Last year I aired this post after the picture of this woman’s organizational lunch system went viral. Despite all the love comments she received, I could not jump on board. I just felt like I was glimpsing my future with younger and younger patients. Ideal health starts with one meal at a time, but needs to progress to all 3, snacks included. That means the dreadful back to school lunch packing routine horror.

I feel I can say horror now that I’ve got a full year of daily lunches under my belt for all 3 of my kids. One of course being the ultra picky, middle child. The boy! Luckily for me, my kids don’t mind the same thing which they often request. However, I need them to have variety so red pepper slices don’t become the ONLY vegetable my son will eat.

In my house, my kids get to pick what is packed within reason AND it has to include 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 1 whole grain and 1 protein source. Nothing with no nutrient value is allowed like fruit gummies. Just because they might be in the shape of an apple or carrot, doesn’t mean they contain any. Water is their beverage except on Friday’s. Friday’s are reserved for chocolate milk. And they can buy twice a month. Unfortunately despite the School Lunch Nutritional Programs mandated by our government, I must admit they just don’t pass my dietitian mom test in our school district. Um Funnel Cake and Sausage or my daughters favorite, Pancake on a Stick (with a sausage inside). I think I’ll pass.

Last years post is below. It’s a great refresher to how much our kids should be eating. HOWEVER my big request, tell me what you pack for your kids?? I’m always looking for inspiration and ideas that haven’t been glorified on Pinterest. Comment below or on my KimLeneghan FB page.

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I’m a sucker for pictures dictating organization. The IKEA catalog (and store) does me in every time. However, no matter how many fun Swedish named containers I buy, I can never keep it looking neat and tidy. Yes. I know what my problem is; I buy too many things.

Anyway, so when this picture went viral on Facebook of using an inexpensive shoe holder then filling it with your kids snacks for school for only $30 for the month I was intrigued and thought I’d hit Nirvana! The comments were numerous of “this is great”, “heading to store now”, “can’t wait to start.” UNTIL I saw what those see- through holders were stuffed with:

Soda (“or Lemonade”) AND

Chips AND a

Cupcake (or Twinkie looking thing)

for EVERY SINGLE DAY OF SCHOOL for the entire month!!!!

Mom goes on to say that her child only consumes water once at home and eats a fruit and vegetable at dinner.

Umm, high five?

So instead of getting all freakishly dietitian crazy on this post, I decided to just remind us all of the Dietary Guidelines that our little ones should be eating.

Don’t worry I won’t go into the growing rate of obesity, diabetes, hypertension or a slew of other diseases our children shouldn’t be exposed to until they are adults and make their own food choices.

Or the scary thought that the next generation’s life expectancy may be shorter than their parents.

And I promise not to mention behavior issues, learning problems or struggles those poor teachers will have controlling hyped up kids or vice versa attempting to motivate drowsy, half lethargic food coma students.

Did I mention digestion problems?

Nope I won’t cover that either.

How about Acne?

I’ll stay away from that one too.

Here are some simplified guidelines to think about when you are packing up lunches and snacks for the next 9 months.

Preschool Elementary Junior High High School
Added Sugar 3 teaspoons/d 3-4 tsp/d 5-8 tsp/d 5-8 tsp/d
Protein 13 grams/d 19 g/d 34-50 g/d 46-56 g/d
Fiber 8-19 grams/d 25-31 g/d 26-31 g/d 31-38 g/d
Sodium 1000 milligrams/d 1200 mg/d 1500 mg/d 1500-2300 mg/d
Calcium 500-800 mg/d 800-1300 mg/d 1300 mg/d 1300 mg/d


JUST those 3 innocent enough looking items in each one of those shoe holders contain a total of:

479 calories

64 grams of added sugar

1.1 gram of protein

2.1 grams of fiber

486 mg of sodium


16 TEASPOONS of added sugar and 40% of my child’s daily intake of sodium is NOT worth the convenience factor.

Did you read that right??

YES!  I wrote 16 teaspoons of sugar!! (There’s 4 grams of sugar in each teaspoon.)

That’s in one Lunch!

Some will argue that eating healthier is more expensive. I get that. There are 5 mouths in my family. I know the prices at the grocery store.

However, my OUR children are worth more than cheap food robbing their body of necessary nutrients. They are worth every extra penny it costs to give them Calcium, Fiber, Protein vital for disease PREVENTION. And trust me, you can’t make it up in one dinner meal followed with a gummy vitamin chaser.

Some healthier but still convenient options include fruit, veggies & dip, nuts or nut butters, yogurt, low fat string cheese and whole grain crackers. And if you can’t afford the more expansive organic options, than don’t. It’s OK.

And so what if your shoe holder is in the fridge. Ha ha. Better yet, use the shoe boxes that came with their brand new sneakers that cost more than your own shoes. That’s Free!

Please feel free to share this post with your parent friends tempted by budget buys.

Education is Power! Education is Prevention!

Hugs!! Kim