lunch--it's really quite atrocious.

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  4. i loved this post too (love her blog!). makes you think. i'm not quite there yet as my son is only 3 but i dread the day. i like your approach though, helps her make choices.

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  5. Ha Ha, has your 6 year old been talking to my 6 year old? I try so hard every day to make lunch interesting, but he really will eat the same thing every day. I wonder when he will get sick of it.

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  6. Audrey has to be the coolest kid ever! I adore that she is a little tree hugger - go Audrey go!

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  7. i love the napkin saving. that is absolutely precious :)

    kristen

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  8. I loved this post thanx heaps. I am still at the young end of the kiddo feeding scale with a 3 yo and a 10 month old. When I think of making school lunches in the future that are nutritious and filling but also survive the day in our sometimes extreme weather conditions my brain almost freezes.
    I lol at the oranges part..... when I worked in health promotion we set up a healthy eating stall at the schools sports day we were making healthy toasted sandwhiches on grain/wheat bread, vegetable soups, we had water and oranges everything was donated and funded for so it was free (our point was to get the kids to try alternatives). we were set up next to the canteen selling chocloates, pies, soft drinks etc..... nothing healthy.... and we "sold out" in the first hour.... we were running around town begging for more stock!!

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  9. My husband eats a lot like a 5-year-old at times. He just transferred job locations from the middle of downtown (tons of "food court" options) to a less-central location (only the work cafeteria). He often chose pizza or a burger and fries, but now he is starting to pack a lunch with healthy choices. So it's not just kids!

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  10. I have been delving into your archives a little as I just found your blog tonight. I love your little tree-hugger! I have one, too and mine is starting school next year, so this is a great help. Also, I found your mini detox posts, and as I'm turning 30 in 10 days, I've been inspired to spend those 10 in detox--foodie style. Thanks! Anna

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