Homeschool Village Link Up: Lunch & Nutrition

07 October 2010

Children in the United States have consistently been shown to have less than the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended daily allowances (RDA) of nutrients. Wow! Facts like this make me realize that nutrition is an important part of our lives, not just for our children alone. Even today, the First Lady has implemented a task force called, “Let’s Move” to eradicate child obesity and unhealthy eating habits. For my children, I try to give the best possible meals throughout the day…

Growing up, we all have dreams that we want to aspire to, but for the most part I am doing what I love…but growing up I wanted to be a dietician. I was into sports, food, and health; majoring in Dietetics seemed to be the best plan, but of course life has its own plan and God directs that path.

I went into the military right out of high school, hence no college, I could not go into a dietician slot, (no college degree) but signed up as a diet technician. I worked for people who were registered dieticians (actually a team of dieticians) at a local training hospital at Ft. Lewis – in which I loved being a part of.

Now that God has directed my path to a homeschool mom, I still use all my experiences in teaching my boys. One of those lessons happens to be health and nutrition.

I think for the most part people do not eat healthy because lack of discipline. Meaning without a ‘plan’ it doesn’t get done. I have learned throughout my marriage and with the addition of four more little blessings, I need to plan our menus. Planning for them helps our budget and my sanity.

The menu plan I also recommend to friends is from TheHomeSchoolMom website. I have not found a better menu planner than this one(for me). I love the templates that are given and they are homeschool friendly~of course.

Americans are pretty much opposite to the German community when it comes to eating. We like a big breakfast and dinner mostly; whereas, in the German community I find that their lunch is the biggest meal of the day. Light breakfast and light dinner. LOL!! Not this family--we usually have a big breakfast, light lunch, and big dinner.

I try to not let the kids eat at whatever time because I have had a pediatric dentist tell me that--even though I would give the kids fruits (i.e. apples/cheese) for snacking at any time--this actually breaks down the "fight control" in their teeth...hence cativities. So now I limit the free-style type of buffet I used to give them and it's more controlled now. Though I want to get in more fruits and veggies into their diet, I have to be more insight into where I put it (meal plan).

Some other websites I love to look at for ideas on menu planning:

1. Food Network: Back to School(receipes)
2. USDA: School Meals (information)
3. USDA: Meal Patterns (portion size)
4. AAFES Lunch Menus (what the military feed kids)
5. Team Nutrition: Menu Plan for 8 weeks (sample B,L,S menu)
6. 5 a Day the Preschool Way (I love the taste-test chart)
7. 50 Lunch Ideas(quick & easy)

I think that is the key to a healthy diet is just to have the healthy food available. I buy our food from the local commissary and sometimes from the local German farmers market and stores. We live on one income, we homeschool, we tithe, we use coupons and we use WIC. A healthy diet is possible if we plan for it.

So, after I look at some (if not all) the menus and discern which meals my boys like, I plan out a 31-day menu and rotate it. Now, mind you, I do not always follow the menu or have a concrete menu that I strictly follow…some days it’s just a PB & J kind of day, Over all I TRY to give what they like with a little more healthy on the side.

Our top three lunch favorites:

1. turkey tortilla pinwheels & fresh carrots
2. chicken quesadilla & salsa
3. spaghetti & meatball with broccoli

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K-tribe said...

HI! I was having problems linking up to HSV too. Must be us earlybirds! :)
Great post! Thanks for the link to homeschoolmom,
Kelly K

Jessica S. said...

Thank you Kelly! I will have to check back with The HSV later today... ;)

Mary said...

Oh, I loved the farmer's markets in Europe when I lived there. Everything was so fresh. Enjoy! :)


Cheryl said...

I like to make lunch our big meal whenever I can, it's so much better for you.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the menu planning encouragement and ideas! I need to add some variety here too. I know planning ahead would really help!


melanie said...

oohh, thanks for the links! I'm going to look through them right now. :)

Jessica S. said...

@Mary: yes the German farmer markets are wonderful! I should go more often...

Jessica S. said...

I think so too Cheryl! Thanks for responding. ;) I guess in a family is just big eaters!! LOL!

Jessica S. said...

Thanks Jennifer!! Like I said, it really helps me to focus and cuts down on my grocery bill when I plan the menus...

Jessica S. said...

Welcome Melanie!! ;)

Dorie said...

Wow, those top three lunch menus sound yummy! My children would love the quesadillas. Great suggestions.

Deb Chitwood said...

Thanks for the great links, Jessica! I especially love "5 a Day the Preschool Way" with the taste-test chart!

Jessica S. said...

Welcome Deb and Dorie!! I love the taste-chart too. ;)

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!! Come back soon! Sincerely, Jessica

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