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Let's Talk Kids Lunches - Are your kids getting enough to eat at school?

Updated: Apr 21, 2023

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This is my first year navigating the public school system. I have a son who entered Kindergarten and Holy Learning Curve Batman! (Not only for him, but for ME!) I didn't really know what to expect in way of meal time, but I guess I just assumed that when the school said they serve both breakfast and lunch that I took their word for it.


I receive a monthly breakfast and lunch menu and while the breakfast menu consists of things that we don't typically stock in our home, muffins, Poptarts, etc., the lunch menu seemed like your typical elementary school menu. Pizza with a salad, chicken nuggets and green beans, meatloaf and mashed potatoes.....


What I completely failed to realize was that there was a cold- sack lunch option that usually consisted of an Uncrustable, a bag of Cheetos, either a yogurt or apple sauce and a Kool-aid pouch. Not the worst sack lunch if you're having a random picnic or out for a fiend trip. But definitely not something you want to find out your kid has been choosing for himself since day one! Talk about Mom guilt.

In November I volunteered to help the class make their Christmas Ornaments and had the opportunity to sit with my son during lunch time and eat together. While it was such a special time, it was also very eye opening. This is where our journey towards better health began.


I learned that day that I wanted to be more actively involved in his nutrition not only at home but at school as well. We began hanging the school menu on the fridge and discussing what option he should choose that day. The option is always his, but we discuss how food is fuel and talk about how food can effect mood, focus and energy.

Every night I conduct a pop quiz to test our family knowledge of GOOD foods and TREAT foods. (Remember I am speaking to my now 6 year old son and 4 year old daughter.) Good foods can go on a meal time plate and we are allowed to ask for more. Good foods provide us with energy, make our tummies feel full, help us sleep better during naps and at bedtime and help our minds focus.


Treat foods are snacks and desserts. After school my kids can have 1 item from their "Snack Basket". I have placed a basket on a shelf in our kitchen that contains snacks that the kids can have after school. This contains snack crackers, chips, fruit cups, protein bars, raisins, etc. It's a mix of mom approved snacks and kids snacks that they have picked out themselves at the store. Also, a couple times per week I will let the kids have a small portion of ice cream or maybe a small piece of left-over birthday cake after they have completed the majority of their dinner. The understanding we have set with Treat Foods are that they are limited, sugar filled, make us a little wound up, distract our brains and can make us operate below our best.

We are not a sweets centered house, but we also like to LIVE and not place too many restrictions on food. We are trying our best to raise kids who know how food effects them so they can make wise decisions.


Back to school... Knowing that my kids were being fed was great. Knowing that they were not always presented with the best options, making good choices for themselves, or being so distracted that they didn't eat a full meal made me start to research ways I could intervein.


How could I ensure my kids were not HANGRY throughout the day? How could I help set them up for success?


That's when I found Orgain Kids Protein Shakes. We have been drinking them since December and it has made a WORLD of difference. We sit at our breakfast bar, take our morning vitamins, drink our protein shakes, sometimes share a small breakfast snack of fruit or toast, and off we go! Knowing they have something healthy and filling on their tummies before starting their long day helps boost their mood and attention span right off the bat. Read the label for yourself. Plus, they taste amazing!! There are no bigger critics that my kids when it comes to the flavor of their beverages. (The kids still won't drink hot cocoa if I make it... Only if Gigi does.) They LOVE Orgain Kids Chocolate Protein Shakes.

**AUTISM HACK- My son has a hard time being ok with drinking from a beverage container that has a lid. We stock STRAWS in bulk and ever since using a simple plastic bendy straw, we have overcome the beverage war.


Now, not matter what food choices they make throughout the day, I know that I am doing my best in the morning AND in the evening to ensure my kids are healthy and THRIVING! That's all we can do, right? I'm a firm believer in setting our kids up for success through education and healthy alternatives.


Let's recap:

1- TALK ABOUT FOOD with your kids! Google silly pictures of animated food people. Conduct pop quizzes about food choices. Explain how food is fuel. (Like me, you may just learn a lot in the process.)

2- Let Your KIDS GET INVOLVED! Let them pick out 50% of their fav sacks and then you pick out 50% of snacks you would like them to eat. Talk about health. Let them learn and demonstrate the balance between Good foods and Treat foods.

3- Ensure that you set your family up for SUCCESS first thing in the morning! Start off with a quick and easy source of protein. Have a small breakfast snack. Enjoy a silly morning conversation with your kids over a 'chocolate shake'. It's become a really special part of our morning routine.

Again, my kids are served breakfast at school. If your kids do not get a breakfast meal at school, modify this to be a protein rich breakfast, even if it's an on the go option. I GET being a busy mom! I stock Orgain Kids in my fridge and when mom wakes up late, we grab a shake before heading out the car.


THE HAPPY MOMMA HACK - BUY BULKY ITEMS ONLINE!!

I keep my kids CLOSE in the store. I put them in the cart when I can so I can zoom around and know that they are near at all times. I always order bulky items online and have them shipped to the house so I don't have to balance huge items while shopping with 2 small children and a cart filled with stuff. Toilet paper, paper towels and protein shakes are just a few of the top items that I have shipped straight to my door so I can avoid the in-store hassle. Click the Link below to have yours shipped too! HAPPY MOM'N!!


To Learn More about child nutrition, supplements or for more autism resources, please visit www.BrittanyParra.com






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