My friend Ryan came over for dinner last night and, as he works in an elementary school, we wound up talking about school lunches. He has an interesting idea about getting kids to eat healthier foods during the school day: The battle may be, in part, about presentation, he says.
In Ryan’s school, many of the kids are eligible for free and reduced school lunches. For those are aren’t, a full meal costs only $2.10. “You can’t make lunch for that price,” he says. If parents want to make lunches that include the same components – an entree like chicken and cheese flatbread or nachos with beef, a vegetable like broccoli salad or a squash medley, a fruit, a salad, and a drink – he may be right. The result is that most of Ryan’s fourth graders eat a school lunch every day.
The entrees are similar to what we were served when I was in public school (cheese pizza, tacos, chicken nuggets). But, on the days Ryan has lunch monitor duty, he works with what he’s got. He has his students rotate their five-compartment lunch trays so that the salad and fruit are directly in front of them and the entree is in the back. The kids eat more salad this way, he says.