School Lunches Done Right

Vantage Point: Eating Like a Grown-Up

With the holidays fast-approaching, I think fondly of my mother. She was a private and commercial cook for over 40 years and was very good about making our family eat balanced meals. Of course, she included my school lunches in that quest as well.

Like every kid, I wanted a lunch just like my friends’. Their menus consisted of:

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Bags of chips
  • Carrots (only a few)
  • A Twinkie or Hostess cupcake

My mother had other ideas. Here’s an example of what my lunches consisted of:

  • Meatloaf sandwich
  • Cut-up celery
  • An apple or pear
  • A box of raisins

To a sixth-grader, this was so not cool. I pleaded and begged with my mom to change what she was putting in my lunches, to no avail. By high school, I was buying lunch, and she never knew what I ate.

Fast forward to my lunches as an adult. Most days, I eat leftovers from dinner the night before, which works out great because they are well-balanced meals. However, on those days when I am on-the-go out of the office, it’s a little bit more work to eat a balanced meal. I sometimes feel like I am channeling my mother, or she’s haunting me.

I think all of our tastes develop and get more complex as we get older. And with that, healthier eating gets easier, especially if we make the choice. I find myself making that choice by looking for places to eat where the food is served fresh, well-balanced, and healthy.

And every once in a while, I still find myself wanting a Twinkie or a Hostess cupcake, well…just because I can.

Joy Stanford is a community liaison with Health Alliance, serving Thurston County. She’s been involved with Medicare for 20+ years and truly enjoys it. She enjoys gospel, R&B, and country music, and she owns over 100 pairs of shoes.

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