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Zucchini Carrot Muffins and Healthy School Lunches

Mention “school lunch” and I’ll immediately picture canned peas — those not even close to resembling fresh, bright green peas, but little greyish, squishy orbs of awfulness that rarely left the Melmac tray they were plopped into by the school lunch lady.  No, they, like so many other questionable lunch offerings, ended up in the trash along with the nutrients that were supposed to have ended up in a child’s tummy.  Do canned peas actually contain nutrients?

It was rare that I had to dump my lunch in the trash because my brother, sister, and I carried it to school, packing it ourselves by the time my mother had returned to work before my 7th grade year of school.  In earlier years, we went home for lunch and made that ourselves as well.  A standard lunch was a baloney or salami sandwich, or sometimes peanut butter and jelly, and on great days, tuna.  Lettuce and tomato were added when available, and I remember, because the tomato always made the bread a bit soggy.  An apple, orange, banana, or tangerine was included along with a handful of something salty, like potato chips or fritos.  Once in a while, a pickle, sliced cucumbers, or carrots and celery were included.  A couple of cookies like Oreos topped things off, and after we no longer carried a thermos, a nickle for milk completed our lunch.  Good thing, too, because more often than not, the thermos in the lunchbox jostled around enough to end up smashing the chips into crumbs, and bruising the apple or banana.

I can still remember the smell of my school lunchbox and it’s not an unpleasant memory. Hilarious, yes.

I taught my boys to make their lunches by the time they were in first grade not because I wanted to torture them, but because I wanted them to have Continue reading