Tuesday, August 27, 2013

School Lunch

So, school lunches...uh...yeah.

At our old Montessori school they served lunch, so until last year I really only had to come up with a few lunches for camps and whatnot. Last year I am sure I tried to get the kids to eat something of substance in their lunch boxes, but I didn't try very hard. I didn't need any more responsibility and it was crazy enough getting them to school by 7:30am.

By second semester school lunches consisted of chips, cookies, fruit snacks, and Gatorade. Satchel would add a turkey sandwich. They got it together themselves and it was fine by me.

I tried to feed them a decent breakfast and hoped for the best. By the time I got home from work they were starving and had eaten another round of crap waiting for my return.

So, this year, bolstered by the 1000+ posts about creative and healthy school lunch ideas, my friend's genius grid of foods-kids-like-that-are-mom-approved, and what seemed like the perfect lunch box, I vowed to do better.

I had the kids review the grid and then went shopping for the healthiest versions of their requests.


My efforts were met with distrust and disdain. The old LunchBots thing there was a little on the small side for Satchel's needs. Jiro claimed it smelled bad. The things inside tended to get too warm or lost their crunch. By the time I got the lunchboxes back at the end of the day, even I was grossed out.

Satchel actually broke into tears after day 2. "I miss my chips! I want my old lunch back!"


I was ready to give up again, but then Satchel came home cooing about the delicious sandwich he had at lunch. It came from the cafeteria! He traded a friend some (leftover from the bad lunch days) Goldfish for it.

I had broached the idea of the boys going through the line at the beginning of the year, but neither was interested. I tried again.

"You know you could go through the line and get your very own sandwich, right?" I said.

I could see the wheels turning. He had hit bottom. "Okay," he said.

Then I had to convince Jiro. Surprisingly, he was also open to the idea. He said he'd try ONE day. (And then he asked me to text his friend's mom to see if he could go through the line too.)

I talked it up and told them they could buy whatever they wanted, assured them I put plenty of money in their accounts, and printed out the weekly menu for them to peruse.

Yesterday I felt a little nervous sending them off with no food, but by the time I got home they were all smiles. "How was lunch?" I asked.

"Delicious," reported Satchel, who had pizza bread or something like that.

"Awesome," said Jiro, who had a granola and fruit basket.

They both drank milk.

It's $2.25 each per day, or $11.25 each per week. I am sure I was spending more than $22.50 on crap and/or non-crap ingredients.

Even though Tony Geraci is the school cafeteria messiah and the food is 100x better (supposedly) than when we went to school, that's just icing on the cake. I'm out of the lunch business! And the kids are eating!

I'm declaring this a victory.

p.s. I mentioned to Jiro that I'd like to come have lunch with him soon, but he said it is simply too embarrassing to have a parent at lunch in the fourth grade. (This seemed to apply to all parents, so I didn't take it personally.)

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