The Primal Parent

School Lunches, Part 4


Sending kids off to school or to their friend’s houses for the afternoon or weekend can be nerve racking for parents who feed their kids an alternative diet. The world outside our homes is full of tempting packages, convincing commercials, and people sending mixed messages. We say chips are bad, but Johnny’s mom and the TV say they’re good.

Sometimes I wonder how much my daughter is really learning from me, whether she’s confused, and whether she’s just going along for the ride.

If you’re like me, you talk about food all the time. My daughter listens, but does she learn, does she care?

Last night I was blessed with a moment to realize that she does.

A couple shots of last week’s school lunches follow, but first I want to share a little bit of inspiration.

Evelyn had a runny nose last night and so we sat down to try and figure out how it got it’s grasp on her. I asked her some questions about what she ate while she was out this weekend and I realized just how much she knows, how compliant she is, and how much she believes in what she calls her “special diet.” She told me exactly what her friends and other family members eat and what she eats when she sits down at the table with them.

This is not really the kind of thing you can force out of a kid her age. But because we were analyzing her diet with the express purpose of figuring out this runny nose, all of the details spilled out of her. She really does know what junk food is and she believes in our diet!

I don’t care if she messes up sometimes – she’s a kid, she had better – but I would care if she threw it all out the window completely when I’m not around. I’ve been at this with her for over five years. I’ve devoted a big chunk of my life to teaching her about nutrition and preparing her for the world beyond our home. It was a gift to see a glimpse of the fact that what I’m doing is working.

Have you a similar story to share about the Ah ha moment when your kids proved to you that they get it?

Lunch 1

  • Pork chops cut into cubes
  • Black grapes
  • Carrots
  • Tossed with olive oil and a little fresh squeezed (never boxed) orange juice


Lunch 2

  • Chicken breast sauteed in lard with a sprinkle of Italian herbs
  • Sliced red pepper
  • cantaloupe

Some articles you might enjoy
Paleo Kids: Combating Outside Influences
Persuading Kids to go Primal: A Dash of Discipline, a Sprinkle of Love
If You Think You Can’t Make Big Diet Changes, Think Again

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  1. Hi Peggy! How much fat (roughly) do you think growing kids should consume daily? I don’t have kids, but am curious about your opinion–I’m kind of addicted to your blog!

    • Thanks Lucia! I’d have to say that I’ve never really thought about it in terms of grams of fat. When my daughter started on solids and ever since, I followed descriptions of traditional diets. I fed her what I read traditional peoples feed their kids. It’s definitely a lot of fat. When I say sauteed in lard, I mean SAUTEED IN LARD!

      “Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 percent to 80 percent of calories but only about 4 percent of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
      Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.”

  2. Pingback: School Lunches, Part 4 | Low Carb Daily

  3. This weekend our family went away to a family weekend camp at the YMCA. All meals are provided, and we have no control of our diet. The food provided is typical processed, camp food. It would be difficult to take food with us, as little four legged rodents can get into about anything in the cabin. We found this out last year from personal experience. Anyway, our 5th and last meal at camp, my son (age 10) turns to me and says “Mom, I can’t wait to get home and have some GOOD food.” My son missed his grass fed meat and fresh, organic vegetables and fruit. Lucky for us, Grandma had a grass-fed, locally raised roast and veges in the crock pot waiting for us when we returned home. I believe my son has an AH ha moment.

  4. I’ve been appreciating these lunch posts, as my classes start back up tomorrow and I’ll be going form making meals at home everyday to packing up lunches for classes a few times a week. I really like the variety you’ve been showing, thanks!

