Program offers help on packing healthy school lunches

  • Monday, August 19, 2013

Juna (4 months old) is the “Baby Grand Prize Winner” of the Mount Pleasant Regional Library’s summer reading program. PHOTOS PROVIDED


Do you hear the creepy silence? Today our little darlings trudged back to school, leaving nothing behind but breakfast dishes, glasses, toast crumbs and a wrecked kitchen from the struggle to fix their lunches. Did you make your kids a healthy lunch, without too many processed ingredients or added sugar?

If you failed, you’re not alone.

My 9-year-old eats a gluten free diet and my six-year-old is PICKY, so I find myself tearing up the kitchen every weekday morning to find anything that they can and will eat. Chips, salsa, cheese and celery for the big one. Check. Whole milk yogurt, apple and cheese straws for the little one. Check. LaCroix fizzy flavored water for the big one. Check. Plain water in an aluminum bottle for the little one. Check. And a straw. Check. Cloth napkins. Check. Check.

But wait. Are your little darlings at a healthy weight? Have you given them too many (or too few) calories?

My older son is skinny, which his doctor assures me is wonderful, but the little one is almost off the charts – both short and skinny - so I’m supposed to make sure he gets a couple hundred additional calories a day. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? My occasional mocha latte has more calories than that (as if the treats my co-workers constantly lay on the break-room table didn’t already do the trick).

My kids’ pediatrician says that she sees more kids with the opposite problem, extra weight. Obese youngsters have a harder time exercising, which puts them at risk of gaining more. Childhood obesity increases the risk of adult obesity and health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Valerie Kirkland, founder of Generation Healthy Kids (generationhealthykids.org) wants to raise awareness about the risks of childhood obesity. Generation Healthy Kids holds an annual 5K awareness-raising fundraiser every fall, provides community education programs (on nutrition, health, and physical activity) and promotes school-based fitness activities.

If you’re looking for healthy lunch and snack ideas, please join Valerie Kirkland on Saturday, Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library for a free community education program. “Healthy Back-to-School Lunches for the Whole Family” will teach attendees how to shop for and prepare healthy lunches the whole family will enjoy. Possibly even an adorable but picky 6-year-old.

After the program, peruse the library shelves for books like “Quick & Easy Meals: More Than 200 Healthy Recipes Plus Time-saving Tips for Shopping, Planning and Eating Well” from the American Heart Association and “Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source” by Terry Walters. For kids, check out “Healthy Eating” by Emily K. Green.

Library programs

PLAY: Lego Club (ages 4 and up)

Saturday, Aug. 24 from 2-3 p.m.

We supply the Legos, and you create the masterpiece.

Afterschool Movie (all ages)

Friday, Aug. 30 at 4 p.m.

“Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension.” Rated G; 78 minutes.

Mount Pleasant Reel Club – A book/movie discussion group (adults)

Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m.

Read the book, come watch the movie with us, and then participate in a lively discussion.

Book: “Push” by Sapphire

Movie: “Precious” starring Mo’nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe and Sherri Shepherd (rated R, 109 minutes).


Babygarten (0 – 18 months with adult)

Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 10:30 a.m.

Wednesdays, Aug. 21 and 28 at 10:30 a.m.

Family Storytime (19 months – six years)

Mount Pleasant Regional Library

Thursdays, Aug. 22 and 29 at 10:30 a.m.

If you’d like to receive a monthly email with Mount Pleasant Regional Library’s program calendar, please email MtpReference@ccpl.org.

Jen McQueen is Children’s Services Manager at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road. Most mornings at 7:20 a.m. she can be found throwing food into lunchbags while gulping coffee and herding her little darlings toward the door.

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