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Old 09-04-2011, 08:32 AM   #21
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OP: I think you are frugal!
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #22
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Our kids make their own lunches. It often consists of leftovers. My son also loves to take sushi in his lunch. Octopus works well because of the gross-out factor.
Try squid. The small ones with tentacles ready to grab tonsils as they go down are a huge gross-out hit. They are a good source of inexpensive protein, and go well in Asian dishes.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:36 AM   #23
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Squid and sushi are very tasty and bound to be a hit at school, but I'd be concerned about them sitting unrefrigerated all morning.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:38 AM   #24
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Our son's school posts the menu monthly, we go through and pick and choose which lunch's he brings in and which ones he eats hot. Its a good mix.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #25
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Our kids got a weekly allowance that included enough cash for lunches. They would look at the menu and see if there was a day that offered something they liked. If they packed a lunch from home they kept the lunch money. Our older son always liked the rotini and meat sauce lunch at school, the younger son liked the pizza or chicken nuggets.

Nutritionally, the food was crap. And the menu was repeated so often that after the 4th time the kids didn't think it was all that great.

They learned that if they brought lunch from home, the saved cash added up quickly. Eating the school lunch lost it's attraction.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:54 AM   #26
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My kids report that some parents bring their kids home-cooked hot meals for lunch. The parents line up outside the lunchroom and the kids get their bento box as they go in. This is almost exclusively Asian parents, so it must be a cultural thing.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:33 AM   #27
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Interesting comments... it's been awhile since I've thought about school lunches.

- I get the impression the food quality is like fast food, tasty but not good for you.

- It's not the cost, packing a lunch has many benefits, i.e. quality, time lost, better seating, learning $$ skills, etc.

DD is 5 so some things won't apply just yet, but good to know. Thanks.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:38 AM   #28
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We'll probably be one of those families as the school is just 2 blocks from home and gives DW another reason to walk the dog.

DD generally just want plain rice (mix of white & brown rice) and stir fry tofu or steam fish. I'll toss a starburst in as a treat... it just makes DD happy for a tiny treat.

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My kids report that some parents bring their kids home-cooked hot meals for lunch. The parents line up outside the lunchroom and the kids get their bento box as they go in. This is almost exclusively Asian parents, so it must be a cultural thing.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:40 AM   #29
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It'll probably be easier for us to identify a special day like every Friday for a school lunch if at all. I agree a mix could be nice.


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Our son's school posts the menu monthly, we go through and pick and choose which lunch's he brings in and which ones he eats hot. Its a good mix.
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Old 09-04-2011, 01:14 PM   #30
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Go point on type of foods and quality. I thought I lost control at age 25 probably not huh?
I read further on that your daughter is five. Well, wait till you see what you have to face in the public school system. One of my neighbors told me she was relieved when her son going into third grade picked sneakers that only cost $67. Young girls with make-up, bras, pants that say "Sexy" across the bottom in elementary school. Childhood zips by today, and much innocence is lost so young with all the influence from TV. When I am at the gym I see some shows that are on primetime and I just about go into cardiac arrest at the shock of the sex and violence little ones are exposed to.

You have gotten a lot of hints about setting limits in this environment from several posters who allowed their kids to make choices and learn from them. School lunches save many kids from going hungry all day, but the food may be a far cry from what you serve at home.
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:11 PM   #31
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If I recall correctly, the school lunch program's main goal when it was started was to use up surplus food produced by the farmers. Given what I have seen served to the students, I think that is still the truth. Examples: pancakes made with highly processed flour and flooded with sugary syrup, hot dogs on a stick, all sorts of sugary cerials, chips, cookies, and the list goes on. Make her a good lunch.
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Old 09-04-2011, 06:37 PM   #32
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52andout - yes, kids nowadays scare me, not the cost, but the sexual content every time you turn. I hope semi-ER one day will allow me not to overstress and have a heartattack due to some things you mentioned. For the boyfriends, I'll make sure my police caps are casually displayed.


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I read further on that your daughter is five. Well, wait till you see what you have to face in the public school system. One of my neighbors told me she was relieved when her son going into third grade picked sneakers that only cost $67. Young girls with make-up, bras, pants that say "Sexy" across the bottom in elementary school. Childhood zips by today, and much innocence is lost so young with all the influence from TV. When I am at the gym I see some shows that are on primetime and I just about go into cardiac arrest at the shock of the sex and violence little ones are exposed to.

