It’s official: the start of school is right around the corner.
Many moms have resigned themselves to getting their sun-kissed children back into school routines. School supplies have been purchased, and newly-minted clothes are ready to go (tax free weekend is August 20-22 in case you have more you’d like to buy). Another topic I’ve been hearing parents talk about is school lunches.
As you probably know, school lunch reform has been a hot topic and was given a boost by the reality show Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Michelle Obama’s support of the Child Nutrition Act.
I was relieved to read an article in the Austin American-Statesman in April about how Austin schools have made many steps to improve the health of school lunches, but I still think I will be packing a lunch for my son.
What makes a healthy lunch for your children?
For my four year old, I focus on a selection of foods from each food group and make sure there is some food I am sure he will eat. Although I am amazed by some of the things parents come up with their children for lunch (thinking of the bento box lunch blogs I have seen with food shaped liked animals), I don’t feel I have the time to create such an artistic masterpiece. Instead, I focus on creating one different or “special” item each week. This might mean muffins one week, homemade granola bars another week or protein balls. I usually substitute applesauce for sugar in recipes, incorporate whole wheat flour and use organic ingredients if possible.
To save time in the morning, I do think about the components of the lunch the night before and do whatever prep work I can (cut celery into pieces, put peanut butter and sandwich makings out on the counter, etc.)
I found this article in The Washington Post helpful — not only does it address caloric needs of different age groups, but also suggests sample lunch menus. I have started to check out a few sites with kids’ lunch ideas and “Like” them on Facebook so I have a constant flow of ideas to see what might be a hit with my son. I enjoy the experimentation, even if not all of the things I try make the grade.
Borden Milk contacted us to help get out the word about Elsie the Cow’s Facebook page. Borden is providing LiveMom readers the opportunity to win a Borden Milk prize package, which includes two months of free milk (via eight one-gallon coupons), 2 Borden T-Shirts, 2 Borden growth charts, 4 Borden cups, 2 Borden grocery pads. To enter, “Like” Elsie the Cow’s Facebook page and post a comment mentioning that you are participating in the LiveMom giveaway. Then, post here telling us what you do to keep your kids’ lunches healthy. The contest ends at midnight CST on Wednesday, August 25th and we’ll select a winner using random.org. Good luck!
Full disclosure: Borden Milk is supplying the LiveMom team with an additional prize package.
Written by: Nicole Basham