School Lunch

This is the third year that my son is bringing his lunch to school.  In Kindergarten, he only attended half day but he attended the after school program where he ate his lunch that we packed.  In first grade, he was anxious and excited to eat his school lunch at the lunch tables with all of the other kids.  But we started noticing a trend in his lunch eating….a ton of food was coming home with him.

School Lunch
We finally realized that he was in a hurry to go out and play, so he rarely finished his lunch. He came home hungry and cranky. It was not good. We then sat down with him and discussed his lunch options. We asked what he wanted in his lunches, and we also told him that he needs to eat.

This school year, second grade, brought some big changes to my son’s lunch.  He has been asking to buy “hot lunch” for quite some time.  He has always brought his lunch.  We told him that he could buy lunch on Fridays at school. He was and is still excited by that fact.  I’m pretty excited about not having to make his lunch on Fridays, which is my day off.

On the first day of school, we got an email from the principal of my son’s school.  She wanted everyone to know that they were making some changes for “lunchtime” at my son’s school.  They were now going to use the “Play Before Eating”  schedule for lunches.  My son is super happy with this new schedule because he gets to work on his “handball” skills while not hurrying to eat prior.  My son, as with most second graders, is pretty obsessed with handball right now.

Before my son bought his first “hot lunch”, I downloaded the school district’s lunch menu for elementary schools.  I immediately noticed verbage and bolded titles on their website announcing “healthy changes for the 2012-2013 school year.”  The school district was meeting the federal standards for school meals, and was ensuring that meals were healthy and well-balanced with age-appropriate calorie limits, larger servings of fruit and vegetables, fat free or 1% milk, more whole grains, and less sodium.  From the school district’s website: “a lunch meal is comprised of five components based on MyPlate.  A meal must have 3-5 components.  Students must take a 1/2 cup fruit or a vegetable with a meal.”  They also offer condiments, such as: ranch dressing, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, syrup, soy sauce, marinara sauce, and taco sauce.

What does this all mean? My son is FINALLY drinking milk again! He hasn’t been a milk drinker since preschool, and the changes at school have prompted him to drink milk again. He is asking for more fruits and vegetables in our house. He has also turned into the “Healthy Food Police”.  He recently told me that I need to stop drinking Dr. Pepper, and he also told my mom, his grandmother, to stop drinking Diet Coke. He told his Nana, that “Diet Coke is not healthy and that she should drink water”.  I love my son’s new “Health Kick” especially since he rides his bike with me now when I run, without any hesistation. He actually asks me when I’m going to go and run now. And I also think that he is going through a growth spurt, because he is literally eating 24/7.  We can’t keep enough food in our house.  I can only imagine how it will be when he is a teenager.

I’m constantly looking online for new ideas for my son’s school lunches.  He is stuck in a “turkey sandwich rut” right now.  I love Pinterest for ideas, and have saved quite a great posts.  One of my favorite posts about “school lunches” is from Kristen Howerton from Rage Against The Minivan.  In her post, Teaching Kids To Pack Their Own Lunches, she added a great printable “How To Pack Your Lunch” which has great lunch making guidelines for me and my son.

Between the dates of October 15th-19th, 2012, Hidden Valley Original Ranch dressings & dips are hosting the Lunch Break for Kids National Fundraiser.  Lunch Break for Kids goal is to showcase how simple, good food can make healthier bodies and stronger family connections, as well as support CCF’s national Childhood Nutrition Day in its mission to promote healthier eating to kids and their families through community-based initiatives.  Find a Lunch Break for Kids fundraiser or a Childhood Nutrition Day volunteer location in your area to join, or start one of your own.  Here is the list of locations (select “location” on the navigation toolbar at the top).

Disclosure: This is a compensated and sponsored post via DailyBuzz Moms and DailyBuzz Food, partnering with Hidden Valley Ranch.  All opinions, thoughts, and photographs are mine.

The Hidden Valley® Original Ranch®, dressings & dips has provided me with free product to help with my review, but anything I receive from Hidden Valley does not affect my thoughts on its company or their product.