"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."~Maya Angelou

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's in your lunchbox?

               That special time of year is upon us again, no not that big guy in red, but back to school time! Many of you have children going back to public schools, while others have some pretty big milestones coming up, whether it's the first day of preschool, kindergarten or your child's senior year in high school! (Good thing I have made a deal that mine won't be getting any older after this year!! :) ) As parents we do as much as we can humanly do to not only prepare our children for this, but ourselves as well. We go clothes shopping and shoe shopping to make sure they are as comfortable as they can be, we want our children to be happy, right? We give them new hair cuts to give them a fresh new feeling, because we want them to feel good about themselves, yes?  We also load them up on school supplies, backpacks and 1,000 other knick-knacks because we always want our children to be prepared. Then the night before the first day of school arrives and you pack their lunch. Let me ask you this, how many of you did a "back to school" grocery trip? Let me explain.
                At this point in time I am packing lunches year round. My children are still quite young and when I am working they are in childcare. They have to have lunches and snacks packed when this happens, and I need to be prepared for it. A few things I like to have on hand include easy to eat protein foods; red beans, cheese, peanut butter or chicken bits. I try to have as much fresh fruit and veggies as possible, like carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber or apples. Frozen veggies are always a good standby, peas, mixed, or broccoli can be thawed and added to a lunch box pretty quickly. In my experience children will eat whatever they are fed from the beginning. My 14 month old is extremely picky, but I just continue to offer her good choices knowing one day she will know no other way. The key seems to be trying to offer a variety and being consistent. Their taste buds are always changing so you never know when that day will come when she smiles and eats green beans happily, instead of throwing them on the floor!
                  I divide my time between working at home and working in an early childhood center for children from 18 months to preschool, and I have seen thousands of lunches come through. I must say that for the most part parents pack some very healthy lunches, with 3-4 great choices. But there are a few that just makes you think, what was that parent thinking? To give you an idea of what I am talking about, here's a sample of what I've seen. Fluff sandwiches, artificially colored cheese crackers, gummy fruit snacks, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, yogurt that is neon in color, and microwavable "baby" food, that, I'm sorry, smells revolting!! Now don't get me wrong, anything is fine in moderation and my children enjoy goldfish and graham crackers. The point I am trying to make is why do we spend all sorts of time, energy and money and making our kids feel and look good, but forget about the importance of fueling their body? What we pack in their lunchboxes is so important, and I hope that every parent thinks twice this year before they throw in some processed crackers before adding a banana.
                 I have included some information on the new "food plate", which has replaced the old food pyramid. I hope you all find it as helpful as I have, I think many people will find this much easier to work into their lives. Happy Eating everyone!!

The new food pyramid is a circle.
The feds have ditched the age-old triangular guide to eating well in favor of a circular plate they hope diners will load up with fruits and veggies.
"As long as they're half full of fruits and vegetables and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we're golden," said First Lady Michelle Obama, who helped unveil the new icon Thursday.
The simple white plate is paired with a smaller white plate that the feds say is reserved for dairy, such as a cup of milk or a container for yogurt.


  1. Hi Laura, I'm your newest follower and agree that everything in moderation is the key to good health. Great to see the new food plate and thanks for sharing it on your blog, it definitely is the way to a healthier way to follow our diets and thanks for your great post!

  2. Thanks Susanna, I'm glad you enjoyed my post, please feel free to share it with anyone!

  3. I agree with offering your kids healthy items at each meal, and offering them as early as they starting eating solids. We always encourage our kids to have one bite of anything new - if they don't like it we don't make them eat it. But, we try again after awhile and again say try one bite. They have grown to like a lot of foods that way.

    I never thought of the chicken bits and frozen veggies. I struggle with packing their lunches with new things everyday ... I need lots of new ideas! Thanks!