Can I buy lunch?

Earlier this week Clay told me that some of his friends at preschool get to eat the “hot lunch,” and asked if he could buy it sometime. I said sure, then he asked “how about tomorrow?” This was at bedtime and I didn’t have time to check the menu for the following day, so I told him I’d have to look at it first. He’s a picky eater, so I could picture him starving because he won’t eat chicken, other than nuggets from Chick-Fil-A. I typically blame his picky eating habits on Chase (what grown man won’t eat cooked veggies?), but the chicken aversion may have come from me, since I couldn’t even look at it when I was pregnant.

After going to five stores to find a Cars 2 lunch bag (before buying it on Amazon.com) and packing food he likes, why the interest in buying cafeteria food? I equate it to my desire to eat out for Friday lunch, after a week of Smart Ones frozen meals, sandwiches and leftovers from home. They’re boring and you have to make them yourself. Something as simple as a deli sandwich tastes better when someone else makes it, even if you use the same ingredients.

I checked the menu and every Friday this month they are serving something he’ll willingly consume, so today he went to school with a check that will cover once-a-week lunches through the end of the year. Did I mention they put that into his “nutrition” account, and they access this money through a palm scanner? Hello, “1984.” I guess this technology is what our high taxes are paying for?

For now, I’m sticking to buying lunch once a week, for both Clay and myself (although I get free lunch at work on Fridays, so my day to go out is usually Thursday). In my case, I definitely save money and calories, and even time, if you count how long it takes to run out and pick up lunch.

For Clay though, I’m not so sure. It would certainly save me time not to pack a lunch, and I spend more than $2/day on food for him. The benefit is that I have control over what he eats, to a certain extent anyway, since he’s so picky. I will not be packing him chicken anytime soon, but he will eat a lot of veggies and nearly all fruits. At school, who will make sure he picks up something healthy from the salad bar? Hopefully the teacher, though that’s not really her job.

If he really likes the school lunch, should I just save myself the money and time and let him buy lunch every day? What do other moms do?

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