Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good Luck with that Healthy Lunch

Every other blog I read (meaning those where people are making money off them or a topic other than about their family) seem to be tooting their horn about that amazing healthy lunches they are providing for their children while in school. I mean really, kids cannot be fooled by your expensive bento box! And stop being so judgmental about those kids and their mothers who make sandwiches with white bread!

Well I am not on trend. This morning I sent both my kids with juice boxes, chips, granola bars (hold the flax seed thank you), and chocolate zucchini muffins with chocolate chips (just to get those veggies in wink wink). I call it the grab and go method. Whatever is pre-made that I can grab and go sprinkled in with the occasional tortilla roll up (pb and honey).

Cause really I do want my kids to eat healthy, school lunches is not where I am pushing it. Cause really those lunches are just a commodity. Its a system! To trade for other things. While I know I'm not expert on the school system bartering, I just asked my 3rd grade son, what his friends pack in there lunch.

Well see ________ (Insert name of bright boy whose mom packs a super healthy lunch) gets a sandwich on wheat bread, an apple, a juice and then he mentioned something else healthy. "But then he tries to trade with someone else".

Here are other awesome quotes from Luke this morning.
"Sometimes I trade someone two chips for something or sometimes they will give it for free"
"When ____'s mom gives him an apple, we love it cause then we play apple smash and all take turns smashing it on the ground."

Did ya hear that one?

"Ya mom, I don't eat those oranges and pears you send either."
"Actually, ___ doesn't eat his sandwich, fruit or cheese, he doesn't eat anything."

But guess what, he eats them always at home, and likes them too. My kids eat pretty dang good and adventurous, but we usually have dessert every day. Sometimes twice a day.

Cause what have I tried? Everything. Cucumbers, grapes, string cheese, go-gurts, drinkable yogurts, homemade granola bars, dried fruit, nuts....yadda yadda yadda bla bla bla

Nothing. Just ends in the trash or still in the lunch when they get home from school. But the thing is my kids like healthy stuff, just not in their lunches at school is what I've learned. They want something fun.

So now I make what they like and save the super healthy for at home. I was raised by fruit roll-up and sugar cereal eating household with a picky mom who didn't like much healthy stuff and Jason was raised with the largest garden in the world with multiple veggies served at every meal and that man has completely rejected the eating of his youth. I don't think he even remembers the taste of fruit actually. He will eat corn on the cob smothered in butter still or salad with ranch and no weird stuff.

I love food. Food is fun. I want my kids to love food. Food creates memories. But there has to be some balance. I want my kids to appreciate spaghetti squash as much as I want them to enjoy eating mom's no bake cookies. I loved coming home from school to my moms fresh made cookies. Or having caramel popcorn watching a movie.

As far as the healthy, exposure is what I believe in. Exposure and chips maybe ;) Chips can be used for so many different things, like keeping kids happy at Costco. But I want to expose them to lots of different foods, regions, colors, etc. Indian, Italian, Japanese, etc. Like the lemon cucumber. Or a persian cucumber. Cause those are so fun cause you can just hold them and eat them while watching tv since they are about 6 inches long. I love that my kids love hummus. The girls at least.

But I will still serve chocolate cake for breakfast. Sometimes, maybe only once or twice a year. And we have whipped cream with our pancakes. Because those are the things they will remember.

Can we still be friends? You with your fancy bento box lunch filled with things that will be smooshed on the ground? Or maybe your kid is so sweet and gobbles up those cherry tomatoes still. They must be in kindergarten and not jaded from more elementary years. My bad, I'm making assumptions. Maybe you are a perfect mom and your perfect kid is old and eats everything perfectly. But really, why should my son know what is in your son's lunch? He has it memorized. Because they sit by each other every day and watch in each others stuff. I bet your son knows what my sons eats too. But don't worry, I'll have Luke give your boy a chip if he wants one.

Here is my hot tip.

Down with healthy lunches! More chips please! Save the healthy stuff for when they are under your watchful eye and you can witness them eat it. Last nite, we had fish with lemon, butternut squash and couscous. Done. We had zucchini too, but all decided it was gross, myself included. Luke's other quote "Mom, I just like zucchini in salads." I'll take it.

p.s. I do think those bento boxes are very cute. I'll just buy them when Walmart or Target starts selling them cheaper. :) I'm sure M & Ms would look really cute in them too.

p.p. s. today i asked "What did you trade your lunch for?" Well, Luke traded his chocolate zuuchini muffin for that same boys sandwich today, cause he said it looked like a subway one and had lettuce on (luke is a sucker for sandwiches with lettuce), my guess that means it was on a hoagie bun. Luke said the kid had taken off the lettuce cause he didn't like it but Luke put it back on. Funny kid. Then, he said the kid tried to trade the muffin for a girls donut because she had two, but she said no, that her grandma doesn't like when she trades....oh the drama of the cafeteria!


christy said...

