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School Lunches


Guest Jules
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Guest Jules

Hi forumites :ilikeit:

With back to school looming before me next Tuesday I thought I would ask you all if school lunches are a problem in your house?

I think we can all agree that on your average trip to the supermarket here you are just bombarded by all kinds of junk and processed foods. There is just so much for our kids to be tempted with from the usual sweets and chips to all sorts of snacky type of things like biscuits and dips, puddings, muffins, cakes and bars etc, all conveniently packaged into lunch box size portions. I have a huge problem trying to get the kids to eat healthily while at the same time being worn down by constant requests throughout the shopping trip. It's so frustrating :ilikeit: If I try and do the right thing and pack in healthy foods then they either won't eat half of it or I get told that they have "lunch for losers" :ilikeit: or I get told about all the wonderful (unhealthy) things their friends have in their luchboxes.... it's a losing battle! :)

If you look around you see a lot of overweight kids here and on a trip to the shops after the schools are out you see kids walking around eating chips or something from the bakery (all this after assumingly had a non-loser type lunch packed in for school :ilikeit: ). I just don't feel that I am doing my kids any favours by succumbing to the easy route out but at the same time I don't want them to feel that they are oddities...

Normally I pack in a sandwich or bread roll, a packet of chips (the small ones you get in the 20 packs), a fruit of some sort, a muesli bar (Uncle Toby's etc), some nuts, one of those little containers of fruit or a yoghurt, some kind of small party size chocolate and a drink. A lot of time the fruit and the sandwich comes home again uneaten. :ilikeit: They also have tuckshop once a week.

Is that lunch so bad? Or is my daughter just being a drama queen? Do you have similar problems and if so, how do you cope with them and what do you pack in for your kids?

Love

Julie :ilikeit:

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Hi Jules,

I can relate to exactly what you are saying. I’m mum to two boys (ages 13 and 10 ¾) and school lunches have always been a contentious issue, and even more so now that we are here and there are so many more choices! I remember back when my eldest started school, I was determined to be the Superhero of all moms, and spent weekends lovingly preparing roast chicken legs, mini veg-quiches, and other healthy alternatives for his lunch box. He eventually ‘fessed up and said he really just wanted a beany-putter sarmie like all his friends (and thus our fate was sealed – peanut butter has been known as beany-putter ever since in our home :ilikeit: ). I was crushed! :ilikeit: Here was me thinking that he must be the envy of all his buddies, with his fancy-schmancy lunches And from that day on, we’ve struggled to find the balance that you speak of. But, I’ve come to realise that there are some battles not worth fighting, and this is one of them. I now just give them the healthiest ‘regular’ food that I can – brown or multi-grain bread with cold meat / cheese / tuna / chicken, a couple of flavoured rice-cakes to snack on, a bar of sorts (Uncle Toby’s or similar) and occasionally, I try to sneak in a piece of fruit – usually unsuccessfully :ilikeit: . The most popular fruit is grapes – they are easy to eat and can be ingested surreptitiously (and thus maintain the cool image – God forbid anyone gets bust eating something healthy! :) ). I don’t pack chocolates unless it’s a special occasion and they get water to drink. They also get tuck once a week – on a Friday. I exercise my control when I’m there – we only have healthy choices available for breakfast and I try to keep dinner as nutritious as I can – not easy when you get in at 18h30 or later!

The pressure is immense to give in and just let them eat what they want – I know. I’ve found that by letting them have ‘afters’ every day after dinner (like couple of lollies, or a yoghurt, fruit ‘n jelly, or a small chooccie etc) they don’t feel as though they are being deprived and therefore don’t binge on rubbish when they get the chance.

That said though, my younger son is starting to show signs of developing a weight problem (I think he eats on the sly….) so I need to come up with some intervention there. My older son is like a beanpole – all arms and legs and a skinny frame. Go figure.

Ease up on yourself – it sounds to me like you’re giving your daughter a good school lunch – healthier than tuck every day and at least you’re conscious of what you’re feeding her. That goes a long way. And your attitude towards food and nutrition is teaching her good lessons for the future – even though she probably doesn’t realise it.

Love

Ajay

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They are quite fussy at my daughters school here in the ME about what you can pack. There are kids with peanut allergies so no peanut butter allowed!

They don't carry little lunch boxes like we used to. They carry mini coolerboxes (the six pack kind) because of the heat here. In her box I pack a sandwich (I make my own bread cos the bread here is horrid), some fruit, a small yoghurt, a box of juice, a bottle of water (in the summer here, its essential kids drink lots of water). Raisins, dried apricots or banana "chips" (dried banana) are also an option. An absolute favourite for my kids is when I pack in a tuna & pasta salad instead of a sarmie. Sarmies have cheesespread or turkey "ham" (proper pork ham not an option in a moslem country). Once a week they get Nutella spread on their sarmies. Another favourite is what my kids call a "bits & pieces" lunch - cocktail sausages, crackers, cheese, carrot sticks, baby corn, baby tomatoes etc. But my kids are little still - 3 and 6. Its only when Hubby packs the lunches that he sneaks in biscuits and "nice" things. Oh, and popcorn is a great favourite too - and if you don't add salt or butter, its very healthy.

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I forgot to add when I say the school is fussy, I mean it! They have a school nurse on premises (actually they have 3 - one for each "section" - infant, junior and senior). The school nurse sends out notices regularly about lunch boxes, and every now and then will visit a class during snack time and have a peek in the boxes. If your child has a healthy lunch they get a sticker on the lunch box..... Nice fat hint to the parents.... But these are the little ones. I imagine its not so easy with the older children. They don't get excited about a sticker on their lunch box - LOL. 6 and 7 year olds still think its cool....

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Geewhiss, I wish I was a kid again... I could only imagen lunch like what you girls have describe when I was a kid... :ilikeit:

Well, my kids are also fortunate to have a mom that 'play' with lunch and they get nice treats in they boxes! :)

I am on this stage an 'oorskiet kos' man. I like to take a small container of last nights left overs for lunch. Beats a sarmie by far! :ilikeit:

Our kids also get their lunch in a cooller box as per DD's, we even did that back in R'Bay because of the heat!

Ladies keep it up, your kids will remember it, even if they don't show appriciation now!

D :ilikeit:

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Hi there

I think all moms of the past, present and future all have the same problem. I remember thinking it was very funny when my dad told me that he threw all his peanut butter sandwiches in the hedge but I was the same and got bored with my school lunches. I got called into my sons teacher as my son had told her that I never gave him lunch. I asked the teacher if she had ever checked his bag and she was quite surprised to see a full lunch sitting at the bottom of the bag, fruit and all. My son just wanted to play and didn't want to waste time eating. I have since threatened him with his life and I am now on a winning streak. We arn't allowed any nut products at all and that includes Nutella.

I make a double batch of crunchies and my little one takes crunchies in his lunch box. Also in summer the kids get strawberries, grapes etc. When we BBQ we always do extra sausages and drummies and the kids get those. Woolies sell baby muffins and they also have packs of assorted dry fruit.

The whole lunch thing is a real pain though, trying to be a a "cool" mom while keeping the food healthy without boring the kids to death is a major mission perhaps they should just put up drip bags and the kids just plug themselves in at lunch time.

Have a good weekend and good luck

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