The girls' school has a cafeteria offering lunch and snacks for purchase. At the beginning of each month, we print out the cafeteria calendar which lists the menu options for the month. If you don't like what is being served that day, there are two alternatives (1. sunbutter and jelly sandwich or 2. salad with popcorn chicken) also available for students to choose from. Now, I should point out that awhile ago, I purchased a jar of sunbutter thinking that maybe Allie and Emily could eat it as a substitute for peanut butter since the two of them cannot eat peanut butter. Well, no one liked the sunbutter. Honestly, I didn't like the sunbutter. It was too bitter or something. So, no one from my household is ever going to purchase the sunbutter and jelly sandwich. They do buy the salad.
I don't find my kids to be particularly picky when it comes to food. They are usually willing to try new things. That being said, Anna probably eats a more typical "standard kid diet" while Allie's food choices are more grown up. (She loves beans.) Emily is somewhat in the middle. I'd say in general, they bring their lunch to school half the time. We use what are supposed to be insulated soft lunch boxes from Gymboree. I buy them when they are on clearance and they seem to hold up well. I usually replace them (once a year) when the outside gets filthy from little kid use and having to place them on the ground during recess. We also have smaller thermoses that the girls use for hot foods.
I should note that lunch break is only 20 minutes long which doesn't leave much time for food consumption and my kids are slow eaters. Because of this, we don't pack elaborate lunches. It's better than last year though. The girls used to tell me that sometimes it would take so long to purchase their lunch that they were only left with a few minutes to actually eat.
Example of items packed for lunch:
- Beef stew
- Cold pizza
- Sandwich - turkey, chicken or ham (or PB&J for Anna)
- Yogurt and fruit
They eat lunch 3 hours after they leave home for school so items don't need to be kept cool for an extremely long time. Plus, we don't live in a hot climate. We pack smaller ice packs in their lunch boxes to keep food cool and that's been working out fine.
Snack time is very brief and the girls prefer carbs. It also needs to be quick, easy and not messy.
- Chips - sun, potato, tortilla, etc.
- Hummus or guacamole for dipping
To drink, they'll buy milk for lunch and bring water or a juice box for snack.
So that's school lunch + snack in a nutshell. I do tend to push the fruits and veggies more so when we are at home and they like fruits and veggies so it's not a battle. In fact, when we eat out in a restaurant, Emily always orders the broccoli for her side and Allie tells me that when she buys lunch at school, she picks an apple or baby carrots for her side choice. And I don't know why I'm adding this. I guess I really am afraid of the food police.