Tuesday, April 6, 2010

what's for lunch?

I've added a new item on my sidebar, promoting the Fed Up With Lunch blog as well as Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution.  CD and I have been changing our family's eating habits slowly since Pook was born.  We very seldom buy anything prepared and we eat at fast food places only as a last resort on road trips.  But...  I am lazy about lunches.  We try to send a lunchbox with the boys at least once a week, but they like the school food and are happy to eat there.  The process is so simple (we even pay online) that it is easy to never give it any thought. 

I have a great list of lunch ideas stuck to the side of the fridge, but we don't refer to it much.  We send the same few things that are quick to pull together, and we don't send lunches often enough.

Today the boys took lunchboxes.  Bug had a slice of leftover homemade pizza (Pook made the crust for us in the bread machine.), half a large apple, a refillable bottle of water and some nasty frosted-animal-cookies-that-I-bought-on-impulse-and-try-not-to-admit-that-I-like. Pook took a bowl of homemade hummus, pita chips, a banana, water and a few of the aforementioned evil cookies.  (Usually they take the same lunch but Bug forgot his yesterday and so is taking it today instead.  Pook ate leftover pizza yesterday.)

They are missing out on this: (from the school lunch menu)

breaded chicken sandwich OR breaded fish sandwich on wheat bun
choose 2:
carrot & celery sticks with ranch dressing
green beans
fruit cocktail
fresh pair
and mac'n'cheese for all.
And the choice of chocolate or 2% milk or "real 10% fruit juice" (actually referred to as "fortified juice drink")

So, the food isn't so awful.  There are fruits and vegetables, some of them fresh and not canned.  However, they don't cook on site; everything has been frozen or bagged and delivered.

The worst to me is not the food, and is a completely different issue as far as teaching kids bad habits for life.  The county uses styrofoam trays, plastic baggies with plastic spoons and plastic straws and napkins thinner than tissues.  We were challenged by a summer nature camp to make waste-less lunches and we no longer have anything disposable in them besides paper napkins in the lunchboxes.

The school system can do better.  So can we.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like our house. I had big plans when we bought AJ's first lunch box, a laptop lunch with lots of little containers, real utensils and a reusable bottle that all zip neatly into its case. The problem is, my kid doesn't like to eat. I used to make lots of creative and beautiful things, bento art. It was nutritious, environmentally friendly and beautiful. But he wouldn't eat it. Now he has school lunch 2-3 times a week and we keep working on lunch alternatives, but it's usually just PB&J and sliced apples because everything else brings complaints. He comes by it honestly. I was a PB&J every day girl myself.

    That said, my own lunch inspiration has been Jennifer McCann's Vegan Lunchbox blog (now mostly defunct, but worth reading through) and the cookbook she wrote to go with it. We're not vegan, but the recipes are great and she gave me great ideas for how to rethink the whole idea of lunch.

    Our school is facing too many problems right now to take on lunch too, but I'd love to see healthier meals and more fresh food to back up the messages they get in gym class about staying healthy. And while they're at it, I wish they'd find fundraisers that don't involve fast food or the overpackaged overprocessed overpriced products from Market Day. One hurdle at a time, though.