Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Back to Brown Bagging Lunches

As you can see from the multiple pictures I share of my boys, none of them are by any means fat. Those who know me personally know I often worry that they are too thin. However since the beginning of the school all 3 have been packing on the pounds. For my older two this is great (Jordan was almost 13 before he finally reached 100 lbs.) but I don't think they are gaining weight in a positive way. My Jacob has recently had to switch over to husky for his pants sizes. I know part of his gain is from his CVS. He is also a lot like me and craves sodium rich foods. They aren't big eaters and have (mostly) healthy snacks. I think the culprit is their school lunches. I have noticed most of their classmates are also on the "huskier side".

I know Michele Obama has set in place for healthier school lunches, but are they really that healthy. I do love that the junk foods are not in the vending machines and that students can no longer buy pop during school hours. What is really in our kids' lunches. The fruit they get comes out of huge cans, it's not fresh fruit and it's overly processed. Same with the cooked veggies; out of the can, warmed up , and handed out. Having worked as a lunch lady I can reassure you your child is not eating the cooked veggies they are served. The number of times pizza is served amazes me, for my younger guys the 3 weeks of school this month there'll be pizza 4 times; Jordan has the option to have pizza everyday for lunch. Looking at their menu, it's high starch, loaded with sugars and dyes. Three days this month the hot lunchers get an "extra" treat of a cookie or a bag of chips (I have seen last June's menu where they received cotton candy). The "extra treats" are not on days kids most likely would pass on the lunch; they're on pizza day, chocolate chip Eggo waffle day, and Chef Boyardee ravioli day.

Our elementary school does have alternatives, the students can get yogurt or salad as their main dish. Jacob has done this a few times when the main dish was something he couldn't eat. I like that there is an option. The salads vary day to day, chicken, taco, turkey, etc. but who want to eat salad everyday (I've tried it, it gets old fast). My boys don't like that everything is mixed together, on taco salad day Jacob can't get it unless he want to risk eating the cheese. The yogurt sound like a good option except its a 4 ounce sized Danimal yogurt; that's it, their main part of lunch is basically sugar.

Point being; while hot lunch is a great option for some, it does not work for us. After really looking at the menu and looking at what my kids are really eating, no wonder it is effecting their weight. No wonder all these kid seem like they are bouncing off the walls; they consume so much junk then crash, with the crash comes the moodiness and not wanting to do their work.

We have opted for brown bagging it everyday again. My boys LOVE pizza so once or twice a month they'll grab a pizza lunch from school. This way I know what they are eating and that they will have things in their lunch that they will actually eat. When they have "fresh" fruit/veggies it will be fresh from the produce department, not a can. Also they will get a larger variety of food, the hot lunch menu consist of rotating pizza (and Bosco sticks) , waffles and variations chicken (chicken rings, chicken nuggets, chicken tenders, popcorn chicken, southern chicken) with the occasional hot dog or corn dog tossed in there once or twice.

I am not one of those all organic only eat healthy foods kind of mom, although I try most of the time.
I try to teach to boys to be aware of what they put in their bodies. Not that I want them counting calories or anything like that. Just to understand which food help their bodies work more efficiently and what will bog them down. We read labels, try to keep things in moderation, and try to keep active after some "not so good for you foods". We eat food that's not good for our bodies, Heck we've even had pizza twice in one week due to crazy schedules. I love cookies and sweets (as do the boys), and don't deprive us of them. I think the key to teach balance between which fatty unhealthy foods you eat, how much, and how often.

*While the younger ones are taking lunches everyday, Jordan has chose to continue getting hot lunches. I have to trust that he's making the right choices, I can't always be there to tell him to take carrot sticks instead of two cookies.

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