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My Box Lunch Balancing Challenge | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

My Box Lunch Balancing Challenge

Can food providers provide healthier food options that are affordable and that people will eat?

Vanderburgh 4-H Leaders addressed that challenge this weekend as we provided box lunches for Startup Evansville, a weekend activities to encourage business startups. We needed to provide easy to eat box lunches for participants.

In our county, to help cover the cost of project manuals for 700 4-H members, leaders volunteer to cater fundraisers.

As 4-H Leaders, we are fully committed to teaching youth to make healthful choices.  With this box lunch gig, the question presented itself: will we practice what we teach? If so, how? What will people eat?

The USDA may technically identify a pickle spear as a vegetable (no wonder those school burgers included pickles), but they are a nutrient detriment that adds salt to the diet. So we shopped and bargain hunted, still including some traditional options. Our final decisions?

Day 1 lunch:

  • Hoagie turkey, ham and cheese sandwiches
  • Potato chips
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Organic spring mix lettuces
  • Veggie packs with broccoli, grape tomatoes, celery, and organic carrots.
  • Apples or bananas

Day 2 lunch:

  • Turkey and ham wraps with cheese and organic baby spinach on artisan whole wheat tortillas
  • Potato chips
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • Veggie packs with broccoli, grape tomatoes, celery, and organic carrots
  • Apples or bananas
We also included additional trays with extra tomato slices, cucumbers, and green peppers in case anyone wanted to add them to their sandwiches.

After delivering the second day, I stayed to observe participants eating. What foods would they eat? Which would they skip?

They ate the vegetables. (and the chips, cookies, and wraps) Not everyone ate everything, but most of the participants did eat vegetables when offered them as an alternative. Several also chose the fruit.

My challenge to you: if you organize a meal or event, add at least 1 additional fruit or vegetable into the menu.  And add 1 more vegetable a day to your own plate, at each meal.

Comment below to share how you meet the balanced box lunch challenge.

The USDA has ideas on how to incorporate more vegetables into your diet if you need it.

Bottom line: we can balance the traditional box lunch without breaking the bank.


4 Responses to “My Box Lunch Balancing Challenge”

  1. Cheryl Mochau February 28, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    The veggie packs are a good idea. Good job, 4-H!

    • Lynn March 9, 2017 at 12:04 am #

      Keep it coming, wrtries, this is good stuff.

  2. John February 28, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    Thanks Mary, the lunches were excellent! As a vegetarian, I appreciated the all veggie options you included as well!


  1. A 4-H Remixed Recipe Challenge | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother - March 7, 2012

    […] story? As our 4-H leaders were recently preparing box lunches for a meal (described in my Box Lunch Balancing Challenge blog), I pushed and prodded more nutrition in each lunch. The president of our 4-H leaders told me […]

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