Tuesday, August 18, 2009

This is the way we do school lunch.....

School starts 3 weeks from today and frankly, we are ready. Ready for routine, freedom from some boredom and a little more time for this mom. It also means I will be making lunches times three. It takes a little getting used to again but this will be our 2nd school year of the kids eating lunch from home about 90% of the time. There are a few reasons...it is expensive for three kids eating hot lunch...$30 a week and more because my oldest sometimes does not get filled up on 6 mini corn dogs. Which leads me to another reason, almost everyday the menu consists of something fried. Really? and they think it is healthy. They even show the average calories and other nutritional facts for each week...the average calories for each meal is over 600 and the sodium is through the roof! It appears most of the meals fat content is within the 30% of calories but only becasue the calories are so high, still does not mean it is good fat. There is also very little fiber witch is growing problem with children. I realize that districts have budget constraints and that is some areas that is the only large meal a day many kids get. So my kids have a few favorite on the hot lunch menu and I allow them to eat that once in awhile...interesting thing is the menu items they love are the healthier options....chicken fajitas and taco salad. I have been learning how to send a variety of things. My kids sometimes get a sandwich pretzels and an apple but that is when there is nothing else in the house. We have been varying the sandwich, opting for veggies and dip or something else crunchy and other fruits and occasionally yogurt. My kids do not buy milk, as we also limit there dairy intake. They all take water and occasionally 100% juice but water is the best choice in my opinion. This year we are looking for more ways to be "green" in how we pack the lunches. Somethings I have found our way too expensive so I was pleased to see Rubbermaid is coming up with affordable improved options that will fit in lunch bags. We will also be watching the clearance of kid sized lunch thermos containers so we can embark on sending hot lunch from home. My kids were thrilled at the thought of homemade chicken wild rice soup, spaghetti or chili in their lunches.
I know this way does not work for all but it does for us.


  1. My kids have never had hot lunch school. It is 3.00 per meal here and I find that way to expensive for what they get. Especially with three kids in school. It would be nearly 50.00 per week for my kids to have hot lunch and it is not even homemade lunches like we used to have....it is over processed things that they warm up in the microwave....EWWW! Interestingly enough all the teachers at our elementary school have microwaves in there classrooms ( that is where they eat lunch) so we have the option of sending left overs and they can reheat them...they love that. One thing, I have found that works great in school luches, is gogurt. I buy the big boxes at sam's and put them in the freezer...the kids love them for a healtheir option to freeze pops. but hey also helo keep the other things in the lunch box cold. Most of the time they have thawed out by lunch time but they still are a hit, you alos don't have to worry about packing a utensil. I have been trying to find some sort of small insulated bottle thingy to send milk to school with Cede...she will not drink juice.

  2. Love the ideas, and be sure to clue me into the thermos you find. I still haven't found one the right size for the right price.
    One other nice thing about "home lunch" as my daughter calls it, is that I usually send a note for her eyes only and sometimes a little extra treat (fruit snack, licorice, small candy from their stash from the previous holiday, etc.)Wow, to get a special treat from mom really makes her feel loved,and she loves the surprize.

  3. We ate hot lunch quite a bit as kids, but I remember the food was always crap. I miss those old plastic lunch boxes we had as kids - they always came with a thermos.

    I found this lunch box system on the Vegan Lunch Box blog and have thought several times about getting one for myself. You can see here how she uses the system to pack her son's lunches. They even have thermoses! She also posted earlier this year about a couple of other "green" options.