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Talk About School Lunches

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  • Talk About School Lunches

    Another thread got me thinking: What school lunches do your kids eat - home-made or from the cafeteria? What were your school lunch options when you were a kid? And, more importantly, what would you choose?

    When I was a kid, I never ever brought lunch from home - I'd always be given a dollar or two from my parents in the morning and use that to pay for my lunch every day.

    In elementary school (1990-1997), I usually ordered the "hot meal" which was something like pasta and sauce, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, mac & cheese, etc. In junior high (1997-1999) I started swaying from that since we suddenly had more [and unhealthier] options. Starting then I'd usually get nachos (stale-ish tortilla chips topped with bright orange goopy "cheese" sauce straight from the pump!) and a gigantic barely-baked chocolate chip cookie, with a gatorade on the side.

    In high school (1999-2003) it got worse, if you can imagine! I'd get a soft pretzel with the same "cheese" mentioned before, poured over top. I'd get the same cookie, too, or sometimes get a big bowl of soft-serve ice cream (fat-free, high-sugar of course!) topped with caramel. Sometimes I'd forgo the pretzel and just get two big bags of Cheetos and a bottle of Mountain Dew.

    Sure, we had options for the "hot meal", too, and I vaguely recall seeing a salad bar... but I definitely never ate a veggie for or with my lunch in high school!

    What about you guys?
    Last edited by MissJecka; 09-07-2012, 01:48 PM.
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  • #2
    Back when I was in school, we still had "lunch ladies" who cooked, so we had something passed for actual food. I remember, in high school, when the very first pop machine was installed outside the gym. It was a marvel!

    However the state of modern school lunches played a role in why my husband and I decided 9 years ago that our late life surprise would be homeschooled. He eats at home, and so he eats primal.
    Grain Free since 2009, WP from 2005
    ~100% primal (because anything less makes me very sick)
    Goal: hike across Sweden with my grandchildren when I retire in a few years


    • #3
      I grew up on a farm in Canada & was homeschooled so lunch options were pretty limited to healthy home cooked meals.
      somehow i dont think I missed much
      Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise', I wash my mouth out with chocolate.


      • #4
        I don't eat lunch on weekdays anymore, I used to eat 20 Oreos
        well then


        • #5
          When I was in grade school there was a team of lunch ladies making delicious balanced meals from scratch. Obviously that's been a while and times have changed for the worse. I am horrified at what is served in schools today and at the diets of children in general. I ave watched my grandkids being raised on a steady diet of Mac and cheese, grilled cheese and chicken fingers and their parents are clueless that this is causing problems for them.


          • #6
            I remember having healthy lunch choices at school, but usually going threw the snack bar line, eating chili cheese fries. I am actually a substitute lunch lady now. I am impressed how much better it is now than 4 years ago when I started. There is still work to be done, but at least the kids are offered several choices of fruit and vegetables, a lot of which are fresh.. I still can't look at the entree items without gagging a little. This year the school district started the policy of unlimited fruits and veggies the first time threw the line each day.

            My kids only eat to buy once a week, they eat primal the other days. I don't think my son realizes he's down to just a few grains a week.
            Primal since 4/7/2012

            Starting weight 140
            Current weigh 126




            • #7
              My mom made my lunch until I was about 15 or 16 years old. Sandwich, fruit and maybe a cookie. In elementary school I also got 7 cents for milk. Ice cream was 10 cents so I saved my money and bought ice cream every other day and eventually candy at the 7-11 down the street once there were enough leftover pennies. This surreptitious abuse of my milk money was my introduction to money management.
              Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.


              • #8
                In Australia, we have tuckshop, not cafeterias. Our classrooms and eating areas are outside (though I live in Qld, it may be different in the southern states where they have longer, colder winters). You have a brown paper bag with your order on the outside and put the money in, it gets taken to the tuckshop and returned just before lunch. This means parents can choose their child's lunch (for those in primary school). You can go and buy stuff directly from the tuckshop too.

