Monday, May 11, 2009

School Lunches

I have a love/hate relationship with packing school lunches. Some mornings I'm up before everyone else and I actually enjoy getting creative with the lunch box. Other days, it a mad rush and my son is peering over me telling me 'I don't like that' after each thing goes in. Always best to pack it when he's not around.

He can get hot lunch at school but, at $5.50 a pop, I try not to do it too often. Plus, I like to know what's in the food he eats. The lunch menu at his school actually reads beautifully but, I know it has been hard to get the cafeteria team moved to organic and sustainable ingredients because the cost is still so high.

So what does he like in the lunch box? Well, the fave is meatballs. When I make them for dinner I make another batch of minis. I pack them in containers of 5-6 and put them in the freezer. I heat them through in the morning and pop 'em in the trusty Thermos. Actually, pretty much anything in the Thermos is a hit-soup (especially homemade Matzoh Ball soup!), rice (either leftover fried rice or my baked brown rice), or potstickers and dumplings (no, those aren't homemade).

Along with the Thermos, I try to make sure there is a balance of other foods-protein, dairy, produce, and something crunchy but healthy. We do yogurt, cheese, good quality salami or ham, cucumbers (love the small Persian ones), carrot sticks, hard boiled eggs, Akmak crackers, applesauce, grapes, melon, and popcorn. I avoid the dessert, knowing its a slippery slope and he has enough of a sweet tooth at home. But, occasionally I throw in a homemade mini muffin or cookie.

He's never seen a Poptart, he doesn't like any kind of 'bar', candy doesn't end up in his lunch box, and yes, sometimes the good stuff still comes home. He's always famished at the end of his school day but, he does eat that lunch. I still remember loving that feeling of opening my lunch box and wondering what my mom had packed. As long as I change it up and keep it delicious, he's a happy camper just like I was.

What do you put in your kid's lunch box?


Deana said...

My kids like hummus and pita or pita chips....bagels and cream cheese....they are good about fruit and veggies (apples, carrots, plums, celery etc.) and cheese or yogurt. They want the same thing for months and then they switch...not a lot of variety, but they eat it. Also, I pack lunches right after they go to morning rush. Jod, what is your baked rice dish?

Mmm....that's good said...

Hey Deana...I'll post the recipe this week. A super simple and fool proof way to make brown rice!

Maggie said...

I love to cook and be adventurous with food -- my son will be one next month, so we have time on this, but I loved this entry. We've recently moved to Europe and with all of the insanity, he's been eating straight out of jars lately. So looking forward to doing so much more for him -- and thanks so much for your blog, it's an inspiration!

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