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What Your Kid's School Lunch Says About You

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bento box school lunch for a child

Some of us parents lovingly prepare a home lunch. Others throw caution to the wind and hope our kids are eating something with nutritional value at school. Lunch of any kind is my nemesis. Yet I love cooking with my kids. We've made pancakes and shaped them like Mickey Mouse. We prepare peanut butter sandwiches and cut them into hearts and even pirate ships. But when it comes time for prepare them lunch to bring to school, I feel paralyzed. It's just not something I do; it's not something I'm good at. So I have them eat school lunch and it makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong sometimes. Are they eating? Is it full of junk? Are they drinking the high fructose corn syrup juice?!

But I let it go.

We shouldn't judge, but just like how we discussed what your kid's bedtime says about you (and for the sake of some laughs), we can make some assumptions. Home lunch or school lunch? That decision really does say a lot about you.

You are a 100 percent home lunch mom. You know your picky organic only eating kid isn't going to settle for some "lunch a la school." Or maybe you just don't want your child to eat something with ingredients you aren't aware of. No gluten! No artificial anything! You are an ingredient reading mama and take your time in the grocery store checking all the labels and expiration dates. I'm not saying you are anal, but you are hella aware. Magnificently meticulous. Some think you are an overachiever -- you may have been Class President in your day -- but for the record, I think you're great. Also, your child probably has allergies, in which case you are awesome for staying on top of that. You are a hands-on, no shoes in the house kind of mom who makes sure your kids do their homework on time. You probably have (or had or want) a nose ring. Or you homeschool.

You are a 100 percent school lunch mom. You feel like a failure stacked up against those home lunch moms but you are not. (That's what I keep telling myself, at least.) Or maybe you don't care. Either way you are a straight-forward kind of person and a deep thinker. You question the whole organic thing. You most likely despise cooking. You also despise GMOs but making a home lunch just isn't on your menu. Breakfast and dinner is plenty of food to prepare for your brood. If someone else can make them lunch, then you are sure as heck going to allow someone else to make them lunch. Or your child is in one of the older grades and thinks bringing lunch from home is totally uncool. You want your kid to eat healthy, and you also think the school lunch situation might open up your little one to try new foods because she sure isn't eating the green beans you make. 

You do home lunch sometimes and school lunch other times. You are meticulous. You know every holiday and are prepared with the decorations weeks in advance. You never forget school picture day and your child is perfectly dressed with the outfit you thought about him wearing since the first day of school. You make the coolest birthday party invites. You are like a mind-reader when it comes to your kids. Totally in-tune with them. You also know when the school is serving hot dogs and make sure your kid has a hummus, avocado, and carrot sandwich on 987-grain bread that day because your kid hates hot dogs. Since your kid loves pizza so much, you let her eat what the school serves on that day but pray she doesn't drink too much chocolate milk.

No matter what your lunch style is, as always, whatever works for your family works.

Are you a home lunch or school lunch mom? Does this description fit you?

Image via Melissa/Flickr

kids nutrition, school lunch


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nonmember avatar Donna

I pack her lunch everyday. Why because my child is so picky that if I don't she will go hungry! Her lunch has a meat,bread,fruit and something with high fiber in it, and water or Gatorade in it. But if she does she something she will eat at school she can eat a school lunch. She does maybe once a month.

the4m... the4mutts

Lmao surprisingly, this does fit me. I am the sometimes school lunch, sometimes home lunch mom. And while my party invites leave something to be desired, my parties certainly do not! LoL

And I never forget any important event at the school, or make my kids eat their yucky burritos when I could make them something awesome from home.

But I also dont let it bug me when they eat school lunch. Its just sometimes, and it wont kill them.

Daisy... DaisyJupes

If you feel so incredibly terrible for having them buy school lunch, why are you still doing it? 

chigi... chigirl1228

Im the sometimes mom... and it does fit me. I look at the menu and if its something thats not questionable I let her eat there. But I have my nose pierced and question the organic labels lol. A little bit of both to meet in the middle? My daughter is always dressed how I want and hair neatly put in a ponytail or braid. She missed picture day this year but thats only because she switched schools last week.

nonmember avatar April

I'm a "I buy the ingredients, they make their own lunch" kind of mom. I am also the "if they want school lunch, they pay for it themselves" kind of mom. At least now that they are old enough for that.

BusyB... BusyBeesmom

I fix their lunches everyday, not because they are picky eaters or because I need to know what they are eating but because I enjoy doing it. I work full time and sometimes only see them for an hour in the morning while they are getting ready for school. I feel like fixing their lunches shows I still care. This discription does not describe me at all, I am not an overachiever and do not worry constantly over what they eat. I just enjoy fixing them lunches, one day when they decide they want to buy lunches they can.

Katha... Katharine205

I let my daughter choose, we get a menu sent home for a month in advance and her and I sit down and decide what school lunches she wants to eat and what days she doesn't like what they're serving at school. This month she liked everything on the menu (she's not too picky) so she's eating school lunch every day. At her school though they're careful about serving healthy lunches, the menu is pretty detailed and has a good selection of healthy foods (fruits AND veggies at every meal) so I don't feel bad in the least having her eat there. I also volunteer to serve hot lunch regularly so I have seen first hand what she's eating and I give it my full seal of approval. I get to control her snacks during the day though, she gets one healthy snack and one not quite as healthy snack (handi snacks, fruit snacks, etc). I'm an "all things in moderation" mom though.

belon... belongs2Jesus

my boy's school has two chefs. One owns his own Restaurant the other chef is a sous chef at a popular chinese restaurant. What these kids eat is the same stuff those guys cook in their restaurants, I think that's better than a sandwich and chips any ole day

Crystal Ziegler

I pack my daughter's lunch every day .. not because she's particularly picky, but because it's less expensive and I know what she's getting. A typical lunch is a frozen smoothie (made with milk, yogurt, spinach, and various fruits - usually pineapple and strawberries, sometimes bananas and mangos) a sandwich (usually meat, cheese, ketchup (ew but she likes it) and spinach, sometimes a quesadilla or leftovers if it's something that can be eaten cold), a bottle of juice, and some veggies (she'll eat almost anything .. prefers the stem of broccoli (not the "trees"), peas, or corn, will tolerate carrots but usually they come home untouched.)

kymom23 kymom23

I'm a sometimes mom. Lol if the school is serving something they like, they will eat there if they choose. If not, I'll pack their lunch. Plus I have to watch what my oldest eats because of his braces.

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