have both recently blogged about school lunches. Dana about the “emergency lunch” for kids who do not have the money to buy lunch. And, ASM tackled the question of what’s for lunch.
First, I will agree with Dana on the approach of giving the kids a cheese sandwich. I’m glad the kids are getting something to eat. And, with the budget short falls that districts have these days, the districts can’t be handing out free lunches without getting money from free/reduced lunches. I don’t know about other
districts, but ours is trying to figure out how to balance the budget without cutting 8 days out of the school year. But, I digress.
We fluctuate at our house between sack lunch and school lunches. When it is a sack lunch, we pack them a sandwich. Peanut butter & honey, peanut butter & apple, peanut butter & banana, or peanut butter & jelly. DJ is more of a turkey sandwich kid. We only buy grainy whole wheat bread, so that’s what they
get it on.
Occasionally we will shake it up and send them with cheese and crackers and maybe some pepperoni or turkey. They love it because it reminds them of “Lunchables” just without the expense. We have also done mini-bagels and cream cheese. Pitas are also a favorite. If I do that, I will put the ingredients together so they can assemble their own sandwiches.
Besides the sandwiches, we load them up with fruits and veggies. Fruit is usually an apple or banana. But, when our veggie delivery includes Kiwis, apricots or berries, we will throw those in there as well. Our kids love veggies, so we can pretty much toss anything into their lunch, and they are happy. Carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, and cherry tomatoes are just a few surprises they have gotten.
We will also put in there a granola bar of some sort or maybe some gold fish crackers. These are things we know they will eat after school. Sometimes we include a cookie or something with sugar, but generally speaking, we avoid it. We know if it is in the lunch, it will be the one and only thing eaten.
For a drink, we have them buy milk or we send them with chocolate soy milk (from Trader Joes). It doesn’t require refrigeration. The girls are addicted to the stuff. I won’t do juice. DJ has too many cavities, so I don’t want that sugar. Also, in our house, juice is like crack…they only want one more. I also don’t like the cost or the waste of individual juice.
So, now that I’ve painted a picture that my kids aren’t allowed sugar, I should point out that they are. We try not to highlight things with sugar as being special foods. We just don’t make it a major part of what they eat. Garbanzo’s parents banned sugary cereals and all sugary treats. So, when he was finally allowed, he gorged himself on them. And don’t get him started on brownies.
From a cost savings standpoint, we buy whole fruits and veggies. Around this area, I’ve noticed a trend in people buying the pre-cut apples or the carrot sticks or etc. I can do that myself, and it ensures we don’t give the kids too much. I see these packages of apples, for example, and know it would be too much for one kid and will likely get thrown away. We also buy big containers of things like goldfish crackers. I split them into reusable containers. We also buy blocks of cheese and cut it into sticks for the kids. Again, less waste, and it is usually less expensive if you do the math. (I do the same with yogurt too for the same reason.)