Barefoot by the Sea: School Lunches

Thursday, March 15, 2012

School Lunches

After that super tasty post yesterday about Pink Slime, I decided to do a post about what I send my daughter with in her school lunches.  We are lucky in that we have a district that is connected with the culinary program at our state collage, has their own greenhouse and garden and utilize local farms for their "fresh fruit and veggie program".  Schools across the country are getting better and making aggressive steps to ensure their schools have better food.  With that said, I know that school lunch programs could be better, they should be better.  When Heather from Townsend House stated that the USDA had purchased up all the extra "pink slime" to utilize in the country's school lunch program, it reminded me that we need to be outraged as parents, friends and people.  McDonalds passes on the pink slime so the USDA snaps it up?  Not all Americans are lucky enough to be able to make the choices that my family can by opting to send my daughter with a fresh lunch from home on a daily basis.  When I attended a screening of Two Angry Moms at our school (yay for the school for hosting this important movie), my oldest daughter was not yet a student there.  I immediately wanted to be part of the "movement" for change.  As time goes by, it's easy to think, "well, I'm providing my child with a wholesome, healthy lunch" but often times, need to remind myself this isn't just about my kids, it's about all OUR CHILDREN.  Don't we owe it to them to demand better food and healthier options in our school cafeterias?  This isn't a new fight but I'm thrilled that more people are demanding change.  The sad part is, it's an extremely slow process especially when you see how many people, corporations, etc that are involved.  Perhaps by the time my daughter's children are in school, they will be able to opt for the salad bar and there will not be a "chicken nugget" option on that lunch calendar.  (I'm sorry for all those nugget fans out there but anything that's shaped like a boot should not be in our child's weekly lunch!)  When in doubt, go for COLOR in their lunches!
Here are some relatively easy and inexpensive things that you can send your child to school with....

  • Black bean and veggie salad, along with tortilla or pita chips and applesauce, yogurt or fresh fruit.
  • Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, carrot sticks and an apple
  • Whole wheat wrap sandwiches with organic cream cheese and jam or fresh, in season fruit (bananas are always readily available and inexpensive) and pretzels
  • Greek yogurt and granola, we love Stonyfield's Organic Greek!
  • Pasta salad made with whole wheat noodles and seasonal veggies and an orange
  • Hummus, tabouli and crackers, along with a pear
  • Fruit salad and homemade cinnamon pita crisps, along with an cheese stick, we love these!
  • Waffle sandwich with grapes
  • Almonds, whole wheat crackers and peanut butter
  • Bean quesidillas with salsa and fruit
  • Soup and an English muffin

I also check out my favorite websites like Weelicious's Facebook page to inspire me to think out of the box and provide an array of healthy lunch options for my family.  I also consult my array of cookbooks for inspiration, here are a few of my favorites:  Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into your Cooking,  Real Food for Healthy Kids,  The Supernatural Kids Cookbook, Lunch Wars and Bean Appetit, borrowed from a friend and full of fun and fresh ideas for kids and healthy living.  As far as cookbooks, I don't like the idea of being "sneaky" by hiding fruits and veggies in our food, I would just rather get my children to enjoy healthy eating.   


What do you send your children to school with for lunch or do you opt for hot lunch?  I'd love to hear about anything new and healthy going on in your community school lunch program! 


Have a great Thursday! 

2 comments:

  1. Man, I wouldn't mind you making my lunch every day :-) It is so sad to see how our school lunch program is in the scheme of things. I understand that not everyone has access to fresh local produce, but we should all try to get involved in our communities to make it happen. A community garden, a kitchen garden for the schools, seek out farmers' markets. localharvest.org is a great resource if you are trying to source local food. Great post Jessica!

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  2. Abby won't eat school lunch. She likes to bring a sandwich on whole wheat bread-jam and peanut butter mostly. . Stonyfield yogurt. Carrot sticks. Dried cranberries. Dried apricots. Goldfish. Rice cakes etc.

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