Despite having a 2nd-grader in public school, I had no idea it was National School Lunch Week until I read the latest post on Marion Nestle’s blog, Food Politics. We are lucky to be part of a public school with an active parent body that includes a chef who is working to change the way our kids eat. That said, I was amazed to walk into the lunch room when my daughter started school to find that it hadn’t changed much since I stood in the lunch line 30 years ago. So what is a parent to do? Well, The Center for Ecoliteracy has published a 2nd edition of their guide, “Rethinking School Lunch” which offers a useful framework for how schools can provide healthier meals. It’s easy to download and my goal is to read it through by the end of the week.
In the meantime, we have taken to packing lunches for our two children which can be a challenge. Some days are dismal failures and I know immediately when I take the lunch box out of the backpack and it weighs the same as it did that morning. Sometimes they eat every last morsel. For the most part, we pack the same snacks and side dishes: string cheese, squeeze yogurt, fruit, veggies (almost never eaten), raisins… but we try to change up the main course. One daughter won’t touch sandwiches, the other we can’t trust with soups. But here is a general list of what goes in each week:
- Cream cheese with cucumber sandwich (or jam)
- Miso Soup (oddly, our oldest daughter would eat this every day) and rice
- Matzo ball soup
- Pasta Fagioli
- Pasta with pesto or tomato sauce
- Quesadillas (I don’t think these hold up very well)
- Beans + Rice
Peanut butter is out, of course, as are other nuts that would be good snacks. We are starting to get the timing down – heating up the food right before walking out the door with the vague hope that it will still be hot and appetizing by lunchtime. But we are looking for new ideas – what foods do you send to school with your child? Any triumphs? Humiliations? Please share!