Tips to Help Your Kids Survive the School Cafeteria

By
School cafeterias will no longer be a daunting place to eat with these tips

Thinkstock / nata_vkusidey

School is almost back in session, and that means early-morning bus rides, after-school programs, and, of course, the dreaded lunchroom.  Many kids think cafeteria food is just plain gross, some find the smaller portions of processed foods less than filling, and others simply don’t get enough nutrients from fries and milk. Regardless of what your child thinks of cafeteria food, we’re here to share a few tips so you can help them survive lunchtime at school.

Tips to Help Your Kids Survive the School Cafeteria

Thinkstock / nata_vkusidey

School is almost back in session, and that means early-morning bus rides, after-school programs, and, of course, the dreaded lunchroom.  Many kids think cafeteria food is just plain gross, some find the smaller portions of processed foods less than filling, and others simply don’t get enough nutrients from fries and milk. Regardless of what your child thinks of cafeteria food, we’re here to share a few tips so you can help them survive lunchtime at school.

Desk and Dine: Pizza Party Edition

Thinkstock / katkov

Every kid loves pizza, so partner with other parents for a monthly pizza party for the little ones. Create a pizza party pool and let the kids dine at their desks while you socialize with other moms and dads.

Leftovers for Lunch

Thinkstock / marekuliasz

There’s nothing like having a homemade dinner for lunch the next day. Remember, many kids don’t have access to a microwave at school, so make it something that is as good cold as it warm.

Let Them Do It

Thinkstock / gmast3r

Kids love to do things themselves. Let them feel independent by encouraging them to make their own lunch. Remember to give them instructions — have them include one vegetable, some fruit, and a protein. It’s a great way to teach them about nutrition.

Lunchroom Scramble

Thinkstock / monkeybusinessimages

From time to time, students at Victory Christian School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, participate in lunchroom scrambles. "We mix up our students from their normal seating assignments and give them the task of learning something new about someone new," explained principal Steve Whewell. "Later, we ask them to give a report about the new person with whom they sat." — Education World

Meatless Mondays

Thinkstock / tatyana_tomsickova

Teach your child that there are other ways to get protein. Prepare a protein smoothie the night prior and freeze it — by the time your child is ready for lunch, the smoothie will be at a consistency that’s perfect to consume with a wide straw.

Music and Television

Thinkstock / hxdbzxy

At Ypsilanti High School in Michigan, principal Layne Hunt aims to respect the students' free time while maintaining safety and security when large groups of students are together in the cafeteria. "We turn on the TV monitors to the sports center channel or we turn on appropriate music on a very low volume," said Hunt. "Those things can help keep the noise level low." — Education World

Super Sandwich

Thinkstock / milla1974

Shake up the sandwich by adding surprising toppings. If you cooked meatloaf the night before, create a meatloaf sandwich for your child to take to school the next day. Kids love creative lunches.

Theme Lunch

Thinkstock / nata_vkusidey

Once a month, plan a theme lunch for your child and his or her classmates by coordinating with other moms and dads. Pack foods that align with a certain theme, and make sure the parents of his or her friends do the same.