Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: School lunches + mystery solved

We'll start out by saying that this post was written prior to K- going to the doctor. It seems as though Miss K- is suffering from a Urinary Tract Infection, which will mess with all of your interiors. Argh. So, though the diagnosis isn't even close to what we thought, I suppose that I still stand by what I wrote and since I've been up since 4 AM (for the most part with very short naps until 8:30 AMish) and am clearly too lazy to write a new post, I'll just hit publish on this one and be done with it. So, K- is on sulfa and Milk of Magnesia, which hasn't kicked in yet, but with any luck it'll kick in overnight and we can have a repeat performance of last night! [insert raised hand and HOORAH! here]

So, here's the rant of the week that y'all have been waiting for. Have a nice day!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Poor K-. Remember that she vomited at school on Thursday AT lunch and I was called to come pick her up. She did make it all day at school on Friday, but ended up with a monster stomachache on the way home that continued on. (She reported having a stomachache for most of the day.) Hubs and I have kicked it around a bit and have come to a few conclusions.

First, K- was backed up. The school schedule has goofed with her "schedule" and as such, her body hasn't been able to completely turn around. Hubs suffers from digestive issues and any switch in his routine throws him for a loop.

Secondly, this was the first week that she got school lunch all week. Hubs brought up that he thinks that the food is not what we would typically prepare/eat, so that has brought upset to her system. This week was nachos supreme, which was basically a taco plate. That was served twice. It miffed her a bit, since she didn't like it the first day and they gave leftovers the next day, rather than the macaroni and cheese with broccoli that was scheduled. The mac and cheese showed up on pizza day. They have chicken nuggets and hot dogs, too. Add to the fact that waiting in line for the food and finally getting to sit and eat eats into eating time. K- can have the habit of piling food in, particularly in light of time being of issue, thus causing her to be sick to her stomach and occasionally vomit. Time is something that my friend, Kim, brought up at the beginning of the school year.

Another thought. I was speaking with Kim about the school lunch theory and I told her that K- just really didn't like the taco stuff. My thought? I use ground turkey. I'm thinking that theirs is ground beef, and not the high quality stuff. She laughed and said that she agreed totally.

Additionally, they serve green beans, peaches and mandarin oranges with nearly every meal. K- is not at all what I would consider a picky eater (the kid ate liver for goodness sakes), but she will not eat any of these. From infancy, she wouldn't touch peaches or green beans. Citrus? The texture is just not it for her. (I have the same problem with it.)

Lastly, Hubs and I had a bit of a funk a few weeks ago that resulted in my having a monster stomachache for about a week. I don't get stomachaches. We think that all of this combined landed K- in sick bay.

So, Hubs suggested that I go back to packing K- lunch several times a week. We're not going to totally take her off the school lunch "buying," because it is something she enjoys to do with her friends. I pack a far healthier lunch for her, involving whole grain bread, soup or raviolis, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. There is also something to be said for the Purell that is packed into her lunch sack, though she has begun to wash her hands before lunch. (She reports that she is the only kid to do so, but we discussed how important it is and Mrs. H- has Purell right at the door. Getting a squirt as she walks past really isn't hard to do.) We believe that by putting all of this into place, this next week may be a better digestive venture for K-. Sadly, we missed the community festival this weekend, but I've promised to take K- to other festivals that are coming up. In fact, we have two park festivals coming up next month.

So I spent Sunday cooking down ripe tomatoes from our little herb garden tomato plants. It took about 5 hours, a Foley food mill, milk, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar, a tiny dash of baking soda and scant amount of ground Italian seasoning to make homemade tomato soup to send in K-'s lunch. After a large pot filled nearly to the top with quartered tomatoes cooked, I made 4 1/2 lunch sized servings for K- and put them in the freezer. It really is funny how much it doesn't make. (No formal recipe. Sorry. I ended up winging it.)

She has opted to NOT get school lunch at all this week (we've talked about the school lunch theory), so I'll be on packing duty in the AM. I pre-pack as much as I can the night before (dry snack, fresh fruit/veggies,) and the next day I prepare the hot portion (thank you stainless steel thermos container!) and 1/2 sandwich, if needed. I think that last week's school lunches put K- over the edge.

