There have been lots of changes this week in the fight against childhood obesity. First Lady, Michelle Obama has kicked off her “Let’s Move” campaign to encourage parents and kids to eat right and exercise, Kraft Foods has announced that it will cut 10% of the sodium in their foods over the next few years, and Pepsi has agreed to phase out all full calorie drinks in the nation’s schools. Although these steps are significant, they are not the answer to the growing waistlines of our children. I think most will agree that the fight against obesity starts at home. Teaching your kids how to be healthy and active has to come from parents.
I know it’s not easy. My 3 year olds would play computer games all day if I let them, and they would happily live off French fries and chicken nuggets for the rest of their lives, and to let them would certainly be easier and cheaper for me. But my job as a parent is not to make life easier on myself, my job is to set my children up for a long and successful life. That starts with what you put in their mouth.
Currently, a parent’s job gets harder when you send kids to school. School lunches are atrocious. They were when I was in school and they have only gotten worse with budget cuts and a recession. They are typically all one color and full of saturated fats. Some school systems are better than others, since some schools have more funding than others. By law, school lunches must provide 1/3 of the FDA recommended nutritional value to each child, but I think its pretty safe to say that while these kids may be getting a hot meal, they aren’t learning how to eat well.
The tough part for parents is beating the price of the school lunch. Here in Georgia, the average price for a school lunch is about $2 per child. A reduced lunch is no more than $.40 for those who qualify, and then there are those who qualify for the free-lunch program.
Now, I can’t beat free. I don’t think I can beat $.40 either. And if you and your family honestly can’t afford more than $2 a week on lunch for your child, then please disregard this post ( and think of getting rid of your internet because you could be saving some money there). I do think I can beat $2 per meal though.
So, I am challenging myself. The next 3 posts will be dedicated to making a healthy school lunch for your child for less than $2. I’ll do a lunch for pre-k/elementary school kids, middle school kids, and high schoolers too. I’ll keep them easy and quick to make, because I know that at 6 am all you really want is a big cup of coffee, not to hover in your kitchen trying to pack a lunch.
I also challenge you to pack a healthy lunch for your kids this week instead of buying the one at school. Let me hear what you put in their lunch boxes. How you keep it cold. How you keep it fresh. How you keep it fun and exciting for your kids.
I would also love to hear your thoughts about school lunches and childhood obesity, too. So please shout them out in the comments box for everyone to hear!