Monday, 2 September 2013

School Lunches

While all school aged kids need a school lunch, it seems there are many ways of actually getting one.

We've experienced school lunches since Montessori.

In Japan, it was lunch from home, with the option to buy food and drinks at the cafeteria. Each student was issued with a 'card' which had money added to it and each purchase was then debited. Parents could go online and manage what the kids spent on a daily basis, or nominate they could only access food to a min amount each day/week; you could note allergies, or stipulate vegies or fruit with every meal.

In UK, lunch ladies provided a hot and cold option every day in the dining room.

So, the generic term school lunches means different things to different people depending on where you're from. Then you have WHAT people have for lunch. One friend in Yokohama shares the daily bento box she lovingly creates for her daughter. The creativity is amazing!

Not one of my friends, but close enough!

It's been a while since I've made a school lunch and to be honest, the thought wasn't very attractive. Coming up with different ideas for dinner every night is stressful enough at times, but to think of lunches too, OY!

MissM's enjoyed school lunches for the past two years - as have I. With positive peer pressure, she's tried lots of foods, liked some (curry, spaghetti cabonarra), not liked others (casseroles, lasagna), but the importance was she tried them. Each week was different, tho there were meals often repeated so favorites would turn up. There was also a salad bar, and a bread roll waiting for those kids who didn't want a hot meal and this was MissM's preferred option most of the time.

One of her criteria for school selection in moving to Dublin was 'home made lunches' and so with that in mind, I started reminding myself of the things I used to make for lunch, remembering of course, the last time I had to make school lunches we was in Yokohama so a packet of Nori was brilliant for snack/recess/morning tea; and lunch was anything from a Vegemite sandwich to sushi to noodles to schnitzel.

Her 'new' school provides hot lunches in a cafeteria style setting. You pre-purchase 'tickets' and present the ticket at the cafeteria; or you can bring lunch from home and everyone eats together.

The supermarkets here, as I'm sure elsewhere promote HEALTHY LUNCHBOX IDEAS in a lot of the isles, tho the amount of unhealthy, sugar filled options have me wondering the Healthy bit.

A friends posted a link to healthy lunches on her FB page, and as I read it, I remembered all the easy ways to keep school lunches as healthy as ones at home, so there's really no big deal about them.

With a new set of lunch plastic ware with easy clip-lock sides; and a pink polka dotted lunch bag MissM was ready!

We sat down and discussed ideas for snack time, and lunch. I figured if she has input, there's a greater chance it'll be eaten! When I was her age I was making my lunch and my brothers! Guess with no siblings, this won't be happening but soon enough she can start making her own.

Trust me, we didn't come up with anything extra special or unique, but it's a good healthy list of a variety of foods that are easily packed into a lunch box.

We found Nori.
We have Vegemite.
I made schnitzel.
There's rice crackers, sultana's, croissants, fresh fruit.
A choice of bagel, wrap, crackers or bread.
Cheese sticks, yoghurt tubes, fruiche, and smoothie drinks.

Come winter time, and we can add soup, or soy chicken and noodles in a thermos to the list (so says MissM)

MissM won't starve, and soon enough she can start making her own lunch and let me off the hook.

Now, what to have for dinner ......................

With friendship

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