I would be lying if I said coming up with a variety of healthy, real food, peanut-free, tree nut-free, portable lunch options wasn’t a challenge. I understand that the school is trying to protect children with severe peanut/tree nut allergies, but I have to admit that I often feel their little rules conflict with what we are trying to do…eat real food that is. On the school’s “safe snack list” which offers hundreds of “approved” options I literally found only 15 items that we would also consider to be “approved” for our kindergartner. They seriously have “Wendy’s Frosties” listed as an approved option so I suppose they would rather me send in one of those or something like a package of goldfish for her snack instead of a little all-natural cashew/dried fruit mix?
I know I can’t just sit here and complain and not do attempt to do anything about it. I am definitely going to do something…not necessarily overrule the nut-free aspect of it all, but something to hopefully encourage the school to put more of an emphasis on healthy “approved” snacks! We are only a few weeks into our first stint at the Elementary School so I feel like I want to spend a little more time observing first though. Certainly if you have any ideas or experience or suggestions in regards to healthy foods in schools or healthy food PTA/PTO committees…please share!
In the meantime, let’s talk about what I have been sending in my daughter’s lunchbox. I was at first giving her separate little items like a sandwich in foil, some pretzels in a small snack container, an apple in a plastic bag, and at the end of the day she was coming home with hardly any of her lunch missing! Then one day I went to school to have lunch with her. I got to witness first-hand the limited amount of time they have to actually eat in a cafeteria that naturally provides a massive amount of distraction. By the time she got the last little container open it was practically time to start packing everything back up.
So I knew I had to do something different, and I’d heard about all of the lunchbox/bento box/laptop lunch systems out there. While I liked the idea, I decided that I certainly didn’t need anything fancy or expensive (or that required me to pay an additional 5 or 10 bucks in shipping). So rather than ordering some overpriced “lunch system” off the Internet I just drove my car down to Target and spent a few bucks on a divided plastic Ziploc container. My
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Here are some examples (pictured) of what I have been sending to school with her so far this year…
- Hummus, cheddar, and carrot shavings on whole-wheat bread, popcorn, grapes and little organic carrot sticks
- Celery with cream cheese and raisins on top, cheese, applesauce, peaches, and Triscuit crackers
- Hummus and cheese on a homemade whole-wheat tortilla, grapes/raspberries, mango (her favorite), and a big whole-wheat pretzel
- Cream cheese and jelly sandwich on whole-wheat bread, half of a banana, some apple slices, and a whole-wheat pretzel/pumpkin seed/dried fruit mix
I am also occasionally sending warm items in her little thermos as well. I will do a follow up post soon on those ideas and other options for snack time, too. Please also feel free to leave a comment with your school lunch ideas and suggestions if you have any!