Friday, October 3, 2014

What's in Lila's Lunchbox? Healthy school lunches

Lila loves school. The school lunches, not so much. When a child has an aversion to cheese, you realize just how many "kids' meals" are made with cheese. At a glance, in a given week, the lunch menu consists of grilled cheese, mac and cheese, cheese burgers, cheese quesadillas, and cheese pizza. On the rare days that a non-cheese option is served, Lila still has difficulty stomaching items such as fried chicken fingers or corn dogs. But, it's not just school lunches. Most restaurant kids' meals consist of the same cheesy menu items. Lila, who since 3 years old has been wanting to be a chef when she grows up, has always rejected the kids' meal option. You can't take Lila out to dinner and expect she will be content with the $5.99 kids' burger, fries, and soft drink. She'll have what you're having. And why not?

My husband and I like to take credit for her healthy habits and wide-ranging palate, but we realize that we did luck out with Lila. We know parents who struggle with picky eaters despite their best efforts of exposing their children to a variety of healthy foods. However, a problem does exist in our country that the typical kids' food is fast food. We truly need a revolution to change the food that is being marketed and offered to our kids. Two moms started Revolution Foods "to transform the way America eats by providing access to healthy, affordable meals to schools." Fed up with lunch, children's food activists are popping up all over-- Mrs. Q, a teacher at an urban school, ate the school lunch with her students every day and documented it to show the reality of what makes up the majority of our kids' diets. I noticed a refreshing effort on our school's latest menu, highlighting that they are offering fresh, local fruit and veggies. YAY!

At a parent's night at school, a mom came up to me and said "I just love the lunches you pack for Lila." So, echoing Ellyn's school lunch post from 2012 (which gave great examples of colorful, healthy lunches), I thought I'd give a peak of what's in Lila's lunchbox. Perhaps it can provide some helpful examples of healthy options outside of the kids' meal norm.

As far as it being cheaper to order the kids' meal (which I often hear), each of the lunches below are made with mostly organic ingredients and are between $4.00-$8.00!

Happy eating! -Tara

Hard Boiled Egg Whites, Organic Peach,
Garden Salad made from Local Ingredients, Triscuit Crackers 

Organic Black Beans, Star Fruit, Stone Ground Corn Tortilla Chips,
Olives, Locally Grown Tomato and Green Peppers.
Organic Yogurt, Graham Crackers, Local Raw Veggies, Organic Blueberries
Brown Rice Cucumber Rolls, Local Raw Veggies, Roasted Seaweed Snack,
Unsweetened Pear Sauce, Miso Soup
Turkey Chili, Stone Ground Tortilla Chips, Oranges, and
Locally Grown Raw Cauliflower.

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