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Healthier meals to serve in public schools

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With the new govenment regulations on school lunches what would you suggest for a healther school lunch? What would kids eat at school that is still appealing to their palates since most kids are not forced to eat vegetables at home and only want pizza, chicken nuggest and frys?

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Our school has "healthy lunches". The way it works is parents pre-order the entree (with as much or as little input from the student as they see fit). Students can pick:

a drink (1% milk or water)

a snack( Mott's 100% No Sugar Added Natural Applesauce, Froose Fruit Bites, Raisins, Strawberry Fruit Bar, Assorted Fresh Seasonal Vegetables of your child's choice!, Fresh Baked Reduced Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie, Boston's Lite All-Natural Popcorn, Sunflower Seeds, PopChips, Parker's GF Animal Crackers, String Cheese, Whole-Grain Pita Chips, Nut-free Soynutz )

and a seasonal fruit or vegetable (they've mentioned mango and kiwi, but seem to always have bananas/apples/pears/carrot sticks/etc in addition to the "stranger" options).

Meal options are:

Burgers and roast potatoes (with or without cheese)

Pasta: mac and cheese, baked ziti, buttered noodles, pasta with tomato sauce, pesto, meat sauce, chili mac or meat balls (or quinoa pasta with meat sauce), cheese ravioli, meat lasagna

Burritos - bean and cheese, beef, chicken, breakfast, fiesta

enchilada (cheese, chicken or beef)

Salad: Asian chicken, caesar, cheese and crunchy things, pasta salad, southwest bbq, southwest chicken

sushi - avocado roll,cucumber roll, chicken teriyaki, or california roll

Wraps: Chicken caesar, ham and cheese

Soup: chicken noodle, meatball, chili

sandwiches (turkey, ham and cheese, italian, bbq chicken, sunbutter and jam, tuna salad, turkey pesto, turkey torpedo)

Chicken: gluten free chicken strips, roast bone-in parts, baked chicken tenders, bbq, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka masala

bagel with cream cheese

baked potato with chili

cheese pizza

cheese/cracker/fruit plate

chicken/veggie "fried" rice

chicken/veggie chow mein

teriyaki chicken/veggie bowl

tikka paneer

bagel dogs

pita and hummus

Cheese tamale

beef or chicken tacos


shepherds pie

Chicken taquitos

Roast turkey with stuffing/potatoes

Any given day has about 10 entree options, with ~3 being hot, and ~7 being cold. Order by 9am the day before. I don't order because my daughter won't eat any of their food, but I wouldn't object to her eating the menu options they offer, and there's a pretty wide range of entrees from vegetable-laden to starch and cheese.

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I don't order because my daughter won't eat any of their food.....
What does she eat?

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I don't order because my daughter won't eat any of their food.....
What does she eat?

Oh dear, that did sound odd, isn't it? Especially with all those choices.

She's a gluten free (celiac disease) vegetarian. If they offered the gluten free pasta with any of the vegetarian sauces, she'd happily eat that, but they only offer it with meat sauce. Last year her only option was vegetarian sushi with no soy sauce, but I think now the cheese enchiladas are gluten free. At one point, their website listed all kinds of gluten free options, and we cheerfully compiled a week's meals to order. Unfortunately, that was a database glitch, and ended with only random chance keeping her from eating a sandwich with wheat bread. (Apparently that glitch is back, because now a different set of foods appear to be erroneously marked as gluten free.)

School-year mornings here run on auto-pilot and she is a creature of routine, so Tues/Weds/Fri she takes a sandwich on multi-grain bread and dip for the sandwich because gluten-free bread can get pretty dry in a lunchbox, or just dissolve if you put on too much condiment. Monday it's pasta in a thermos. Thursdays are pot-luck. Hardboiled eggs or egg-salad with crackers is pretty common, or a new sandwich/pasta combo that I'm not sure how it will hold in a lunchbox for five hours.Then I send a serving of fruit or veg (mango, pineapple, strawberry, carrots and cole slaw are the current favorites), a milk, and some sort of "treat" - a little handful of animal crackers, or a yogurt-in-a-tube, etc. Usually she eats about half the entree, all the fruit/veg, and the treat is nibbled on as we walk home from school, or recycled into the next day's morning snack. When my brain doesn't work in the morning and the entree is rendered inedible, she eats the treat at lunchtime.

Edited by ElaineK (log)

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