Thanks for all the comments and for participating in the GIVEAWAY!
I will answer the questions one at a time.
Here is an easy one since I only have a minute:
(for those of you who don't know I have one school aged child. He is 6 and he goes to school all day, everyday)
I pack Braxton's lunch Monday-Thursday and on Fridays he gets Hot Lunch. Not my choice, but he is a kid and he has been asking for Hot Lunch since the beginning of the school year so after Christmas break we compromised and now he gets hot lunch on Fridays. I don't regulate it at all. This is his day to get whatever he wants from the very enticing, not so healthy, selection.
Monday thru Thursday this is what he gets in his lunch:
A SANDWICH and his water bottle
rice cake sandwich with almond butter
peanut butter sandwich with homemade jam / local honey
turkey/ham sandwich with mayo/mustard
There you have it. That's all he gets. A sandwich. And guess what? He eats the whole thing!
I don't give him applesauce (even without sugar added it's packed with natural sugar), no fruit snacks, no crackers or chips... nothing else. Just a sandwich and he loves it and eats it all.
He gets an afternoon snack at school for which I send either almonds, apple, carrots, veggie chips.
He has fruit in the morning, veggies when he gets home from school and at dinner, but lunch is just a sandwich.
Valentines day I will put something special. Probably a homemade muffin.
He doesn't ask for the other stuff. He cares more about recess that comes after lunch anyway. He knows that his body needs strong building blocks to be able to run fast at recess and read well in class. He doesn't argue. He's a champion.
I don't do the other stuff because it's added sugar. When blood sugar levels are raised they get more hungry, their mood fluctuates, they aren't able to concentrate as well....I don't do veggies because we always have them after school. I just do the sandwich. He gets his tummy full. There is no wasted food. He is not filling up on junk. He gets a lot of protein and fiber.
I realize he is only in Kindergarten and maybe he won't always agree with this habit, but I also know that he is smart and as he continues to learn the benefits of good nutrition, and recognize it in his own life, he will probably not have an argument.
Also, we don't have to eat what the other kids eat. Just like we don't say things other kids might say... It's one of those things. Daddy and Mommy do it this way because of these reasons.
Plus there is always Friday, which he does look forward too. Sometimes he gets pizza, chicken burger, apple juice, chocolate milk.... whatever.
He never complains about his lunch. He really likes his sandwich. He drinks his water and he is an extreemly good little eater!
If you don't want to implement this plan I would recommend raw almonds, fresh vegetables, salad is good (like you mentioned).
Most other stuff is either pretty processed or full of sugar. Even fruit is full of sugar so it really fluctuates the blood sugar.