Friday, September 19, 2008

7.424635 minutes to eat

Our local school has the unwieldy task of coursing 700 kids through a small cafeteria each day. The environment is intense; the students are hushed continuously. I've been hushed when I dare 'eat' with one of my kids. (I usually spend my 7.424635 minutes opening yogurts and Lunchables containers for little fingers, racing against the clock.)

But when you have a few short minutes to eat, every second counts.

(Side rant: Especially when they hound my lactose intolerant son to take a milk. Or provide a doctor's excuse so he can refuse said milk. Or they tell him to take one and throw it away, which even he gets is wrong and wasteful. So Zack gets roughly 3.537295 minutes to eat. Someday he will come to his senses and stop begging for hot lunch - because it's cool? - but until then I am seething at this new policy./rant)

So, I struggle to put together pleasing and nutritious lunches that my kids can eat in a hurry. Or won't be tossed or traded for toxic crap I won't buy.

I'm thinking bite size. Thermos recipes. Ensure?

I'm begging for clever ideas, clever readers.

Please, help a mama out.

600 posts. Yes, 600 posts. I've been blogging for about two years now. When I hit a hard spot in my would be novel - and I've hit many this week - I'll remember it wasn't that long ago when keeping a blog seemed daunting. Thanks for being along for the ride.

Your presence means the world to me.


Anonymous said...

I make lunches the night before consisting of a sandwich, a fruit, juice box, chips and a special dessert (Oreos work well). They choose the kind of sandwich, they grab the chips from our large Costco box, and they choose a juice. This way, there are guidelines to what they eat, yet they have a small say so that I know it won't be traded.

They are also required to bring home whatever they don't eat so I can monitor what and how much they're eating. Am I mean?

Cafeteria food is gross. Not to mention the occassional stomach ache late afternoon.

Hope it helps!


Shana said...

We only have hot lunch one day a week, it's brown bag only the other four days. My daughter is always jones'ing for a lunchable, so we do "homemade" lunchables. Nice quality coldcuts and cheese in cracker sized pieces, crackers in a three-sectioned small tupperware container and, voila, homemade lunchable. Favorite snacks to go with lunch: granola bar, Pirate's Booty, low fat Cheez-its, grapes, mandarin oranges. Easy and quick is my top priority. Oh, and healthy, yeah, healthy.

Lisa Milton said...

T: You are not mean at all. I like knowing if I am giving them too much/too little.

S: I try to limit Zack to one interrogation, I mean, hot lunch, a week. He's partial to pizza day.
I don't know why he thinks it is COOL to eat that nasty stuff...

Denise said...

I make the same thing everyday. I've tried to mix it up, but my kids like structure I guess.

I make a sandwich, a fruit, bottled water and whole grain chips.

I think the cafeteria food is awful!

natalie said...

600?! you're the one that got me started you know! i wonder if i'll ever turn 600...

Oliver Rain said...

Wow. That's a lot of post! I'm going to do a post about lunches soon. I've always hated doing it until this year and I, being the GUM that I am, have created a monthly rotating menu for lunches.

Minnesota Matron said...

Congrats on the writing, that's the first! I'm revising a novel - and have written TWO that my agent hasn't sold. It's a rough life, honey. I'm rooting for you!!!

Lunch. Boxes of raisins. Shelled sunflower seeds. Cheese and crackers, in a nice plastic container with divisions between the two. Make sure they have water and a napkin, fork, etc. Pineapple chunks. Scarlett is found of 'carrot salad' which is grated carrot with salad dressing on the side, which she pours on. Peeled hard-boiled egg with a teeny tiny container of salt. Pretzels and cheese as a main course. Chips and salsa. Granola and Cliff bars. . . . it's a struggle. But better your food than high fructose corn syrup.

Minnesota Matron said...

Sure, I'm found of carrot salad misilf.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

600 posts! Go girl!

I haven't figured out the lunch thing. I agree that there isn't enough time and that hot lunches are scary stuff.

