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November 16, 2011

Trials and Triumphs of a School Lunch


Do you realize that between grades 1 and 8 there are approximately 4500 lunches made and packed for three kids who eat at school? 

One of my resolutions for this school year is to get the kids to make their own lunches. I am hoping that this will teach them responsibility- and that they might even eat all of their lunch if they pack it themselves. This isn't working exactly to plan but we have made some breakthroughs:
  1. The kids have become very well-trained at emptying their lunch bags when they come home from school. Their school employs the “boomerang lunch” approach, meaning that all garbage or uneaten food comes home. Sounds reasonable, right? I can see exactly what they’ve eaten (or not) and the school doesn’t have to deal with composting and other excess garbage. The problem is that certain food remnants do not travel well (think apple cores, banana peels, etc.). Eech. Now I don’t have to deal with the yuckies or, god forbid, food items left overnight in a backpack. They complain about it some days but they do it anyway (a triumph in my book).
  2. I have been struggling with getting two-thirds of the crew to eat more fruits and vegetables. They always go to school with two items from the aforementioned food group. Now when they get home from school and start circling the kitchen like vultures, they are instructed to first eat what is left in their lunch, most often a fruit and/or vegetable. After that I’m open to snack suggestions from the fridge or pantry.
  3. My children have finally discovered the joy of a hot lunch! After months of trying to be creative with sandwiches (not my personal favourite either), I finally persuaded them to take some hot leftover beef stew for lunch. It came home barely touched. Then I tried one of our go-to meals: pasta and meatballs. It was a hit! Two of them asked for it again today and the other for leftover shepherd’s pie. I think we’re finally on to something.
Baby steps mean progress in our house. Someday in the not-so-distant future I see them planning, preparing and packing their own lunches. Until then I’m happy with the direction in which we’re headed.
Bon appetit!
Image © Tomas Loutocky | Dreamstime.com

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