2004-12-09 / Other News

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I need some advice about how to pack decent lunches and snacks for my kids. The convenience of sending in pre-packaged snacks is hard to beat, but they are expensive and not always the healthiest choice. I just wish healthier items came pre-packaged.

I agree; the convenience of the individually wrapped snacks is a real plus, but when using them you’re limited to what is available. Try helping your kids to choose a few healthy items that they like, perhaps whole wheat crackers or pretzels, and put them in small packages of your own. On Sun-day nights, you and your children can package enough snacks for the whole week in zip bags or reusable plastic containers. If you have a little help from them, the chore will go faster, and you will be laying the groundwork for when they will be packing their own lunches.

You might also want to purchase cheese slices and repackage those on your own, too. If you fold the cheese into four sections, it’s easy to eat and will fit right on a cracker. Breakfast cereals make good snacks or lunches, too. You can send them in a disposable bowl, or a reusable plastic one that can be brought home. Include a thermos of milk it it’s not available at snack time.

Celery and carrots are a great snack idea and can be cut up ahead of time, stored in the refrigerator and spread with cream cheese or peanut butter for added nutrition. My children prefer fruits if it’s cut into sections, but fruits are harder to keep fresh if they are cut up ahead of time. I sometimes core an apple or a pear, but then wrap it tightly pressed together in plastic wrap. It doesn’t turn brown if it’s wrapped well. Encourage your children to think outside the box - the lunch box that is - and see if they can come up with their own ideas for snacks and lunches that are both healthy, cost efficient, and don’t create a lot of waste.

My daughter has a very disruptive boy in her class. She comes home with all sorts of stories about how loud he is and how mean he is to the other children in the class. I don’t know what to say to her about the situation.

You must bring your daughter’s concerns to the teacher right away. Anyway you look at it, the boy who is misbehaving is taking away your daughter’s right to an education. Bear in mind that your daughter doesn’t know all the details or whether the teacher or school principal has done anything to try to rectify the situation. But you must convey to both the teacher and the school principal the degree that this situation has affected your daughter. Discuss the matter with the teacher first and then make an appointment with the principal. Although they will not be able to give you specific details about the situation, they will be able to hear your side of the story and hear how the student in question is affecting your daughter.

Send questions to: Answers from the Teacher, P.O. Box 54, South Egremont, MA 01258. Questions may also be emailed to answersfromtheteacher@adelphia.net.

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