After each new school year begins, it is always fun to ask my kids how many students in their class bring a lunch from home each day. Generally the answer is one or two, themselves included. I, for one, am a HUGE fan of home-made lunches. Let me share some of my reasoning with you:
1. School lunches always have been, still are, and always will be pretty much disgusting.
2. Sack lunches from home can be catered to fit the likes and dislikes of each child.
3. Items in a lunch from home are much more valuable in the lunchtime trading game because no one else has them.
4. It is a way for kids to have a little piece of home while at school.
5. I like to decorate lunch sacks with pictures, jokes, and each kid's name.
On occasion we will send our kids with money to purchase a school lunch (like if I am having a baby that day or we all slept in or we ran out of sack-lunch staples like bread or fruit). When they return home I will ask, "How was lunch?" The answer varies. Here are some of my favorites:
"It was pizza day - I hate pizza day! They just re-heat already cooked 5 Buck Pizzas and the cheese is all mushy and the crust is like cardboard."
"I was excited because there were apples, but they were the kind that taste like they store them in vinegar. The lunch lady said they were called Red Delicious. I call them Red Disgusting."
"I think it was supposed to be macaroni and cheese, but it was just gross."
My kids tell me about their friends who get the cafeteria lunches, eat what they like (usually 1/3 or less of what they are served) and dump the rest in the garbage. Do their parents know what they are paying for? Is it really worth it? Is there something I am missing here?
I love making lunches for my kids. It is fun finding jokes that they will enjoy to write on the front and adding an unexpected treat in the bottom of the bag. They are always pleasantly surprised when the typical PB&J is replaced with a bagel and cream cheese, a tortilla roll-up, or their favorite, tuna. I always add a vegetable or fruit, depending on what I know my kids like and will eat. Apples, carrots, celery with peanut butter, pears, green pepper slices, cherry tomatoes...we even sent 'cucumber popsicles' (peel the cucumber, cut it in half and insert a stick in the bottom - it looks like a lime popsicle and is great for dipping in ranch!) for a while one year when our garden was overflowing with cucumbers.
At a time when treats are no longer allowed in classrooms and parents are not allowed to bring homemade items to share on birthdays, shouldn't someone be concerned about what's going on in the food line at the cafeteria?
Here is my suggestion:
The school principal and lunch staff should be required to eat what is being served for lunch that day. If they think it's worthy of them, it can be served to the students.
But my family will still be bringing sack lunches, and you're going to want to trade for what they've got.