The Lunch Bunch
School is just around the corner and plenty of parents are struggling with the question of how to feed their children at lunch time. Should they allow their children to eat school lunches that are often saturated with fat and sugar instead of protein and carbohydrates? Last spring a school principal in Illinois banned homemade lunches because she said that often parents were sending their children to school with junk foods such as chips and sugary drinks.
Recently, another news story warned of the bacteria that can be found when the lunches are out of the ice box for too long. Most schools and daycares don’t offer refrigeration for lunches, which may sit out for hours before they are served. This could be a recipe for disaster if the lunches are loaded with meat or cheese because bacteria can grow, causing illness and sometimes even food poisoning.
My own five children always complain about lunches served at school and have called them “nasty”. More often than not, those lunches consist of pizzas and fried foods, not fruits and salads. I always tell them to make good food choices, like the sandwich above. This isn’t brain surgery. Children need mid day meals that are energy boosters and this doesn’t always mean meat.
They can sufficiently dine on sandwiches filled with sprouts, avocados, whole grained bread or just fruits, vegetables or granola bars. Young children especially like to dip foods like carrots or celery into dressings. The choice is theirs. One thing is certain. Children never go hungry by choice. In fact sometimes, I feel that we give them too many choices when we shouldn’t.
When I was a child, my parents insisted that we ate whatever they served us and we learned to appreciate good, wholesome food that was always fresh. My mother never shopped in supermarkets, but rather farmer’s markets and at the butcher who gave us the highest quality food. As often as I can, even though it’s more expensive, I do this for my own family.
So, engage your children in preparing their food from a young age, which will broaden their taste buds. Expose them to nutritious, healthy foods that cover the full spectrum. Most important, teach them the connection between eating well and feeling well. In doing this, you’ll help them to develop a healthy palate that can encourage a better quality of life for them when they become adults.