Setting Realistic School Lunch Expectations

Dr. Hanson, Pediatrician, Meriter West Washington

Back to school is on the mind of almost every parent this time of year. For some, it’s a source of stress (“I’ve been to 3 stores and no one has a pencil box that’s smaller than 8×5 inches!”), for others, it brings relief (“I need to get the kids out of the house”), but for most, it brings some level of extra work. As I gear up for my daughter to start first grade, I am reminded of one of our daily rituals during the school year – packing her lunch.

When she started kindergarten last year, I had grand illusions of all these delicious, healthy, full-of-variety lunches I would pack. You know, the kind that all the kids would want to trade for.…after about 2-3 days, I realized I was in la-la land. It’s hard work to keep lunches interesting and to be honest, my daughter wanted to have the same thing in her lunch every day (she’s a bagel and peanut butter girl) and she asked for hot lunch more often than I wished.

I’m starting this year with no false promises to myself of becoming the Martha Stewart of brown bag lunches. However, I am going to continue to try to mix it up a little. This summer, my daughter came up with trying a hard-boiled egg instead of a bagel, which I think is a great idea. We’ll continue to send her with a water bottle, instead of juice – it’s cheaper and healthier. We’ll keep on writing her a small note for her to find in her lunch every day. Most importantly, we’ll keep a sense of reality about it, as well as enough cash in her hot lunch fund!

Carleen Hanson, MD
Meriter Medical Group Pediatrician

Meriter West Washington
345 West Washington Avenue, Suite 100
Madison, WI 53703

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