I don’t know about you but, I am new at this whole going to school thing! And let me tell you (or should I let my kids tell you)
…I had no idea what I was getting myself into-regarding lunches!!!
They are THE thing!
And if you aren’t doing it, your kids…and other kids…will notice!
I mean, I thought a healthy lunch consisted of what I got in my lunch bag (a brown paper bag with my name written on it) when I was a kid, and that was: A peanut butter and Jam sandwich on white bread, a granola bar, one piece of fruit and maybe a juice box.
(We only eat whole wheat-so, for the bread–I must have got bonus points)
But long are the days of PB&J Sandwhiches, so many people have allergies. One time I sent the wrong sandwhich to the wrong son by accident and a child in his class almost had a seizure!! This is serious business. So, the next day I lined my kids up and said no more Peanut butter at all! I was not about to have anyone die on my watch! They moaned and cried, but forget it-It is a NO!
Then, comes the granola bar-which is so loaded with preservatives. I tried to make them on my own and well, now they are getting store bought muffins. I am not sure if that is any better yet.
Then the one piece of fruit is not enough, you have to include the rainbow of exotic foods, it feels like. AND THEN, no juice boxes are allowed because they don’t like the carbon footprint of them, and/or the fact that kids spill them and it becomes sticky. So only water-BUT, the bottles have to have a pop up lid and not a twist off lid, so the teacher doesn’t have to help them…then, there is no fruit cups allowed because they have a syrup, no nuts in anything, so no certain breads, no, no, no!
Honestly, sometimes, I have NO IDEA what to feed my kids!
On top of all that, you have to have cute cut-outs and minion shaped something or other. I tried this for a while…it is like a job!
I tried chicken wraps, meat sandwiches, homemade meat and cheese stackers with crackers (got a letter home from the school saying it wasn’t healthy enough-it had cheese, meat, bread, lots of fruit, and a drink-I almost pee’d myself laughing at that letter-anyway-They, I am sure, would have approved one of those little store bought lunchables, which has half the amount of food I put together for the; crackers, cheese and meats?) I have also tried soups, fried chicken, salads, roll-ups, rice, homemade pizza….Yet, so many things can come back barely eaten! So what is the use?
Not to mention, that this all costs way more money than some old-fashioned soup and sandwiches at home!
I have come to learn that, competing, is not living up!
I can not compete and live up to the standard that everyone else it placing on my family. It isn’t fair. We have 7 mouths to feed and a small budget to work with. We will make things last and do our best to have great lunches but, it is not something to fuss too much over.
Here are my few tips to a stress free School Lunch:
Don’t look to the Jones’ and their Pintrest perfection!
Let the kids know that you focus on other areas of their life and that cute cut-outs are a special rarity that you can try to aim for, but don’t feel pressured to do it! Get inspirations sure, but, don’t sweat those small things. If you have time for it and the energy…buy all means! But, don’t let it be the standard that you have to live by, compare yourself to, and if you don’t achieve, you have failed as a mother! Be realistic! If your child is getting teased over what he is or isn’t eating, take it up with the teacher and nip it in the bud. Nobody should have to feel bad for eating anything! Some children only get rice and beans-some only rice. We are blessed and need to remember that!
Keep it balanced!
Make sure that you’re providing the essentials to good nutrition. You are the providers, if they don’t want to eat it…it is the child’s choice. You can’t force them, but you can provide well for them and encourage them with some variety. That way you know they are getting all the vitamins and nutrients that they need at school to learn with. Don’t feel like you have to provide the rainforest though. Some of those exotic fruits etc, are expensive and the kids don’t even eat it! Give them antioxidant blueberries instead. They are great brain foods. Opt for Kiwi for something fun!
Understand what your kids like!
One thing I always make sure I do, is make the kids eat their lunches when they get home for their after school snack-if they haven’t eaten it at school. Sometimes they are just too busy at school to get to it and I don’t want that food to go to waist. Other times, they are being picky and then I can monitor what they have/have-not eaten and keep tabs for the next week. This goes a long way but, it is not to rule over good nutrition in the end. Use your own judgement on this one. If your child is bringing home the apples, the sandwich and the cheese, yet eating the granola bars and small treats only-You know that they are just being picky!
Make sure supper is finger-licking-good!
I really try to make good tasty-homemade-clean-balanced-meals. They are usually full of salads, some pastas, rice, potatoes, corn, and good lean proteins! I also cook with a variety of ethnicities to enhance culture awareness, but also good health. There is a lot of nutrients in different spices and herbs. They need healthy meals for growth and I always make sure there is enough food for them to have more!
Thank God for His Provisions!
Not only do I require my children to be grateful for what they have received by me as a parent, knowing that I will do everything that is in me to provide good, healthy, and lovingly-prepared-for meals but, then I must also live up to that same standard. I must be thankful for the portion which God has given to me, in order to provide for my children, knowing He too thinks of only the best for His children.
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.” KJV
So, what works for you? How does your schools fair? Are there any crazy restrictions that you have to face?
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