Wednesday, October 27, 2010

school lunch

I am supposed to like food. But school lunches, having to prepare them at the end of an already busy day just makes me cringe. Ahhh how I dread them.

I have two school age children, and in kinder they ate salad, sandwiches, wraps, anything. Once they begin school though they have found this aversion to sandwiches. Sandwiches are easy, they're a meal, an all in one. Instead now I have to be a nutritionalist: I have to have it be balanced, contain protein and calcium all without a sandwich. This is hard. There are alternatives to bread, but some crackers go soggy. Sadly, I know which ones do and which ones don't.

And I need to be able to do it the night before.

I don't know why we don't have school dinners, well good school dinners anyway. Aaron says when he was a kid in school back in Missouri it cost 95c a day for lunches. I am sure they were not great but it meant his mum didn't have to worry. 

My mum would have been making 6 lunches a night whilst trying to watch Don Lane. My eldest sisters would have gotten leftovers - sautéed peppers in white soft bread, or schnitzel home made in a lovely fresh roll my father baked that night. He'd bring home warm bread at night from the bakery he worked at. I think mum got a little less enthused by the time my brother and I went to school, Dad would get us some Fonzies and a banana.

The weekend lunches go something like home made pizzas, or a really quick stir fry, and rice features nearly always. My kids prepared this list for Aaron while I was out having a coffee, he is a little more laid back about when lunch would occur, it could be 11 it could be 3. There is variation and flexibility, or possibly starvation.

I was a childcare cook before I had children and I made lovely nutritious food. The parents would want to buy the leftovers of if there had been any.  So I love school holidays, lunch can be cooked, they love cooked lunch. 

But now I'm even avoiding writing about school lunches, because I hate them. I do whatever I can to make it easier how to  do a rubbish free lunch, both in the "packaged" sense and the "bad for them" sense, it isn't easy ticking all these boxes. I pop my own popcorn I love it they love it, I avoid the packaging  excessive salt or sugar it's a win win.

Ines' real-food microwave popcorn
small handful of popcorn
Brown paper bag 
salt or sugar is opptional

Simply place the handful into the brown bag , fold top down allowing room for expansion 
lay bag folded side down and microwave for 2 minutes or till they don't pop for 5 seconds. 
Melted butter can be added at this step, only  if you are going to keep it in tupperware to send to school.
keeps really well in an airtight container.


  1. Two questions:

    1) Did they get their chocolate bar on toast?
    2) You didn't say if that was regular popcorn or not, and it's really ok to zap it with no oil or butter or anything?

  2. They didn't get their chocolate bar toast, which i will add is Nutella and peanut butter, something my Mum made up when I was little. I can't remember what they ended up having.
    Yes the popcorn really does work without needing to add anything to it, you must try it. Don't let it go too long or it will blacken and taste really bad. Also it could potentially catch fire, if you put it in for too long.

  3. That's the best response I've seen today, the casual "it could catch fire." Noice.

    Note: Not the same anony-mouse.

  4. Ines I reckon you're amazing preparing lunches the night before, so organised. A favorite sandwich my kids loved (still do), is bread spread with ripe Avocado, Chicken Schnitzel, tasty cheese and shredded lettuce and tomato sauce....amazing. Snacks included box of sultanas and fruit salad and a juice box of course, special treats were home-made pizza. I still get up at the crack of dawn and prepare this :) (sis)