I have gotten a lot of emails asking about Adriana's lunches and I really wanted to dedicate a whole post to answer them. There was actually an "Aha!" moment and I feel like it goes perfectly with answering some of your questions. I'll answer them within the post, so keep reading- I promise I will answer them all.
A few weeks back, Adriana asked me if I would like to come eat with her at school- I was delighted and agreed to bring her grilled chicken nuggets (new & awesome by the way) and fruit from chic-fil-a. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm either significantly early to where I'm going or significantly late (with notice). This time, I couldn't give notice and I was running late. I thought I had enough time to get to chic-fil-a and to her school before 10:50am. Boy was I wrong. I was so anxious she would think I forgot to bring her lunch and eat with her and I really didn't want her to charge her account to buy lunch in the cafeteria. There was no way for me to let her know I was on the way, I was worried. I finally arrived and was only about eight minutes late. I carried Ryland in with me and as I approached her at the table, she looked up and said, "phew, I'm so glad you're here mom!". She had already gone through the line and sat down. I told her teacher I would eat her lunch so the food didn't go to waste- I grabbed her tray and we sat at the end of the table. I couldn't have been more proud at that moment. For some people it's not a big deal but for me, well I like to know that my kids choose and eat wisely without me with them.
I looked down at the tray and this is what I saw.
the other options were: chicken patties and a hamburger.
I feel good knowing that everything hubby and I have taught her about what is good for you and what is not has sunk in- that it's not just at home when they ask for a banana or apple as a snack or that they would rather have the healthier option to the unhealthy one. I wanted to pat myself on the back, my teaching them has paid off and I do believe it is something that they will take with them the rest of their lives. Habits change but when you start educating them about it at a young age and helping them become accustomed to healthier options, it helps in the long run.
So why do I pack Adriana's lunch?
It's not because I just plain didn't want her to eat cafeteria food. It's because I wanted her to maintain the same diet at school that she has when she is at home. I don't want her to have to make a choice between two unhealthy options, if there is no healthy alternative, when she can pick what she wants at home and to be excited about it at lunch time. 90% of her lunches are picked by her, because why shouldn't it be? she is the one eating it. I know it's only one meal out of the day but it's five meals a week that I am unsure of- I don't know that she is getting all of the nutrients she needs to get through the rest of the day. At the beginning of the school year, all of the parents were invited to come sit in the classroom and go through the daily routine. I was exhausted just listening to it- it's non stop from 8:50am to 2:00pm. I don't want her to eat a meal that is going to weigh her tummy down and make her tired the rest of the day or feel lack of energy, it wouldn't be fair.
I'm in no way against cafeteria food, not at all. I grew up on it going to public schools. I probably picked the most unhealthy options in middle and high school but it was a personal preference. I had an option to make my own lunch, but I rarely did. I didn't mind eating school lunch. I am just more aware of what it is our schools prepare for our kids, as an adult. I wish there were ways for them to get around unprocessed foods but there isn't enough money or power (& care) to make that happen (have you seen Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution? it's pretty amazing what he was trying to do- unfortunately I don't believe they air the show anymore for reasons of his idea's not being accepted by the schools he tried to help.) There are however, a few healthier options for kids to pick from, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if your child isn't allergic to peanuts and salad if he/she will eat leafy greens. There just isn't enough to pick from and it should be more of a priority considering what they expect from them during the day.
I make Adriana's lunches because it's something fun, something she's created and something I did for her. She tells me all the time how happy they make her and that she thinks of me when she opens her lunch box. It's a little bit of home, at school and it makes her smile. What more of a reason do I need?
I had a question about my opinion on an incident with school lunches and I recently heard about it on a morning radio station here in Greensboro. A teacher took away a kids homemade lunch and replaced it with a school lunch made up of chicken nuggets and other things. The teacher didn't think the lunch from home was healthy enough, it consisted of; a turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, a banana and apple juice. Apparently the mother of the four year old was billed for the replaced lunch and told that the one she packed was inadequate and did not include what the USDA guidelines asked of parents and schools. I don't believe the school nor teachers have any right to come between or decide whether or not kids who are bringing lunch to school are eating "healthy enough" when the lunches being provided at the school are not exactly what our kids should be eating to begin with. If it were a bag full of candy... sure charging a lunch that is better for the child than candy is acceptable but not when a parent has spent money and time to make their child a perfectly healthy lunch. A note home would have sufficed? A friendly reminder that, hey if you want to make your kids lunch there are guidelines? I'm not even sure that it would be acceptable to do that or what boundaries it would cross but anything is better than just throwing away the homemade lunch and charging the mother for the crappy replaced lunch given to her. There are serious risks that were taken when that teacher took that leap- the child could have been extremely allergic to something she put on her tray and wouldn't have even known it or there could have been something she choked on and she would have been held liable for giving her something that was not intended for her to eat. It's just ridiculous.
I want to get your thoughts on this issue, though- would you be upset if your child was sent to school with a lunch you packed, with the food you bought, thrown away and replaced with chicken nuggets? What would you have done in that position? Do you care at all, is it a big deal or not?
Also, do you pack your kids lunch? If you do, why? If you don't, why not? I am always curious and well I got so much great and positive feedback from bloggers about Adriana's lunches that I wanted to share with you all why exactly I do it and answer all of your questions the best I can. I like turning the tables and asking you all- so please do share your ideas and opinions!
anything and everything is welcome!