Lots of Work Ahead to Make School Lunches Healthier

This week was National School Lunch Week from Oct. 10-14. The theme this year is “Let’s Grow Healthy.” I thought it would be fun to ask you what your favorite school lunch was growing up.

Your Favorite School Lunches

I reached out to my friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter to see what they had to say about school lunch. It was interesting. Many people acknowledged the fact that their school lunches as kids were not very healthy, unless their mommy packed it for them. There were definitely trends to the most popular school lunches.

According to you guys, the most popular school lunches, or “hot lunches” as I called them when I was growing up, were:

  • Chicken nuggets or tenders, popcorn chicken or chicken patties was the winner for fave school lunch, according to Jacki_Halas, BeccaJean51, jnboado, noisyzen, kristen_squires, mpaetow, DanFuoco and victoriamarzec. So basically battered and fried chicken — obviously not the healthiest option, but it definitely puts perspective on how school lunches have evolved and must continue to become healthier. Chicken nugget Thursdays or pizza day were my favorite when I was in elementary school, too.
  • Grilled cheese, according to Jillz1981, InglesDietitian, JLynnPierce, rhysrama was the best school lunch. I still love grilled cheese and tomato soup.
  • Aroundtheplate, angesando, EmilyDMoran, and tomderocha chose Bosco sticks, a breadstick that you dip into a sauce, as their favorite. Once again, obviously not the healthiest choice. It can be just a breadstick or most of the time it is a stuffed breadstick with either cheese, pepperoni, pizza flavoring, or Mexican flavors.

Here are a few of my favorite replies regarding school lunch:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/matthewasousa/status/124344384597671936″]

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving dinner?

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Stella_Trunzo/status/124453326694785025″]

I am totally going to use this as a potluck idea, where everyone brings their favorite potato topping and I’ll supply the potatoes. I actually do something similar by having salad bar parties, where I supply the lettuce and dressings and everyone brings their favorite salad topping. It is a great healthy alternative to a typical potluck or party.

On this one, I know I am probably biased because I am Filipino, but I couldn’t resist:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Rmercader/status/124491793361420288″]

And just for the record, pan de sal is a delicious Filipino roll. While,  siopao is a steamed rice bun with a barbeque-like meat in the center. My husband calls siopao a meat jelly donut. It cracks me up every time.

Speaking of jelly, I had to share that many of you when bringing a sandwich from home went with the classic PB&J as your favorite. It is definitely still one of mine too and always will be.

Now What?

Obviously, we need to do better and serve healthier school lunches to our children. The infographic below from the Masters of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California gives us the facts.

Childhood Obesity Epidemic Infographic
Brought to you by [email protected] Masters in Teaching

The childhood  obesity epidemic is happening. This is an opportunity for change and to take control. The Fed Up with Lunch School Project is just another way to promote healthy and delicious lunches in an affordable manner to serve all children.

How do you prepare a healthier lunch for your children or for yourself? I would love to hear your healthy lunch ideas.

Photo Credit: dancing chopsticks

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  1. We make sure that our son has at least 1 fruit in his lunch every day. He doesn’t eat school lunch anymore because we want to make sure that he has a balance. We are shifting to juice once/week and bottled water instead (just to make sure he is drinking more water during the school day…something I need to work on as well). Additionally, he will start taking fresh veggies –since he enjoys dipping in dressing. I have to do something for him and the rest of our family. The spread comes quickly and stays around much too long… I wish schools would offer more salad bars.

    1. Hi LaToniya,
      Thank you so much for this comment. It makes me so happy to hear. You are inspiring and proof that it can be done. What a great example you are for your son! He and your entire family will be healthier and happier for it.

      I wish there was more salad bars at schools too. :O)

  2. I love the creative way that [email protected] expressed the data about the “Childhood Obesity Epidemic” and hope that eventually, concerns and new standards for healthier lunches are made not only at the primary and secondary levels of education; but for college students and in the work place as well!!
    =)

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