I try to teach my kids to eat healthy but they get treats too. I just try choose the healthier version of the snacks they like. They like all natural cheetos and chips are natural already. They like fruit leather and costco has all natural fruit snacks. We do eat wheat bread but my kids like it and there is a yummy kind made locally that tastes more like white. My kids love to eat good food but lunches are limited because they can't really eat good hot food from home and the school's is processed junk so I let them pack their own lunches and they do eat it. Some kids were trying to con them out of their grilled cheese sandwiches yesterday and they said no way. the sugar battle is not one i want to fight right now. at least they have juice instead of soda.

Crazy Lady said...

ooh grilled cheese, christy, I haven't tried that. good idea. i have done leftover pizza too.

Heather said...

Around here the kids only get 15-20 minutes to eat lunch, so they don't usually eat much. I know Mel's kids come home with at least half of what she sent with them. They are too busy talking with their friends to eat. Yeah, I wouldn't send stuff they're not going to eat. Fruit is too expensive to be smashed on the ground.

Crazy Lady said...

Yes Heather, Luke mostly just wants to shove it in so he can 'get a ball'

Sara Jane said...

THat's so funny because I almost bought a Bento box from PBK. I didn't know they were floating around the blogosphere. I just hate using baggies and I hate washing all the separate tupperware.

I'm like you. I've given up on trying the healthy lunches. I just make sure he eats 2 veggies and 1 fruit for dinner.

When I was staying with my friend in Phoenix we were laughing at her kids. They would come home and tell all the stories about kids throwing their lunches away when their moms profess that their children always eat the healthy stuff. Lawrence still hasn't figured out he can throw it away. It just comes back in the box.

Jenn said...

I don't even know what a bento bag is... I go for what's easy.. Fruit roll up. Chips and granola bar oh and carrots.. If they want a sandwich they make it! ;)

Beth said...

Or... what if lots of moms packed health(ier) lunches - I believe in treats, too. Then the kids couldn't trade crap w/ each other b/c their lunches would be filled with good stuff. Moms unite!!!! ;)

But yeah, I'm pretty sure my kids will be there w/ PB & J and granola bars - Tyler loves the choc chip. Oh, and don't they make white whole grain bread now??? So you can't judge those white bread sandwiches - they could be whole grain, right??

RachelAA said...

Bento what?? Amen on the rest.

embot said...

Hahaha! Granola bars, hold the flax seeds. You have been around the blogosphere! How as the chocolate zucchini? I never got around to making mine but I'm totally intrigued.

jana said...

thanks for the laugh Brooke! Enjoyed the soap box. I'm sure my boys lunch is very similar to yours and he is turning out great so far :)

English Garden said...

ha, ha, love it. The first day of kindergarten for Kate and she had like 20 options of what to eat, by the end of the year I was sending her 1/2 a pb sandwich on white bread. She hardly eats anythig and I hate the lunch bag coming home and having to trow it all away. I am all for come home hungry and you can pick a healthy option at home. I didn't mind when Kate wanted to buy lunch either, its only $1 and I swear thats cheaper than packing several different things. I know its not healthier but they always got milk and she drank that which is good for her. This year, 2nd grade, and the year started off with cheese and triscuit, some grapes and water, I wonder if anyone feels bad for her with so little in the lunch bag but I swear she hardly eats anything. Oh! if I put in a banana I like to write notes on the peel, she usually doesn't eat it even if I write "eat me, I'm yummy"

Amberli said...

this post is so funny! amen sister! too much parental competition these days. and ps - i totally had to google bento boxes! clearly i don't have kids in school yet! love that luke traded yummy muffin for healthy sandwich! so true about trading trading!

Beth said...

PS - I think the deal w/ the bento boxes is that there is no waste - meaning you can put the food in the little compartments and not use sandwich bags and all the plastic.

The moms that cut up the food into little shapes and such, that's a whole other issue I think. And they all happen to photograph it in a bento box. ;)

Lyndsay said...


Arianne said...

I loved reading this post! Let me tell you, I have worked around kids for the past 15 years, either taking them on field trips, or even teaching kindergarten or 3rd grade. What's interesting is the dichotomy between lower income schools & middle or upper class schools.

The lower income kids ALWAYS had chips like hot cheetos, Takis (a Mexican spicy chip) or sometimes even a huge party size bag of chips! The usually had soda to wash it down. The other half of kids in this group would rely on the school lunch, which wasn't that bad. It always included milk (the kids picked chocolate, of course!) and a pretty fair balance of protein, carbs & fruits.

On the other side of town, I saw the lunches you described. Healthy, veggies, and creative packaging. However, there were always a few kids who relied on the school lunch.

But the equalizing factor that would ALMOST always ensure that kids would want to eat healthy was........wanting to eat how their teachers or chaperones was eating. If me or one of the adults would take out our healthy lunch, and comment on how much we enjoyed it, the kids would want to have it, or they would start to bring something healthy.

So the moral of this story? Hope that your kids have great role models in school that like to eat healthy! ;)

Crazy Lady said...

Wow Arianne that is so interesting! loved that perspective.

Claire, loved the idea of writing on the banana!

Beth - you are right totally do make healthier white bread now, i think i actually have that one, smart companies!

SharonDeFig said...

This was very entertaining, Brooke! I agree with you!