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Our state just passed a law extending universal free meals to all children 18 and under for the next school year. My family is thrilled. My kids only know cafeteria meals as free meals and I think it’s a wonderful option for all kids. I’m curious about what your families do. Does your school offer free lunches? Do you pack your lunches? Which do your kids prefer?
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It must have been a blessing for you because preparing and packing lunch does take a whole lot of time.
Our schools do not offer free lunch. I give my kids homemade lunch for 4 days and on Fridays they buy their lunch from the cafeteria. I prefer homemade lunch most of the days because I have noticed that when given a chance, kids always go for junk food.
On weekends my kids plan their week long lunch. As long as they are eating healthy, I don’t mind getting a lunch list from them. We have mutually agreed that both of them will take the same lunch on a given day, so they negotiate and give me a final list of four school lunches and we do the weekly groceries accordingly.
Our schools don't offer free lunches so we have always had packed lunches. We have 7 kids and I used to pack them all for them until my husband insisted that they should be doing it for themselves. He was right!!!
They now pack their own lunches and enjoy being able to pack whatever they want. We have some guidelines they need to follow - for example, there needs to be at least 2 pieces of fruit, a sandwich (or other lunch meal) and then a treat snack is allowed as well. Sometimes they pack yogurt, cheese and biscuits or other snack foods. Letting them do it themselves has freed up so much of my time afterschool as well.
Our schools do offer free lunches to all. It has been a blessing as nobody seems to pack lunches anymore since this perk went into effect.
In the past, the kids packed their lunches and were allowed to buy once a week. Now the opposite is true. The kids buy lunch daily unless it is really something they do not like. And so far, they LOVE the school lunches. I must say, once they learn to eat a variety of food at school, they are less picky at home.
We have breakfast club in the schools that I work in to support our young people who come to school without food. We haven't started free meals but any young people that are hungry and don't have lunch have the option of making a toasty in the lunch period.
I'm keen to see what the future holds for my own daughter when she starts school and if we will have access to free meals.
Pre-pandemic, my kids' school offers lunch and snacks but it's not free. Though my kids prefer to buy their food in school, I prepare their food (snacks and lunch) and pack it for them to bring. It is a way to ensure that kids eat home-cooked and nutritious food. It is also economical for us because what I prepare for them is our food at home, so we really do not spend extra on food during school days.
But of course, there are times when they needed to buy their food from their cafeteria. It was only when I had important errands or they have school activities and food will already be provided.
Now that my eldest will be having hybrid learning (a combination of virtual and face-to-face classes). I will still prefer to prepare his food considering there is still a threat of Covid. It will be safer to bring his own food and drink and I will be at ease knowing that my son will be consuming food from home.