Back to School Lunches

It’s back to school time, and deciding whether to pack our children’s lunches or let them buy lunch at school is on our mind. Healthy foods verses cost of foods becomes our focus. Food preparation, time crunches, and budgets fill our dreams. Perhaps there can be a happy medium.

Our local schools overhauled their lunch program last year. The school district now offers all healthy foods, with a huge variety of delicious choices. However, the prices have risen considerably. If your school offers healthy food, you may want to let your children buy lunch for the convenience. Check to see if you qualify for the government free or reduced lunch program. If you don’t, you may consider letting your children buy lunch one or two days per week, and pack the rest. They can choose which days they prefer based on what is being served. I have implemented that plan into my own family, and it has worked well.

If your school district has not adapted a healthy eating school lunch program, you could still let them buy lunch one or two days a week on a day that they seem to be serving something close to healthy or resort to packing lunches full time. If you have older school children, you can talk to them about making healthy choices. A review of the food pyramid may be in order, and a review of the school lunch menu.

I used to think that packing lunches would be a money saving task, but with multiple children, I found last year that buying school lunches surprisingly turned out to be slightly less expensive than packing. My youngest resorted to begging me to please let him pack his lunch once in awhile. Packing does give parents the opportunity, especially with younger children, to slip in a note just to say “I love you” once in awhile. And, my children say lunches I pack always taste better, because Mom made them.

So, I think that the decision whether to pack or buy school lunches is a very personal one. I think it depends on the school lunch program as to whether it is healthy or not, and on your little one’s tastes. It also depends on the pricing, and your desire for convenience or savings.

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