So, after reading my post riddled with sentence structure problems, paragraph issues, commacizing and flying in tangention*, what is your take on school lunches? I know, Rachael, that Lily has been having some lunch issues, because the food differs from that at home. But, do your children have digestive issues with it? Is it really the low grade crap that we've come to figure it to be? Do the kids bypass the option altogether and just pack from home? My inquiring mind wants to know.

*I'm aware that I make up my own words, but I'm okay with it. Maybe Webster's will pick me up someday. Maybe I can be like Willy Withit (from If Only I Had a Green Nose) and instead of the "new thing picker" maybe I can be the "new word picker!" You think?!


Rach said...

I make up my own words all the time. It makes life more interesting, I think. :oP

I'm glad you have K's issues figured out, I just wish she were feeling better. Poor girlie. I've never had a UTI, but I hear they are AWFUL.

School lunches. Ahhhh, school lunches. I rarely, if ever, packed lunch as a kid. There were foods I loved and those I didn't, but they were okay.

Having taught in a public school for seven years, I can tell you, there are foods that are good, and those that are just plain icky. I would avoid the taco meat (ick ick ick), the spaghetti is pretty good, and the chicken nuggets are your typical processed foodstuff, but pretty tasty.

That said, I'll be packing Lil's lunch for a number of reasons. One, we eat FAR more healthfully than school lunches. While school lunches are FDA monitored, and are "balanced" meals, they are heavy on processed and canned foods and we just don't eat that way.

You also brought up the time issue. Do you know I'm ALWAYS the first person finished eating when we go out? Do you know why? I've been conditioned over the course of many (what, about 27?) years to snarf my food in about 20 minutes' time. Buying lunch takes far more time than just sitting down to eat. Kids who have to wait in line, lose between five and fifteen minutes of chow time--something to consider.

An Aquarian Mind said...

Hopefully the UTI will get through her system quickly and she'll be on the other side by the weekend. I've had UTIs - not pleasant. Poor baby.

I have never permitted my children to buy lunch in school for several reasons: the time issue. My H is a slow eater and she needs all the time she can get. My kids don't eat meat so the lunches that are served with meat /meat products will get wasted. Also, like you pointed out, food from home is healthier. My kids always take some sort of fresh fruit (mine will eat any fruit just about), usually a veggie, grains, a sandwich and then a treat (cookies or rice krispie treat). B's stomach is sensitive to processed foods so if she ate any of that she'd be spending half the day in the bathroom, which isn't exactly easy to do in school.

Michelle said...

I'm so sorry to hear she was suffering from a UTI! Bless her heart! Hope that has cleared up and she's better now!

I used to let Kayla buy a lunch because making one every day seemed to daunting LOL But when we were in NM I asked them about lunch and they told me she really wasn't eating it much at all and most of it was ending up in the trash. So instead of wasting money I started packing.

And now that she has celiac disease it's more important to pack; too hard to figure out what she could eat there now LOL

although it is hard to come up with a varied lunch all week!

ChupieandJ'smama said...

I hope she's feeling better! J's been having stomach aches too and 2x this week he almost threw up when we were out in about. One was at Heinen's in their garbage can in the "earth friendly housewares section". Can you say "crawl in a hole and die"? I think J has a nervous stomach about school. He did throw up last week (in his bed - oh yay) but he doesn't seem sick and when I worked the lunch room on Monday the teachers aid said he complained of a bad tummy before lunch, but he did make it through the day. I'll have to keep an eye on him. He seems to like school, but I think he's have separation issues.

School lunches are the worst!! Ours serves pizza, nacho stuff, mac and cheese bites (think mac and cheese breaded and deep fried), chicken nuggets, french toast stix with bacon... Nothing healthy. And there are apple slices in a bag or mixed fruit in syrup, but the kids don't take that. They take chips, cookies and fruit roll ups. And the principal says "We have an excellent lunch program"! Really??? Excellent for furthering childhood obesity maybe. It's a sore spot with me. Can you tell?? I vow to change it before we leave that school.