School Lunch…

the other small meal

by Wellness Chef Helen

‘Painfully’ for kids all over the country, school starts soon. And early breakfasts along with the quandary of what to make for lunch… an easy to make delicious, nutritious lunch other than the usual peanut butter &… that hopefully won’t be traded. Lunch trading is a popular pastime with our progeny, but what if other kids were asking your kids for their lunches? There’s no guarantee, but while making school lunches interesting and delicious can be challenging, you, parents, don’t have to take that responsibility on all by yourselves, although getting it started is all your’s. It’s tough and takes a little time, I know, and allowing for some trading, let your kids be in on the quality of their lunchbox contents while giving them the parameters of their choices. The perception of “Well, it’s only lunch.” is wrong. And while the perception that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is somewhat true, lunch is equally and maybe more important since it sets the tone of their day with better and more knowledgeable lifelong eating habits.

The point of this blog is not to argue against breakfast at all but to point up the importance of lunch. It replenishes body, mind, and spirit to carry your child through the rest of the day of studies, after school activities, homework, maybe a job (and discounting snacks because we’re talking about a meal here) until dinner with good quality sustainable energy. They require foods that will not deplete them so they rush for the ‘RUSH’ of sugar and soft drinks with packaged chemical real food wanna-bees. You owe your kids the thought and consideration of their choices along with you so they know that you care about their health and well being enough to take the time. It isn’t just ‘lunch’ or a ‘lunch snack’ or an ‘on-the-go meal’. It’s the nourishing midday meal that will help their wonderful brains absorb the lessons of life for that day and will help set the stage for the following days and years. They require sustainable midday meals, hopefully not tradable or throw aways, though that will happen here and there. With mutual collaboration you will learn to trust each other with these food choices that will stand them in good stead for not only other food times but create the foundation for healthy choices and good judgment throughout their lives. Starting with food is the most rewarding and delicious groundwork.

There’s really no such thing as an absolute and rigid regime. Remember you’re dealing with growing bodies and intellects — they need to be able to stretch. Give ‘n take. ‘Junk’ in its place is fine. Just try to make it better quality ‘junk’. If your dinner the nite before was a fabulous Chicken Parmesan with veggies, make a sandwich on whole grain bread slices with the best quality mayo and/or mustard, greens or left over veggies. High protein and whole grain (complex carbs for sustainable energy) to beat the energy lag of the midday is soooo much better than white sugar and make believe anything. Fruit or a natural sweet for dessert along with a good quality juice or drink, and you’re in business. That was fast. The clue here is that if last nite’s dinner was yummy and can be served cold, go for it. You might keep that in mind when preparing dinner. Real food is always better. And the fact that you, parental unit, put it together makes it even more memorable and meaningful. Ask them. Include them in the decisions. If some ‘junk’ is the only answer sometimes be flexible and do a trade-off, barter — maybe they’ll wait for the weekend, but do discuss it all with them. They need to know your/the rules. If they understand that you’re relaxed and their choices matter, they will be also, and they may very well surprise you. Herbs, seasonings, spices and heat — make it all delicious. That’s the key along with flexibility.

Here is an online article published July 1, 2008 by Pediatrics

… which is statistical and interesting to get through and enlightening as to the challenges of allowing your children to participate in their school lunch program. It strongly reinforces this blog and the importance of parents getting involved with their childrens’ school lunches.

Leave a Reply

ABOUT: Wellness Chef Helen Sandler
Lecturer, personal chef, teacher, wellness coach, & speaker, Helen promotes a healthier lifestyle through common sense, organic / natural approach to a happier, positive life.

Helen Sandler is used to being an innovator and at the cutting edge of whole foods whole grains awareness. After graduating from SUNY, New York with a teaching degree, she began to follow her real passion for healthy cooking which took her from Los Angeles to Boston to attend the cooking school of the late and great master Japanese natural chef, Aveline Kushi. Later that passion took her to Kyoto, Japan to continue her studies, where she spent four more years learning the art of healthy Japanese cooking (Seishoku).

As Wellnes Chef Helen she is the featured authority at CTNgreen /wellness with articles in the library there and the virtual paperless magazine at CTNGreen Magazine