Thursday, February 25, 2010

Giving School Lunch A Good Name

Before we get to school lunches, I am very happy to report that after more than 5 weeks of this:

...which is all fine and good except for when your struggling air conditioner can only cool down your bedroom (I won't even go into the common areas of the house) to a balmy 85 degrees...

it's nice to get a little of this:

Ahhhh, so refreshing. It may have even dropped into the 80's outside today which felt downright chilly after our recent heat wave. One of my friend's kids were asking for hot chocolate on the way home from school today. No joke.

Anyway, on to the cafeteria of my kids' school.

When we leave Brazil (if we ever do), one thing I will really miss about my life here is the lunch situation. I don't have to pack lunches. EVER! I hated packing lunches in Mexico City-what a pain in the neck. So boring. So thankless. So never-ending.

Here, the kids are provided (for a healthy fee of course; thank you, Guapo's company) a great buffet style lunch everyday. The wide variety of food is prepared fresh each day and the kids get to go through the lunch line and pick what they'd like. Younger kids have their teachers helping them to make sure the eat a balanced lunch. They generally have 2-3 main course dishes, rice and beans (always), and several sides:

In addition to the hot foods, they have a lovely salad bar that always has a lettuce salad and a couple of other salads to choose from:

I eat there with my boys every Thursday after I help out in their classrooms and I really look forward to it. Here's what I had today:

Beef stroganoff over rice, potatoes (remember? Brazilians LOVE their carbs and don't care about mixing them), beets and a nice mixed salad.

And my favorite part is the dessert cart that always has fresh fruit (today was papaya-yuck), jello cups and some other desert, today's was flan- yum. On Friday's they can get a popsicle, ice cream, or chocolate cake.

Sometimes (ok, most every time) the desserts are so good, and so little, that I have to have two. Like today:

I usually send one of my kids up for the second round, so I don't look like a pig.

I haven't ever had kids go to school in the States, so maybe the school lunch situation has improved, but when I was a kid, school lunch was really icky. And I remember that buying school lunches was not a very cool thing to do. A lit-tle-bit nerdy. Maybe that was just my school?

So, what's it like now in the States?


Janice said...

The food is still gross but I make my kids take it every day because I HATE making lunches. And, at least at our school, most take it.

But, I NEVER took it growing up.

Head Nurse or Patient- you be the judge said...

I never took lunch growing up- hardly anyone did, and I do think the food was better then than it is now. My kids have varied- my boys ate school lunch almost exclusively, my older daughter takes home lunch about three times a week, but my baby girl won't eat hardly anything the school prepares. She is also in a picky stage and won't eat hardly anything else either so we rotate between peanut butter and honey, or jam, and plain cheese or cheese and bologna (which I think is gross- but there you are) She doesn't eat much also, so her lunch is a drink, sandwich, and either a gogurt or cottage cheese.

If she bought a school lunch most of it would end up in the trash. I think parents would be disgusted to see how much of the school lunch does end up in the trash.

My sister makes her kids pack their own the night before-

Kari said...

Nice lunch break for you, Gabriela!

School lunches are getting MUCH better in the states... Fancy salad bar in addition to the main meal. Now that the buzz words all include "obesity" where America's children are concerned, there is a push for healthier school lunches.

I second Head Nurse with: the whole world would/should be appalled at how much untouched food (bought at school OR brought from home) is thrown in the trash can at school.

Lucy said...

This year our kids get to eat lunch when they get home from school but next year at private school they'll be eating in the comedor. The school food in Spain is very expensive, but at least it's nutritious. I was shocked at what constituted school lunch in my children's schools in the States. Lots of salt and grease. My kids started packing their own lunches at a very early age. :-) (I hate doing that too.)

Ballerina Girl said...

I had two glorious years of NOT packing here in Brasil...but alas, all that came to an end before this school year, when they BOTH said, Mom we do not want rice and beans and that yucky chicken stuff. Sometimes the meat is ok, but we never know...
so can you pack us lunch?
So, I do now, and it's not so bad actually. A sandwich and a snack, and we are ready to go.

I am liking the cooler temps too :)

Abby said...

All of your posts recently (the beach, Carnaval, even school lunch!) are making me want to come visit again! If only...

And school lunch...I think my little sis usually brings lunch to elementary school. But at least when I was growing up, in junior high/high school pretty much everyone bought lunch at school (or in high school left for lunch...even better!). It was SO much better than the little kid school lunches, which I hardley EVER had.

Stephanie said...

I think school lunches depend on the school district. School lunches in Eastern Idaho I loved. School lunches in Northern Cal and Western Idaho YUCK!

Lynne said...

I don't know if Lucas' school has good lunches. They look fine on the calendar but I haven't eaten there yet. I do know that I pack a lunch every day but one (chicken nuggets once a month). Of course that is probably just because he is sooo picky. He is getting better but he would rather have PB&J than what they're serving at school.