Like all parents I make sure I try to feed my children the healthiest lunches possible. We’ve gone between buying lunches and making lunches for both kids. The Mama Maven Blog is excited to join the “Healthy Eating Habits Start from the Ground Up” blog campaign, which features Lunch, a documentary that shines a light on school lunch programs and teaches kids about healthy habits, gardening, fresh foods and more.
The Picky Eater:
My son Benjamin (now age 6 ½) is a very picky eater – though he has improved over the years. I’ve always made his snacks and when he went to Pre-K, I also made his lunch. But the next year (last year), we decided to try buying lunch. But being a picky eater, he ate a cheese sandwich everyday. And perhaps part of an apple or banana. He’s famous for spitting out the peel or eating ½ of the banana. The only lunch he would eat was pizza on Fridays.
So this year, I make him lunch. He eats peanut butter and jelly sandwich 4 days a week and buys Pizza on Fridays. While I wish he’d eat a better variety of foods, I make the healthiest version of PB & J that I can. I always make it on wheat bread with natural peanut butter (without added sugar or palm oil) and fruit spread (no sugared preserves). One thing I disliked about the sandwiches (he’d eat at school last year) is that they were made with white bread. The snacks I give him are healthy too; like organic crackers, organic fruit, organic pouch applesauce, greek yogurt, nuts, healthier cookies or whole grain pretzels.
The Good Eater:
My daughter is a better eater and buys lunch at school this year. And she actually will eat it proper school lunch. She goes to a small public school and they try very hard to make nutritious items for the students. I’ve watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and am so glad that her school cares about serving healthier food. I’m not kidding myself; it could be even healthier. They do serve processed and frozen foods, but the pancakes and other foods are made from scratch. I know that school lunches are vital – I taught in East Harlem, New York City, for 5 years and without the free breakfasts and lunches that were served, some of my students would have not gotten a hot meal daily. I still know the lunches can be healthier, as I wait for my copy of Lunch the Film to arrive, I’m shocked by some of the statistics that the film offers.
Did you know that “elementary school lunches average 821 calories per lunch?” Plus, “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children (over 9 million) 6-19 years old are overweight or obese — a number that has tripled since 1980.
For children born in the United States in 2000, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at some point in their lives is estimated to be about 30 percent for boys and 40 percent for girls. (“Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance, 2005,” Institute of Medicine.)”
I’ve educated my daughter on making healthier choices in what’s she served. I taught her to choose white milk over chocolate milk (because the sugar isn’t good for her). I taught her to eat her protein and vegetables before the other items served. She tells me about the chicken and broccoli she eats (I usually get a rundown of the menu from her). I admit I cringe when she tells me she ate French fries and chicken nuggets. On Fridays, I let her choose the chocolate milk with her pizza, but she knows it’s a treat. Next year she’s going to a private pre-k, so I may just make her lunch too.
So, how do you make your children’s lunches healthy? Do you think it’s possible to buy lunch at school and still stay healthy?
I’m writing this post as a blog tour for Lunch, a documentary by Avis Richards of the Birds Nest Foundation. I will be receiving a copy of the DVD, but no other compensation. I agreed to do this because I support healthier school lunches for all students.
“Like” the Birds Nest Foundation on Facebook & follow @birdsnestorg on Twitter.