Monday, September 10, 2012

School Lunch

Now that all the kids are back in school, what are they having for lunch? if your child gets lunch in school, there is always the concern of what kind of meal they are getting. Tune into Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution for the controversies he faces trying to get school kids a proper meal and educating parents on caring about what their kids eat. It's taken for granted that the get good meals, but at the end of the day, much of it is processed, whether is comes from school or the home. I remember one episode where the child brings a packed lunch from home with candy, chips and a juice box. Convenient, yes, but nutritious? 

Check out 9-year-old, "Veg"'s blog, Never Seconds. In the spring, she was forced to stop taking photos of her school lunches and posting them, but the ban caused an uproar from her supporters, and she's able to continue her plight! Her blog has expanded with posts of meals that kids around the world have sent to her. I love her rating for each meal (health-o-meter, number of mouthfuls, pieces of hair...). She also tries to replicate some of the food that her fans send in, very inspirational! 

If you do pack your child's lunch, it really isn't too difficult. There is more to it than a sandwich and every type of packaged food available. You can easily avoid any processed meats by making the most of leftovers, like with bits of meat from a Sunday roast. Leftovers are also great either in a thermos to keep the food warm, but many foods are fine at room temperature. Try to avoid foods that need to be cold (i.e. fish or cheese). Reusable lunch boxes are the way to go!

"Picnic" lunches offer a great variety and are fun to eat.
Here are some more ideas

... fruit 
• Apple
• Blueberries
• Dried fruit / Raisins
• Grapes
• Melon
• Orange / Clementine
• Plum
• Strawberries

... calcium
• Beans
Leftover pasta and ragu, set some aside at dinnertime for an easy lunch!
• Cheese
• Dark leafy greens
• Hummus
• Milk

... protein
• Beans
• Edamame
• Falafel
• Hard-boiled egg
• Meat – chicken, beef (use leftovers!) 
• Nut butter

... whole grains
• Bread
• Corn
• Couscous
Empanadas – always a hit!
• Crackers
• Granola
• Pasta
• Rice

... & veg
• Asparagus
• Avocado
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Carrots
• Celery
• Cucumber
• Lettuce
• Olives
• Peppers
• Snap peas
• Sweet potato
• Tomato
• Zucchini

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