Written by Mat Riendeau – Urban Prairie Waldorf School teacher

There’s been a request to talk a bit about school snacks and lunches. As a parent, I know that getting those bags packed up and ready to go in the morning can be a bit of a stressor, especially when we feel like we’re juggling 19 other things at the same time! A few things….

  1. We’ve got a great kitchen project that was put on hold due to all of this Covid business. Keep an eye out for news around the UPWS hot lunch program for next year.
  2. If you are going the cold lunch route, here are a few recommendations….
    1. When looking for ingredients, try to skip out on processed food, white flour, sugar, and other carby things. Blood sugar spikes can be a real roller coaster for first graders and have a negative impact on their availability for learning. Not only that, but they’ll get hungry faster as well.
    2. Look for whole grains and high-quality fats and proteins. Your child will be using up all sorts of energy during their day and providing them with a solid diet will keep them going strong through the end of the day.
    3. But, I am not a pediatrician. I suggest talking to yours about any diet choices/changes. In the meantime, I found these websites helpful when figuring out lunch menus…
      1. Packing a Healthy Lunchbox from the Harvard School of Public Health. 
      2. How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch from UChicago Medicine 
      3. How to Pack the Healthiest School Lunch, According to Nutritionists from NBC News 
  3. Please keep in mind that we are a nut-free school (eggs in their pure form are off-limits as well). Keep an eye out for official policies in the Parent Handbook at the end of the summer
  4. If your child is a picky eater, you could come up with a rotating menu that they can choose from. Give them a choice, but make it between two healthy things. “Would you like apple slices or cheese for a snack?” Also, seven or eight things have enough variety but are manageable and consistent enough for shopping lists and prep work.
  5. Get them involved in helping to prepare their lunches each day. Notice how this is underlined, bolded, and italicized. They won’t be making their entire lunch on their own at this point, but get them involved in the process and make it consistent. Maybe have them help out and pack it the night before if the mornings are a bit busy. We will be talking a lot about the value of having your first grader start to help out around the house, and this is a great way to start.