What are you packing? And a giveaway!

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.Advertisement
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.

GIVEWAY!
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

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

8 Comments on What are you packing? And a giveaway!

  1. I too try to include something from each food group in my girls (2 & 5) lunches–carrots/Boars head roasted chicken/pumpkin muffin/cheese stick is our typical.
    We bake the pumpkin muffins (applesauce, wheat flour, canned pumpkin and cinnamon) together, freeze them in bulk and divy them up as needed. They are a treat for my girls and I know they are eating something filling and good for them instead of sweets. Happy lunching!

  2. I hear you guys on variety. Especially when I don’t want to go to great lengths for something my son won’t eat! I do check out the bulk sections in different stores to see if there is anything interesting I can buy in small quantities before I know if it’s a hit.

    One recipe I happened to try today which was approved by the whole family was:

    http://weelicious.com/2010/03/01/oatmeal-on-the-go-bars/

    This could be either a breakfast on the run or something to pack in the lunchbox. That is one of the sites that shows a daily meal on FB so I get some ideas (many a bit too complicated, but still good ideas!)

  3. Back when I packed lunches, I used to pack things to dip. My daughter’s favorite type of dip is tomato sauce(!), so I’d pack her a little container of cold tomato sauce, and she’d dip just about anything in it. It was a great way to get her to eat vegetables in the middle of the day. Her favorite veggie to dip is green beans. Veggies and dip are really low prep too! Bonus!

  4. I like to give my son a little bit of meat, fruit, veggies, and milk. Lately the veggies have been a little difficult. I also liked elsie’s page and would like to be entered in the contest.

  5. Kelly, you are our winner! I’ll contact you about getting you your prize package. Thanks everyone for entering!

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