Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Today was the first day of school. It was so sweet to see all of the kids in their new school outfits. Knowing the night before they probably spent hours and endless phone calls between friends trying to decide what they were going to wear. The girls were happy to see each other, while the boys tried to act so cool. The kids were also eager to tell us all about their summer fun. It brought back a lot of memories.
My kids didn't like the cafeteria food. I always made their lunches. Although they would bring their school lunch menu home and we would go through each day to see what they were having. At that time, if the lunch looked or sounded good, they would decide if they would try to eat in the cafeteria that particular day. I find it funny now that I work in one.
I was reading our local news paper and an article gave some really good tips to packing your child's lunch. It is very important that your child eats their lunch and breakfast for that matter. That is even more important! You would be surprised how many lunches go into the garbage untouched, or how many children come into the cafeteria after school has started complaining about feeling dizzy or having a headache from not eating.
I am passing it on to those of you that have children in your lives. It may help them to want to eat their meals... and then do better in school.
Back-to-school lunchbox peeves and possibilities
More often than not, if you ask kids what school subject they like best, they'll say, "Lunch!"
So why do so many meals end up back home, only partially eaten, at the end of the day?
To solve the puzzle, Family Fun magazine went straight to the source, a cafeteria full of kids, to compile a list of pet peeves and solutions.
PET PEEVE No. 1: "I can't stand soupy yogurt and warm drinks."
*Use a frozen juice box to keep yogurt and other foods cold by wrapping the two containers together with a piece of aluminum foil.
*The night before, fill a freezable drink container halfway with the beverage (non carbonated) you plan to pack. Freeze the liquid overnight. In the morning, fill the rest of the bottle with more of the same beverage. By lunchtime, your child's drink will be just cold enough.
PET PEEVE No. 2: "I hate when sandwiches are soggy, like egg salad on mushy, wet bread."
*Use cream cheese flavored with herbs or spices instead of mayonnaise. If you do use mayonnaise- in tuna salad, for example -add just enough to bind the ingredients.
*Pack condiments separately or butter the bread before adding condiments.
*For PB&Js, spread peanut butter on both pieces of bread and a layer of jam in between.
PET PEEVE No. 3: "The fruit's always squashed, and the lettuce is wilted."
*Pack fruit salad (instead of loose fruit) in a sturdy plastic container. And save overripe bananas for banana bread, which makes a great lunchbox addition.
*Pack lettuce, sliced tomatoes and other veggies separately so kids can add them to their sandwiches at lunchtime. Another plus to this method is if your child decides last minute that he doesn't want veggies on his sandwich, he can simple leave them off instead of trashing a perfectly good sandwich.
PET PEEVE No. 4: "I won't eat it if I don't know what it is!"
*Don't get radical. By all means, try changing the presentation to spice up things a bit, but stick to variations of foods you know your kids already like.
For example, try using bagels, pita bread or even date nut bread instead of the usual white or wheat. Or cut a sandwich into puzzle pieces. But don't pack a tomato and pickle salad or meat loaf on rye unless that combo already has passed muster at home.
*Consider setting up a system where your kids get to pick sandwiches, snacks and beverages from a predetermined list of choices. After all, they're more likely to eat their lunch if it includes items they've requested.
Pack a healthy lunch
*Buy 100 percent fruit juice. The carton can be frozen to keep the lunchbox cool.
*Yogurt and real fruit can be blended for a wholesome drink.
*Dried fruit provides energy for active kids. Raisins have lots of healthful phytochemicals.
*Red, black and green grapes will add color, as well as nutrients, to the lunchbox. They also are delicious frozen.
*Water is the healthiest choice. Small bottles are just right for little hands.
*Keep the skin on the apple for insoluble fiber and vitamin C.
*Add a little fun to the vegetables. Homemade dips can be placed in resealable containers.
*Kids love "little trees." To make cauliflower a vivid yellow, saute' it briefly with a spoonful of turmeric.
*Buy baked snacks in large containers and portion a handful in a plastic bag.
FAMILYFUN MAGAZINE and LEXINGTON (KY.) HERALD LEADER