  5. I struggle with what my kids eat away from my house on a weekly basis. The three older girls are with their dad every other weekend and every Wednesday night so that’s a lot of meals they aren’t having with me. Granted, they’ve all had some igg testing and we’re aware of some of their sensitivities so their dad will respect that, but the oldest didn’t show a gluten sensitivity even though I’m certain she has one so she ends up with stomach aches after eating gluten with him. She is 10 and understands that the diet I feed them is only to help them stay strong and healthy and they all know that they feel better on it. But they’re kids and they get a lot of pressure at their other house to eat whatever is served even if they know the food isn’t good for them. I try very hard not to make a big deal about what they eat there even though it drives me crazy because it causes problems between the houses and makes the kids feel guilty one way or another. But you also want to educate them so it’s a balancing act. They realize that they have some of the healthiest lunches packed at their school and I think that fills them with pride instead of envy of other’s junky lunches. At times before they were all gluten-free I’ve let them buy lunch at school. It’s worked out to be a natural consequence because the food is terrible and they’re hungry the rest of the day. They get in the car telling me they only want packed lunches. Works out perfectly!

  6. I love these posts with creative and simple lunch ideas! Thanks for posting.

    Did you end up figuring out how Evelyn got her cold?


    • Haha, good question. Not really. She did eat some ice cream over at her dad’s house this weekend but no grains or anything else. She had a serious growth spurt last week, though, and just started school. Maybe it’s all of the above. It’s not a full fledged cold, just a runny nose, so I’m not too worried about her. :)

  7. I love how you put everything in one container; my son would love each component on its own (minus the pepper strips). The minute I put multiple things into one container (i.e. a SALAD), he freaks. Thank goodness for bento boxes. :-)

  8. Peggy,

    I am a strong believer in your kids are miniature versions of you. My kids(5 and 3) generally just pick the “right” things because we don’t have the junk around and my husband I and don’t eat that anyway. So I feel fine with that. But what got me stumped was my 5yr old was shopping at MegaMart with me and we are making a bee line towards exactly what I need in there and he says “why don’t we buy any of this other food that they sell here?”. My response was “because we eat certain things, and they don’t sell much of what we need here” He says back “why are all these other people buying this stuff then if it’s not good for them?” My kids are taught by us(their parents) and school about healthy choices. They have a clear understanding of all food groups. Any thoughts or suggestions about how to answer the question about why other people eat the “unhealthy” food?

    • My daughter and I talk about this often. I tell it to her like it is – that people usually don’t know about food alternatives, that they grew up eating that way, that they like the foods so much that they won’t give them up. I always add that each one of us is on our own path and that there are things we don’t know too. We all learn what we learn in our own time.

      You’re totally right, though. Our kids are miniature versions of us. While I definitely get frustrated by other people’s food choices, and I see them as the cause for much of their woes, I’m not judgmental. A person’s diet doesn’t keep me from being their friend and I NEVER dig into a person about their diet. I don’t let the diet embarrass me and neither does she. She deals well with her peers, even with a funny diet.

      • Ooo. Nice. I can explain it like that! Thanks. And thanks again for the school lunch posts. School starts this week!!

  9. I love your lunch ideas! I think a kid realizes when she has something on her plate that is really prepared with love! I am always curious how others deal with influence from school/friends. My 2-year-old daughter usually doesn`t eat grains with isn`t my personal achievement because she has never liked them. Actually, when she was introduced solids (we weren`t primal then) she refused the cereal with milk that is recommended at 6 months and I was desperately trying to make her it them for I thought she was going to be nutrionally deficient if she didn`t it them…Now I am happy that her instinctive way of eating matches (more or less) the primal concept…at home. When we are at other people`s house that is a different story. I cannot believe how much junk even educated parents stuff into their kids. And I hate it when they ask me if she “could have a cookie” while they are offering it to her and she practically has it already in her hands…And I face the same problem: I have too often eaten a piece of cake I was offered (out of politeness) to have arguments to refuse it now. I would love if you dedicated another post about how to cope with social situations/explaining your family`s lifestyle and say “no” (which sometimes is most difficult)…

  10. Thank you for this post, Peggy. These have been real helpful to me.