Junk food or not junk food, healthy or not healthy, those are the questions. What is the true definition of "Junk Food" or "Healthy Food?" Everyone has their own definition of what they think is healthy. For some that may be low carb, for others, perhaps paleo or vegetarian. Each family has their own unique tastes and preferences and respecting that by offering dozens of options that satisfy each child's changing tastes and each parents unique preference, with access to healthy lunches every day, is important to us.
Would you consider a pizza, with house made dough, sauce from crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, oregano, and low fat skim mozzarella cheese "Junk Food?" How about freshly made sandwiches, salads, pasta sauce, yogurt parfaits, and more for a school lunch?
As the owner of a restaurant based school lunch company, from time to time I hear a parent refer to the food on our menu as "junk food" because it comes from a restaurant. We partner with restaurants that use fresh and wholesome ingredients, cooked to order. Catered lunch companies continue to rely on frozen and canned ingredients made days in advance, because unlike restaurants who have retail business in the door all day and night, caterers aren't able to go through the food quickly enough. In addition, caterers are not generally in and around the area of your school, so the food needs to be cooked days in advance, frozen and reheated.
I have previously written about making sure our kids eat a balanced diet containing lean protein, fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Ideally, that is the goal, but here's the wrinkle, it doesn't matter what we pack or order our kids for lunch, they will only eat what they like, what they are used to eating and what tastes good to them. I often hear parents say, well at least if there were broccoli or fresh fruit in front of them, they are more likely to eat it then if it wasn't there. My question is... Is that the risk you want to take? Making sure our kids eat their lunch,so they're able to focus and concentrate for the balance of the school day is key. Food for thought.