Back to School With More Nutritious Food!

GREAT NEWS!!! A note home from school that starts out

“This school year we will be implementing the new meal patterns”. They will be offering salads …only get deserts 2 times a week …and the child will be required to select a fruit or vegetable!”

Bad news is…they are still serving hot dogs…baby steps….but very exciting! I bet there are going to be some children who are more energetic and better behavior!

The children won’t be required to drink milk!  The only problem is, Kora likes milk.  So now I have to figure out a way to get her to pass on it.

When I started at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition, that was my one big hope, to make a difference in the school lunches at parochial schools.  I knew that the public schools were going to be heading in the right direction…but man what those kids were being fed for lunch at my kid’s and grandkid’s schools was atrocious!

I don’t remember it being that bad when I was little, but that was at the beginning of institutional foods and we didn’t have it so bad.  In high school, the favorite lunch that everyone looked forward to was buttered noodles…yuck…English: Hostess Twinkies. Yellow snack cake w...that never appealed to me…but, I have to confess, my lunches in high school were Cheetos and Twinkies with a diet coke!  I am not kidding.  Everyday!

I raised my children to eat better than that…but not too much better.  We had moved to healthier “whole type” (haha) foods and then my children went to high school and the private high schools brought in fast food from Burger King, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell…all that hard work down the drain…

Yep, we got the bright idea to send a healthy lunch.  Every morning Gary made Jeff a sack lunch with whole wheat bread, smoked turkey, cheetos or some kind of chips, an apple or other fruit and even though it wasn’t a healthy lunch…he probably ate better than any of the other boys at his school.

Ashlie was like me.  The teachers would report back that she may eat a giant chocolate chip cookie if anything at all.

Now, I am raising my granddaughter with the benefit of (what I believe to be) advanced nutrition knowledge.   Before Kora started pre-K, her choice of snack was nuts and fruit…sometimes yogurt.  Do you know what she learned her first week of school?  Kora learned to take a spoon and eat frosting out of a can!  That was one of her crafts, frosting pretzels.

So today I am grateful for…

  1. Everyone being open to nutritional information
  2. School starting!
  3. Sykora getting a really lovely teacher this year.
  4. Sykora leaving the house with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face.
  5. Knowing that the $2.30 for lunch is going to have a protein, a grain and a fruit or vegetable.
  6. That there is salad available if Kora does not want a corn dog.
  7. That Kora does not have to drink all her milk to get to drink water.
  8. For progress!

Sykora is in the 3rd grade.  She is at the same school I went to in 3rd grade…that is pretty awesome.  What is more awesome…she will be better prepared for life with a good lunch.  You may think…oh…you are making too big of a deal out of it.  I am not.  Kora is going to be smarter because her brain is operating better with good nutrition.  She is going to be well adjusted and healthy.  By making these healthy changes now, we are giving our children the gift of health for years to come.

Happy Friday!



  1. Chef William

    I agree with the over all article. The only problem I see is that you will still need to monitor the school lunch system. The vegetables, protein and in some cases even the grain, can be purchased precooked. All that needs to be done at the school is for the food to be warmed up. The problem comes when it is over cooked to the point that the corn dog starts to look really good. While the children are learning to eat healthy, make sure that the food preparers have been taught how to handle the food,,,over cooked carrots, dried out peas, or mashed potatoes that are burnt around the edges can be a real turn off.

    • Cathy

      Boy, that is true, you can make everything perfect and there can still be someone who will mess it all up. For now I am celebrating progress…a little ways off from doing a victory dance.

  2. Jana Szabo

    I really enjoyed this blog Cathy! It’s easy to read ~ good typeface chosen for content and good layout. That’s really important for me to absorb the content… well my Dad was a typographer, go figure! Anyway, I really enjoyed it Cathy! Health and nutritional awareness for the little ones! Learning Young is the “Best Way”

    • Cathy

      Thanks Jana. I especially appreciate the feedback on the typography!

  3. Laura

    Thank you Cathy for this great blog.
    I think about my son’s lunches and agonize about weather he is eating properly or not. Then he tells me what So-and-so had. Lunchable snacks, dipper-oos and fruit by the foot. My poor guy gets, rolled up flatbread with cheese, carrot sticks (which he doesn’t eat so I cut them up and put in evening salad!) yogurt, unsweetened apple sauce, apple and a couple of cookies.

    This year is a momentus year and he will be attending high school close to shops. I hope the early education years of a balanced lunch will spill over to the new school and hope he will make informed decisions on what he will eat.

    Thanks and nice article.

  4. Cathy

    At high school age, it is kind of hard to believe that we are mortal. Nutrition doesn’t seem as important as fun…with some exceptions!


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