Wednesday, September 19, 2012

School Lunch Ideas

School is in! For my oldest, this marks the beginning of many years of going to school all day, 5 days a week. I thought I was ready. My sweet child is handling it like a champ. I am not. Day 1 was was a half day. Day 2 was a really long day for me. It hit me that his teacher now sees him more than I do. She is now a huge influence in his life. I'm lucky: I actually like her! I will manage. I will get used to the new routine. I enjoy watching my kids grow and gain independence. Eventually I'm guessing I'll wonder how I managed when they were home all the time.

Another struggle of going to school all day...lunch. I've watched enough of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution to know school lunches contain a lot of well, crap. On the other hand, we do live in a district where it seems they are trying to do some of the right things and if I let him eat the school lunches he just might try some new things. It's funny how they are more willing to try new things at other places. At the end of the day, he made the decision for me and reminded me how much they pick up. He assumed I would be sending him with lunch based on some of my comments/actions in the past (I hope they weren't too over-the-top). Excellent! Decision made.

Now begins the struggle of what to send. I've read ideas from other mommy-bloggers, but for some reason it seems they normally involve girls who willingly eat fruits, veggies, and even salads (no joke)! Make no mistake: I subject my kids to fruits and veggies on a daily basis and we even have fun times picking these things out at the store or the CSA, but for the most part, they don't eat them. (My younger one does eat most things fruit, but not my older guy.) Also, the first few days I sent him with his lunch, I sent a little more than what he would normally eat and it wasn't enough. He came home with an empty lunch box, stating that he was still starving afterwards.

Below is a list of the foods I've come up with so far this year to send in his lunch. These might not work for every kid, but maybe it'll give you an extra idea or two. My child loves sandwiches! If you have other ideas, please comment with those as well. I think we can all use as many ideas as we can get on this one!

  • Pizza Rolls (think like a cinnamon roll only with pizza ingredients, not the store-bought mystery meat frozen variety)
  • Mac & cheese (healthy brand, without the coloring & such. I like Crazy Bugs, but was just told those aren't cool for school)
  • Sandwiches rolled up in flatbread (filling & fun, with nitrate-free deli meat)
  • Sandwiches in whole wheat pita pockets
  • Quesadillas (melted cheese between 2 tortillas)
  • Veggie Rotini with a little olive oil
  • Hot dog "squids" (nitrate-free, cut the hot dog, insert dry whole wheat noodles & cook per noodle directions, see pic)
  • [Jury still out on this one, as the rice paper turned chewy, maybe I'm doing something wrong???] Sandwiches rolled in rice paper (think spring roll: buy the paper & some noodles at the oriental store, get the paper damp, put whatever ingredients inside you want, along with the noodles & roll it up)
Along with these "entrees" some of the sides I've included are the few fruits he will eat, raisins, peanut butter cracker sandwiches, hummus cracker sandwiches, veggie chips and cashews. All along with a couple Hershey Kisses and a little note from mom that I couldn't resist!