Brown Bag or Buy?


Several months ago, my sister asked me if I’d seen the Jamie Oliver show, Food Revolution. I hadn’t and wasn’t that intrigued by it. I listened to several of her stories about it and understood why she was. Her oldest had just reached school age and she was battling the brown bag vs. buy dilemma. Her daughter was asking for school lunch and she insisted on sending one from home.

Recently I came across the show while scrolling through the guide on a rainy day so I watched a rerun episode. Wow! I was shocked to see what was being served as a “balanced meal” in some school lunch programs. Perhaps shocked wasn’t the right word to choose. Maybe horrified is a better one.

When you think about it, one third of your child’s nutrition comes from what he/she eats for lunch at school. We, as parents, can control that simply by insisting our children brown bag it. Giving the control away may mean that pizza, mozzarella sticks or chicken nuggets and fries become the food that is responsible for fueling your child to finish the school day.

I think of how I would perform, as a mother, group fitness instructor/manager and housewife, if this were my fuel. Put a chocolate milk on top of that and basically I have a sugar rush driving me until I crash. Perhaps this sounds extreme, but occassionally I do think things to death.

Personally, I feel good about the lunch I pack my preschooler on a daily basis – an apple (or some other fruit), a low fat yogurt, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or turkey and cheese, on whole wheat bread. She brings her water bottle as her drink. I know I’ll be up against the buying-at-school battle next year. It’s fun to feel that independence, it’s a “big kid” kinda thing to do. I get it. But, will she get my side of it? I hope so.

Take the time to investigate your school lunch program before giving in to the ease of not having to pack one at home. Given it’s one third of your child’s consumption during the week, I think it’s worth the time. What food will you choose to use as fuel for your child? Will you maintain the control you have with that brown bag (or character lunch box) or will you give it up to the empty calories available at school?

Whatever you decide…remember, your food is your fuel.  Cars can’t run on empty, nor can we

~Carri Nelsen

 

How do you feel about the lunch menu available at your child’s school?

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