I do pack for Laura bite-sized food in easy-to-open containers. And she mostly brings home my best efforts untouched. There isn't enough time to socialize over lunch, and socializing is the part that gets done first.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Oh! And your masthead and blog layout are flippin' groovy, in case I haven't mentioned that before.

flutter said...


totally looks like fun


healthy and like a burrito

my mom used to make these all the time and I LOVED them


Madge said...

school lunches are hard. i still struggle with what to pack -- five years into it...

phd in yogurtry said...

My kids aren't big on sandwiches and they want no part of the cafeteria food. We do a lot of leftovers. I've perfected the dinner-tonight-lunch-tomorrow routine. The kids cafeteria has a microwave, so that takes up precious time. But I make a lot of rice dishes and pasta and into small plastic containers it goes. My kids could eat pasta til it comes out of their noses.

lapoflux said...

I have been trying to think of something that might be of assistance to you, but I have not much to offer. We have litterless lunches at school so everything comes home and my boy has not been eating his sandwiches (even on homemade bread) so I am have been reading your comments :-). I'm liking Shana's homemade lunchables idea - Stu always wants them at the store.
What on earth is up with the milk thing? Wow, that's some intelligent help they have in the lunch room. I can understand how frustrating that must be.
600! Wow!! You rock!!

brandy101 said...

My daughter likes very little in the form of *packable* foods,(and yetm this is the same kid who loves virtually every cooked meat and vegetable) so she does hot lunch every day. They have a salad bar option for days when she does not care for the entree selection, so she tries that now and again. They are never forced to take milk. I have never heard of such a thing!

Prego makes a new spaghetti sauce with mini-meatballs mixed in - I got it to try, thinking it could be something I could make up containers of (like penne pasta plus this new prego w. meatball sauce) to put into little containers to freeze for quick microwaveable meals for at home; no reason you couldnt just warm it in the morning and put it into a wide-mouth thermos.

so NOT cool said...

I am slack-jawed. I mean, I know that this kind of stuff goes on but I just do not understand. I can't think like that. I mean, we're not lactose intolerant, yet we don't drink milk per nutritional views. That's our choice!

That aside: Allergies are on the forefront these days. How can someone give a kid a hard time about NOT DRINKING SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE THEM SICK. Sheesh.

Another side note: My daughter and I both have type I diabetes, and though we both eat REALLY healthy, people try to push things on us that we don't eat as well as try to tell us what we shouldn't eat.

Sorry to go on a tangent and sort of blog in your comments, but this is such a shame. What happened to the "lunch hour"? Where you ate your lunch and, depending upon how quickly you finished, generally had a good half hour for each.

Lisa Milton said...

How I wish the kids had time to eat and relax and socialize.

*We* talk about eating when we are hungry, enjoying our meals, and then we make lunch at school miserable.

I have an egg allergy myself and am always teased to just try a bite of cake etc.

People just don't get it.

I will be writing some letters to the lunch provider...

(I find it interesting too because we live in the Pacific NW, home of the vegan.)

holly said...

my local schmesco does pre-chopped fresh fruits, in a bag. HORRIBLY ungreen but healthy and quick.

also, you could just get stuff you want them to eat, puree it, and stick it in a ketchup-like packet so they can just squeeze it in. I COPYRIGHT THAT IDEA FOLKS. yes. me = millionaire by the weekend.

Nora Bee said...

Congrats on your blog milestone! I have no advice to offer on the lunches, I'm afraid. My mom always packed healthy lunches and I marched straight in and traded it all for Twinkies from my friend whose mom put all junk in her lunch box. It's all good.

Beck said...

Half a wrap. Some baby carrots and a little containor of hummus. A yogurt tube. Pre-sliced fruit (because who has time to peel an orange? Not my kids.) Fruit smoothies made with tofu in their thermoses.

Kimberly said...

That milk policy is insane. Recent studies show that the calcium in milk is readily absorable by our bodies anyway. Talk about propaganda. Bleh.

Jennifer H said...

600 posts? Wow! That's impressive. Can't wait to pick up your book someday from the shelves of my favorite bookstore...keep going.