What’s In Your Child’s Lunchbox?

Healthy LunchWhen I was growing up my school didn’t have a school lunch program. Every child in the school went home for lunch. Nowadays, that procedure seems bizarre, but it was definitely the norm for my elementary school.

Fast forward several decades and you find me with children of my own. When my son and daughter were in elementary school (at Hawthorne School) there was a school lunch program. So children had the option of bringing a sack lunch, eating school lunch or going home for lunch.

Since we only lived a couple of blocks away from school, they would sometimes come home for lunch. Once I started working at Hawthorne, however, the situation changed and they either brought a sack lunch or ate school lunch.

Let me digress here for a moment. For a lot of years I’ve been telling young families to try to stay in the moment as much as possible. I say this for several reasons, one of which is so you won’t have hazy memories of your kids’ childhoods. If you are in the present moment with them you’ll be better able to recall details from their lives in great clarity.

Obviously, back then I didn’t practice what I preach because I honestly can’t remember packing lunches for my kids. I’m sure I must have from time to time since they didn’t always eat school lunch and they both had lunchboxes. But what I packed remains a mystery to me.

These days there is much more emphasis on nutritious lunches, the farm to school hawthorne school myplatemovement, Gold Star schools etc. I think I mentioned in a previous post that Hawthorne is a Gold Star School, receiving the special designation for serving healthy lunches that meet certain standards.

It’s great that lunch programs are getting on board and working towards a healthy future for our kids by providing nutritious meals that they will like to eat. But what if your child refuses to eat school lunch and only wants to pack a lunch from home each day?

What can you do to be sure that you are providing your child with interesting lunches that are good for him?  Well, a good first step is to familiarize yourself with the USDA’s new MyPlate icon and guidelines for healthy food choices. Gone is the old food pyramid. You’ll want to read more about MyPlate and become one of those in the know!

Next, start brainstorming food options that will be both appealing and nutritionally beneficial to your child. As a parent you know her food idiosyncrasies better than anyone. It won’t do any good to pack a little baggie of sugar snap peas if she won’t touch anything green.

If you are stumped for ideas and need some suggestions, WebMD has a nice article that offers concrete suggestions for packing your child a nutritious lunch that won’t find its way back home at the end of the day. And isn’t it the goal of every parent to pack a healthy lunch that is eaten and actually enjoyed by your little one?

The web is full of ideas for healthy, home-packed school lunches for your child, so if you need some further suggestions, try one of these links listed below.

  • Medicinenet.com offers 15 suggestions for kids’ school lunches
  • Takepart.com tells you how to pack a healthy lunch for your child
  • WomansDay.com lists 13 ways to make your child want to eat his lunch

Or you can pull up many other sites that might interest you. You can search for ethnic foods, budget foods, leftovers that work well for school lunches, and many other search terms that will give you unlimited ideas on what to pack for your child’s lunch.

After investing a short amount of time doing research, you’ll have a large lunchbag of tricks for putting something healthy in your child’s lunchbox this school year. Just be sure to take a photo before you snap the lid closed. That way years down the line you won’t have to wonder what kind of lunches you sent your child off to school with!

Thanks for spending time with me today but I’ve got to leave you now. All this talk about healthy food has me ravenous and I’ve certainly gleaned some good ideas from the web on what to feed myself for lunch!

Hope you have a great week, one that is filled with healthy food choices for your family. Happy eating!

Cathie

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