Monday, August 16, 2010

School Lunch Anxiety

The girls start school this week, so this weekend we did a lot of organizing.  As usual, when we went through their clothes, quite a few didn't fit any more.  They sharpened all their pencils and filled their backpacks, and a another big bag, with school supplies.  We organized their closets and shoes.  We're really pretty set.

In the middle of it all, I had to make a complete mind shift about what they eat for lunch.  We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which the girls like a lot.  When it comes to school lunches, I need portable fruits and vegetables, so my options are more limited.

When I look in our refrigerator right now, we have plums, peaches and apples.  I realized this morning that none of those are suitable for school lunches.  Really, have you ever tried to eat a peach four hours after it was sliced?  The brown, gooey mess isn't very appealling. 

I need portable fruits like cut melons, strawberries, grapes, cherries, blueberries, etc.  Costco sells pre-cut apples preserved in a citric acid, so that will go on our next shopping list.  We'll find organic raisins and other dried fruits to make up the difference when the portable fruit isn't available.

We also need a daily snack.  First graders in our school district get a mid-morning snack.  This has to be something healthy, so cookies, cinnamon pretzels, etc. are out. We're also discouraged from sending anything with nuts because of the risk to students with food allergies.  

The idea of having to send them with a snack and lunch each day is causing me a bit of stress, so I reacted in my usual form. I organized everything. We created a single shelf in the pantry where all their reusable plastic containers sit with our "school only" food.  We have lots of options to pull together snacks and lunches.  I think our plan is to get as much as possible ready the night before, but we know how that goes.  Some stuff just needs to be done in the morning before school.   

I think the hardest part is just the idea of getting two snacks and lunches ready each morning.  I realize people do it all the time, but we're going from zero to two.  The first few weeks will be a bit dicey, but we'll make it.  We'll find our routine and they will still have healthy, tasty lunches.  

It will all be fine, and I'll keep telling myself that until it really does just become a daily routine. Then again, I'm the mom who forgot to send juice and a snack for an entire week last year when it was all I needed to send, so it's not looking good that this will go smoothly.  Still, it's a new year, so I'm hopeful.  

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