                As a child, my favourite was banana on wholemeal bread. No idea why, I just loved it. We were poor, so tuckshop only happened once or twice a term. At another, smaller school, tuckshop only happened once a week and I was able to get the pikelets with a bit of cream and jam.

                Now our primary school (3 kids are in primary school), we don't even have a tuckshop! Love it! (except that for some of the students, it would offer far healthier options than some of their own lunchboxes). My eldest is now in high school and because they're a prep to grade 12 (ie all of schooling) private school, there is a tuckshop. She's old enough and responsible enough to make good food choices, so occasionally will buy a salad. The sushi she had was too sweet so doesn't want that again.

                (for those who don't know the differences in schooling. In Qld, prep starts at age 4 or 5 (those born before July 1, hence the two ages) and grade 7 (age 12) is primary school. High school starts with gr 8 (age 13) until gr 12 (17). The last government decided, in all its major stupidity, to change things so gr 7 will be the first year of high school. Fantastic! Now our already packed full high schools will have another entire year level to try and squeeze in. Let's get the children to adulthood even faster!)


                • #9
                  It's shameful that schools serve the lowest quality foods to the section of the population that needs the highest quality foods. In a sense the kids are being taught to make poor food choices that will effect them for the rest of their lives. Personally if I had to choose who should have the best (most nutritious) foods in our house, with out question it would be my son, he's the one that's growing. Our 14yr. old son is unschooled so he eats very well.

                  My husband is a high school teacher and he never eats lunch in the cafeteria, even their idea of healthy options is crap. If he forgets his lunch he fasts until he gets home.
                  Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.


                  • #10
                    In elementary I bought a hot lunch daily, I don't remember it being too horrible or remarkable either. Early in High school my mom gave me a set amount of lunch money for the month and I determined how to use it. Some weeks I bought lunch stuff at the store and brought it to school. Usually a turkey sandwich, yogurt, etc. Some weeks I bought in the cafeteria. Usually pizza bagels and other crap.
                    My older son is in a very small public montessori and we have a lunch lady. They have a full salad bar daily and then she makes a main dish and additional cooked veggie. Fridays there is a dessert. I let him buy once a week and pack a primal lunch the other 4.
                    My younger one is in a private Montessori Children's house and we have to send a lunch. They sent a note this year about how high carb, low fat, sugar laden lunches don't help kids focus and asked that we send nothing with a bar code on it. It was awesome! At any rate, he gets a primal lunch.


                    • #11
                      Back when I was in elementary school (late eighties) we also had lunch ladies who cooked balanced meals from scratch. Usually we had a soup, then a main course with protein, fat, veggies and some type of starch. Desert was often some sugary pudding type concoction, but more often than not we were given fruit instead.
                      Aaah, how the times have changed. For the worse, much worse.


                      • #12
                        I didn't have much options for lunches when I was a kid, but it was usually a slice of bread with a slab of butter folded over and a tub of yoghurt.

                        I remember in high school they changed everything to 'healthy' (just took all the lollies out) by law - lots of fruit juice, sandwiches and rolls, and took out the coca cola. I remember the uproar at that...

                        Originally posted by Bron View Post
                        In Australia, we have tuckshop, not cafeterias. Our classrooms and eating areas are outside (though I live in Qld, it may be different in the southern states where they have longer, colder winters). You have a brown paper bag with your order on the outside and put the money in, it gets taken to the tuckshop and returned just before lunch. This means parents can choose their child's lunch (for those in primary school). You can go and buy stuff directly from the tuckshop too.
                        Oh gosh I haven't thought of lunch orders for years
                        Yeah, I only had it once a term too, always at the end of the term, and all the other kids would do the same thing and the tuck shop ladies would get annoyed that the orders would double.


                        • #13
                          During elementary, I would take in an apple (otherwise, it was mandatory pb&j sandwiches offered by the school) and when I got older, I would skip lunch.