With all the talk about what constitutes a healthy school lunch, I thought back to my children's lunches. If they hated the lunch that day, I made a lunch for them. Sometimes, they just wanted what I was going to send for them. They never had to buy a lunch or to take a lunch. However, some days the only option was peanut butter and jelly with a fruit and something for snack time.
When I grilled hamburgers for dinner, I grilled and prepared hamburgers for my children to take to school the next day. It was cute because they were excited from the moment they knew I was grilling burgers, looking forward to lunch at school the next day. They even went to bed excited at the prospects. I took the burgers indoors and put the condiments and cheese or pickles on the burgers as each child preferred. I wanted to prepare them and refrigerate them soon as possible. All three reported their lunch was a hit with the other small diners who wanted the same thing.
When my son was in the upper elementary grades, a rumor about the beef stew put him off. "Everyone" said it was dog food. He had proof it was dog food because it smelled like dog food! None of my protestations and explanations could convince him. Nothing would do from then on except a prepared lunch from home. Logic and facts were lost on him during this crisis.
My son had a friend who loved sauerkraut so much that he traded away all his food for sauerkraut. He even traded his milk and dessert, usually cookies. Since a few strands of sauerkraut are more than enough for me, I was appalled. My son said he always had dibs on the cookies since they were best friends.
I am shocked that parents are judged for what they send to school for kids' lunches. I read that lunches are confiscated for not being nutritionally balanced and parents are reported. Whaaaat? I knew what my child had for breakfast and would have for snacks and dinner, so no one else would be aware of their daily consumption or nutrition. I actually planned their meals around the peanut butter sandwich. And, bologna is not a nutritional powerhouse. One meal is no indication of a whole day of eating. Besides, having a nutritional lunch on a child's tray is not an indication of what nutrition the child actually consumed.
Plus, kids around the country without money are given a cheese sandwich and milk, so how can the school get away with giving a lunch that is not approved if packed by a parent?
The first school day after Thanksgiving, I packed my youngest in kindergarten a turkey breast sandwich with lettuce and MW. She also had grapes and something for snack time. She got in the car with her paper bag and asked me sadly why I only gave her cookies for lunch. NO one noticed my child had cookies for lunch. She had a place for her lunch but from then on, I put her name on it in very large letters. She was a very good child, so I suppose the rowdy ones got the attention.
My children were very vocal and demanded to know what was for lunch at school each morning. They never complained about what I was going to pack. After a while, they had me trained.
Did your children want a packed lunch when they hated the school lunch for the day? How did you handle lunches--buy always, pack one always, or according to the offered lunch? Did they have favorites at school or what they wanted to take?