You have gotten a lot of hints about setting limits in this environment from several posters who allowed their kids to make choices and learn from them. School lunches save many kids from going hungry all day, but the food may be a far cry from what you serve at home.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:41 AM   #33
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I call it frugal. I suppose you could beat school lunch prices with a daughter that eats light, but I have a 15 year old boy that is 5'11" and goes 190 and a 13 year old that's 5'8" and 160. A half sandwich and some fruit ain't gonna cut it. We pay $100 for about a months worth of meals. There is no way I could pack lunches for that. Even if I wanted to pack them leftovers they now eat everything I make for dinner. I'd have to make extra just to have left overs.

I have a hard time believing that you can pack a lunch for under a buck that's going to be better than the school lunch. With the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, etc., I just doubt it can be done, even for a 5 year old, much less a teenager, even a girl.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:52 AM   #34
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Read food costs more than junk food. Over the years our modern food system has flipped. It used to be that real food was cheaper than prepackaged, factory made food. Now real fruits, vegetables, decent cuts of meat, etc. are more expensive. I would take a good hard look at what the school lunch consists of when comparing the expense. It may be cheaper, but it is good value and is it healthy?


Personally, I try to eat more food that grows on plants, and less food made in plants.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:26 PM   #35
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Sounds like your kids get their/your $$ worth when you go to the local buffet!

Based on the feedback, $$ isn't the #1 factor, it'll be overall diet. Either way $2 a meal is inexpensive in my mind. DD is a lightweight for now, always low on the weight curve from the doctor's.


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I call it frugal. I suppose you could beat school lunch prices with a daughter that eats light, but I have a 15 year old boy that is 5'11" and goes 190 and a 13 year old that's 5'8" and 160. A half sandwich and some fruit ain't gonna cut it. We pay $100 for about a months worth of meals. There is no way I could pack lunches for that. Even if I wanted to pack them leftovers they now eat everything I make for dinner. I'd have to make extra just to have left overs.

I have a hard time believing that you can pack a lunch for under a buck that's going to be better than the school lunch. With the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, etc., I just doubt it can be done, even for a 5 year old, much less a teenager, even a girl.
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:27 PM   #36
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Agree - healthy food is more expensive generally speaking.

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Read food costs more than junk food. Over the years our modern food system has flipped. It used to be that real food was cheaper than prepackaged, factory made food. Now real fruits, vegetables, decent cuts of meat, etc. are more expensive. I would take a good hard look at what the school lunch consists of when comparing the expense. It may be cheaper, but it is good value and is it healthy?


Personally, I try to eat more food that grows on plants, and less food made in plants.
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:33 PM   #37
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A few decades ago I spent some time teaching in High School and absolutely refused to eat what was being passed off as food. My wife retired last year after 12 years in some nice neighborhood Middle and Grade School and would go hungry before eating from the cafeteria. She knew what the sanitary conditions were (unresolved mice and roach problems) as well as nonexistant fresh fruits and veggies but rather large volumes of processed foods, starches, and sugar in a variety of forms. Not so good for developing minds and bodies. Even the chocolate milk that most children opted for had very little dairy with high concentrations of milk substitutes (non-dairy chemicals).
If you ever get a chance to see Jaimie Oliver's show where he tries to reform the cafeteria food in a Huntington, WVa highschool you will get a good idea of what is being served to our children in most schools in this country and the opposition to making changes from the powers that be. It is sad and contrary to healthy diets/eating habits as taught in Nutrition courses.

Cheers!
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Old 09-06-2011, 02:50 PM   #38
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We have children roughly the same age (1st grader and Kindergartner). We have mostly done school lunches - $2 per kid here. We are one of the rare families that actually pays the full price for lunch (poorest school of over 100+ elementary schools in the district). We figure a bag lunch runs at least a dollar, maybe a bit more (typically a ham sandwich, small apple or banana, and self packed bag of chips or crackers, bottle of water, often reused multiple days). Occasionally we will pack leftovers like edamame or corn. We could probably trim $5 a week off the food expenses, but the convenience for us of not having to pack 10 lunches a week is worth it.

I don't think there is a stigma of poor kids eating the school lunch because virtually all the kids are poor (getting free/reduced lunch) at our school. We mostly let the kids eat the school lunch because they want to, and we feel it is a good way to expose one of our kids to other foods because she is a picky eater. So far no complaints from the kids, but we would certainly switch to packing bag lunches if they wanted to pack lunch.
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Old 09-07-2011, 08:44 AM   #39
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My young one actually will ask to take a lunch at times... she says she is a 'lunch boxer'...

The older one in 8th grade will not eat if he had to take his lunch....
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Old 09-07-2011, 06:43 PM   #40
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I agree.
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