Like seemingly everything in life, school lunches are hardly recognizable from what they used to be. At least the way mine used to be. I think I would get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and soggy chips most days when I ate a packed lunch way back when. Many of you know that I spent a portion of my childhood in the Middle East (Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, my Dad worked for a steel company in the USA and they transferred us there so he could work in their overseas division). The schools in the Middle East generally did not have cafeterias, so I always brought a packed lunch. When we came back to the USA to stay, I usually ate the gruel served up in the school cafeteria, so my packing days were over.
One of my favorite childhood lunchboxes was a bright orange Snoopy lunchbox. There was a little plastic “arm” inside that secured a thermos (which always seemed to end up leaking all over my lunch). Would a kid today get made fun of for carrying a Snoopy lunchbox to school? I don't know for sure, my guess is probably yes. If the children today even know who Snoopy is.
My Snoopy lunchbox has sat lonely in my parents basement for probably almost 35 years now. Should I pass it on to Aster when she is old enough?
For a long time there was a lunch pail (that's an old timers call them), in my grandmother's closet. It was black metal, kind of like the ones construction workers used to use. I imagine it is also the kind of lunchbox most Amish workers might still use. Amish men that work at construction sites or in factories pack their lunch often. You might find a sandwich, some potato salad, some jerky, and a dessert packed in there.
And today's kids. What do they carry to lunch?
My six-year-old niece just started kindergarten this this week. And my sister-in-law is packing some amazing looking lunches for her. And gone are the days of plastic pails, she is using these eco-friendly snazzy stainless steel lunch compartments from Planetbox. Take a look at two of the lunches below from this week. Yum!
CAPTION: A tasty lunch can also be healthful. In the top photo, you see boiled egg, cheese stick, cherries, cauliflower, gummies,Annie's bunnies and a few chocolate chips! In the bottom photo, a delicious spread of salad, with green and red peppers, broccoli, ham and boiled egg, watermelon, string cheese, and Annie's gummies for a treat
Healthier trends have even hit lunch buckets among the Amish. More and more a glazed-dripping cinnamon roll is replaced with something lighter for a sweet.
"Jello with fruit is a healthier snack than something baked," says Leah Miller, of Adams County, Ohio. She was packing four lunch pails a day when I caught up with her a few years ago.
Of course there is always the option of brown-bagging it, something I remember doing when I was in high school if the featured menu item was just too unseemly to bear. So what is the state of school lunches today. Do you pack your kids lunch, and if so, what do you pack? I suppose Aster's school days will be here all too soon and I should brush up on this topic!