I have two children in junior high at the moment. School lunches are $1.55 per day, but ala carte is also offered. They can buy a piece of pizza or salad for $2 dollars extra. If you add it up, it’s about $7 dollars per day. That’s $35 dollars per week, or $140 dollars per month.
What are Your Children Eating?
Everyday, as soon as my children get home from school, they tell me, “Mom, I’m starving.” I ask if they ate their lunch and the answer is almost always, “I drank the milk,” or, “I’m not sure what it was. It smelled bad.” Something of that nature. Basically, I’m paying $7 dollars a day for my children to drink a carton of milk. Find out if your children are actually eating the school lunch.
Look at the school menu. It’s supposedly ‘healthier’ than it used to be. I’m not sure what the government thinks health consists of. If a diet full of starch, sugar, hormone laden milk, and processed meat is healthier; I shudder to think what children were eating before. If you wouldn’t eat the food, why are your children eating it? My twelve year old son compares it to prison food; although, he has no idea what prison food tastes like. He’s pretty dramatic about it though. I went to school one day as a guest to have lunch in the courtyard with my children. Lunch was some sort of pressed meat covered in sauce, canned peach slices in a sugary syrup, iceberg lettuce and carrot shavings with a packet of low-fat dressing (which is basically like someone drinking diet soda and thinking they’re doing something good for themselves), watery instant potatoes, and a fairly hard roll. I now know why my children just drink the milk and need an extra $2 dollars per day for a piece of pizza.
Since I’m paying $35 dollars per week for school lunches that my children won’t touch, I decided to see if I could produces a healthy lunch each day of the week for the same price. Try it yourself. You can even pack leftovers from dinner. I usually have leftover lasagna, enchiladas, or chicken and dumplings. My daughter loves salads and yogurt. Those are items I always purchase each week anyway. Even if you buy sandwich items and little snacks to send, you may still save money. If you don’t buy the little prepackaged items like cookies, fruit rollups, and Lunchables; you won’t spend as much. I don’t let my children eat that junk anyway. Just try it for one week and if you can make lunches for the same price or less. If you can, then why not do it? You’re children will be much happier with the quality of lunch, and you can provide great snacks like fruit, veggies, and yogurt.
Can Homemade Lunches Save Even More?
Let’s face it, America is overweight. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, or CDC report that 69.2 percent of Americans over the age of 20 are overweight! Yikes! That’s a staggering number of people who are unhealthy. Some people do have medical issues that cause weight gain, but certainly not all 69 percent of Americans have that issue. Many people blame their medical issues for obesity, when they would not have the medical issues if they weren’t obese. It’s a vicious cycle and really difficult to get motivated to lose weight in a healthy manner. I don’t say that with malice or to put anyone down; I’m tall and thin and just went through cancer. Being skinny doesn’t guarantee health by any means.
A good place to start with children is to teach them to eat in a healthy manner to begin with. It’s much easier to adopt healthy eating habits when you’re young than to try and change them later, lose 100 pounds, or deal with serious medical issues. You can help with this by sending lunches from home that are healthy and proportioned correctly. Eating healthy now will save thousands and thousands of dollars in the future on medical procedures, prescriptions, and even grocery bills.