Karla’s Korner: Food for Thought..

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Food for Thought…

I have been struggling lately with the idea of getting older and no longer having little people in my house. Questions like did I do enough or did I do too much rattle around in my head quite often. Being addicted to food I realize that one of my quick fix answers to my children’s problems was feed them; after all food always made me feel better so why wouldn’t it do the same for them? I can remember packing their lunches for school in the early years and always sticking in a little something extra; you know just in case. Looking back I wonder just what was I thinking. Nearly 19 years of parenting I realize that parents today struggle with the same issues.

Being a teacher, I am witness to some of the “just in case” items in lunch boxes. And while I am not trying to point a finger at anyone or questioning anyone’s judgment on what should or should not fill a young child’s lunch box, I would like to share some observations from my side of the lunch table.

1. Just because the label says yogurt does not mean it’s a good choice. Did you know that each 3.1 ounce drinkable yogurt cup contains 3 tablespoons of sugar? I nearly fell out of my chair when I made this discovery after noticing a change in behavior in students who consumed these sweet concoctions.

2. Juice boxes are not necessarily a good lunchbox staple. Most juice box/pouches contain a lot of additives and red dyes which can and will cause unsettling reactions in children and their behavior. Flavored water or plain water is an excellent choice for young children. I suggest sending a special leak proof cup that can be refilled from the water fountain. Not only does the child stay hydrated, you the parent will save money by not purchasing unhealthy sugary drinks.

3. Fresh fruit is always better than fruit type gummy snacks or roll ups. Gummy or rolled fruit is sticky, full of extra additives and does very little for a young persons body. Fresh fruit contains essential vitamins and minerals that will not only fill a child’s tummy but will aid in healthy digestion. Believe it or not there are young children who have never eaten a piece of fresh fruit.

4. Homemade lunch kits are not only less expensive than store bought ones, they are more pleasing to small children. Ask your child to help shop for what he/she would like to eat and allow them to help assemble it. This encourages them to learn to make wise food choices and ensure they will like what they eat.

5. Lunch does not have to be a sandwich and chips. Kids love variety. At 44 years old I am not a fan of sandwiches and could not imagine eating one every single day of the week. Once again variety is good and fresh is always better. Ham and cheese rolled up without bread is a great alternative as are bagels with cream cheese or jelly.

6. Leftovers are great lunchbox choices and can be kept warm in a good quality insulated food container. By preparing a little extra for dinner the night before and a quick heat up in the morning will ensure that your child will be getting a home cooked meal at school.

7. Candy should never be sent to school in the lunch box. The extra sugar is not necessary and can trigger swings in a child’s behavior.

8. Fresh vegetables are a great lunchbox staple for young children. A small container with carrots, celery, broccoli cucumbers or green peppers can not only fuel your child’s body but will teach them to make wise food choices when they are older. Ranch dressing or dip for the vegetables is also a fun way to encourage vegetable consumption.

9. Small quantities of a variety of food items are best. Young children tend to be “nibblers” and can sometimes feel overwhelmed with large amounts of food and will decrease the amount of food your child is throwing away.

10. Breakfast comes first…start your child off with a healthy breakfast that will keep him/her going strong in the morning. If you do not have time to cook breakfast (I know I don’t), make sure you’re hold has healthy choices to pick from to give them a positive start to their day. There are no rules that say you cannot have a ham and cheese sandwich, slice of cold cheese pizza, or tuna fish on toast for breakfast.

Teaching our children early on that food should be used to fuel our bodies and not as a reward or substitute for something will be one of the greatest life lessons you could ever teach. Ultimately the choice is yours, however I encourage you to think of the old saying “garbage in garbage out” when dealing with feeding your children and yourself. Filling your body with the right fuel will keep your motor running and in good shape; after all unlike a car we cannot trade our bodies in on a new model.


Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles here.

Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Please share...Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0Share on Yummly0Share on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Tumblr0Buffer this page
Subscribe to RealAdviceGal Weekly newsletter


  1. nickie says

    I know that I”m guilty of some of these food choices. It’s just so much eaiser to grab something already packaged and put into the lunchbox. I often will try to balance it off with fresh fruit, but this info is defintely food for thought. I really didn’t know that yogurt has 3.1 ounce drinkable yogurt cup contains 3 tablespoons of sugar !! Thats nuts!

  2. Carrie says

    Although I agree with many of your tips, I also have to say everything in moderation. As a former early childhood educator (toddlers & preschoolers) I have seen many variations on lunches sent in from home. Yes some yogurt may be high in sugar and i’m sure many100% juice boxes contain added color, however I am betting they are also high in many vitamins.
    Also many of these “reactions” you are seeing may be attributed to other things as well. Every child does not react the same to sugar or dyes. Many children are high in energy because schools are cutting out phsical activity. Recess, phys ed, and other types of movement have been cut down or completely cut out in some schools. I don’t understand how a child, of any age, can be expected to sit and pay attention for 6-8 hours without breaks or time to move. I agree a healthy lunch is best, but a healthy meal with a bit of sweet in it is not the worst thing.

  3. Jennifer Hedden says

    Welcome Karla! I really enjoyed this post. I can’t believe that some yogurts have that much sugar. I guess this is another reminder that we really need to pay more attention to the nutrition labels on foods. I agree that we should send other things instead of sandwiches in kids lunches. You made some great points and I look forward to reading more posts from you.

    • Karla Robey says

      Thanks for your comments….I love hearing from everyone. Food labels can be difficult to read and can be misleading. I am amazed at how some food companies get by with labeling something as healthy when it is not.

  4. Kim Withers says

    Thanks for the tips! I have a few more years before sending my daughter to school but these are useful for my daily routine anyway. My daughter loves fresh fruit and actually DOES NOT like fruit roll-ups or other artificial fruit snacks. I think it’s because she eats fresh fruit regularly so the fake
    Stuff just doesn’t satisfy her. Also it’s important for us parents to lead by example. If your kids see you eating healthy food, they’ll likely want to do the same.

  5. Karla Robey says

    I agree that moderation is key, however, what I see quite often is an over abundance of high sugar, highly processed convenience food in lunchboxes. I personally believe that candy should never be taken to school and I do not allow it in my classroom..it just causes a lot of problems all the way around. Our world today tells us that quicker is better and that convenience foods are the way to go and as busy parents we often practice the “grab and go” method. We grab it throw it in the lunchbox and we go out the door to school and work. I spoke to a certified special education teacher regarding this subject prior to writing this article. What she found quite often is that many children are or have been diagnosed with certain behavior issues and after tracking their eating habits, some behaviors have been modified simply by adjusting what they eat.

  6. Jill Payne says

    I am guilty of the juice boxes for sure….but its only one small drink, I don’t see it as that big of a deal bc it isn’t all they are drinking all day. I hate those “fruit snax” and other chewy stuff that just causes cavities. My 13 year old has wanted nothing but a pbj and snacks for the last 8 years in his slunch box!! He orders maybe 2x a month on pizza days and thats it!! Picky eaters are the worst!! I try to always include a piece of fruit!!

  7. Devona Fryer says

    This is a very eye opening article! Thanks for posting. It really helps me to pick out better foods for my children.

  8. jara Christensen says

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *