Day 76: cheese sandwich

Today’s menu: cheese sandwich, tater tots, apple, pretzels, milk

Carbs overload was my first thought, but I learned last week that schools have to offer more than five grains per weeks so that is why the random pretzels and cookies get thrown in.

I’m not a big processed cheese fan, but I ate the sandwich. Actually I ate everything except for the pretzels, which I threw away. In their place I ate a clementine that I brought from home. So yeah for two fruits! I think the apple looks picture perfect.

I’m not even sure how I got into this discussion, but today I was talking about food with a couple students (I think they were discussing something from a book and favorite foods).
I asked the question, “Is pizza healthy?”
Both of the students immediate replied, “No.” They looked at me with wide, serious eyes.
“So pizza is not healthy?”
One student, “Nope.”
The second student, “Well, it’s a little bit healthy.”
These poor kids are so confused! Thanks marketing!
I said, “Pizza is easy to make and can be very healthy.”
Homemade pizza is so delicious. Do you make pizza at home?

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52 thoughts on “Day 76: cheese sandwich”

  1. Yes! 100% whole wheat and flax crust…. grass-fed organic cheese, and homemade tomato sauce with LOTS of spices.

  2. First time I've felt compelled to comment. I don't think you're doing the kids any favors by asking questions like "Is pizza healthy?" One of most important nutrition lessons we can teach kids is that foods are rarely inherently healthy or unhealthy — implying that there's a yes/no answer for pizza as a category of food is just confusing and misleading. And let's be honest: pizza as they know it (school lunch pizza, maybe Domino's or Papa John's takeout at home) should not be given teacher's endorsement.

  3. I love making pizza at home from scratch. The Dough is ten time better and so easy to make

  4. I'm going to be writing a post on this later, but by serving pizza at school we ARE saying it is healthy. We imply that it is healthy because they get it while at school.

    I lifted this quote out of a larger discussion so I did quote myself out of context. It made sense at the time to ask that question. It looks like a leading question when written above.

  5. We make pizza at home. It's one of our most favorite and flavorful meals. Whole wheat pizza dough, basil, green pepper and fresh tomato is my favorite. Thanks for the post!

  6. Yes, these kids are confused…that's why as a health teacher, I used to have open discussions daily about foods, without labeling them, healthy or unhealthy, we would stick to the NUTRITIONAL CONTENT of the items discussed! It seemed to work! By the way, that lunch today looked GROSS, and where's the color??! So disturbing!

  7. To me, pizza is one of the greatest foods, the possibilities are endless. You can make it completely healthy or completely unhealthy. My favorite is a crispy homemade crust with some wonderful fontina and sweet basil and maybe a sun-dried tomato or two. Just heaven.

  8. There was a series I watched on TV, I think it was called the 100 Mile Challenge or something like that. So I tried making one recipe by the rules of the show just to see if it could be done where I live (all ingredients have to have originated within 100 miles of the house). It was possible, even with a premade marinara sauce at a farmer's market. I still preferred the taste of a slice of Godfather's Pizza. Maybe I've been trained to enjoy the pre-processed, chemical laden food. Who knows? But ya, making pizza at home is possible but not as easy (I have no pizza oven in the wall) or tasty as I would have preferred. Like any recipe it's going to take a few tries to get a flavor I'm happy with…but it was much more work than I thought it would be.

  9. Yes, we make pizza at home. Whole wheat crust, homemade sauce, and all kinds of toppings (sometimes themed)! It's not the healthiest food we make (cheese, doncha know), but it's WAY yummier and definitely healthier than frozen or delivery pizza.

  10. I don't think it's marketing that confuses them… obviously they know pizza can cover most of the food groups (well, all, if you like pineapple on your pizza LOL) so it could easily be a complete, healthy meal. However they also know in reality most people eat greasy, meat-laden, veggie-free pizza which is not healthy. It can be but usually isn't.

    Yes, we love to make pizza at home. I make 100% whole wheat dough in the food processor and we load it up with tons of different veggies and mozzarella. We have not made it in a while but we probably should before it gets too hot to bake for the summer!

  11. I try to make it healthy, but I LOVE to make homemade pizza! Without all the extra chemicals involved it just tastes so much better

  12. We've mileage on our bread making using the dough setting to make whole wheat pizza dough! My kids love it!

  13. Ok, I just do not get how pretzels can be considered as a serving of grains…nor cookies for that matter. That is SO stretching the concept of including all the food groups. Pretzels??? gimme a break!

    yes, we make homemade pizza; big treat for us all. And yes, pizza can be healthy.

  14. I just came across your blog today. This is a fantastic project and I will post a link to your blog on my site.

  15. I love pizza!

    Homemade pizza with a whole wheat crust is just as healthy as any sandwich. The key is to use the meats and cheeses sparingly and load it up witht the veggies…just like with your sandwich!

    Honestly, I most often use a fresh prepared dough from the grocery store, and even though the crust is white, I load it up with the good stuff. It's my happy medium…my I get home from work after 5 and my kids are absolutely starving pizza fix.

  16. My hubby and I have discovered tortilla pizza (not to be confused with taco pizza)! Whole wheat or multi-grain tortillas loaded up with lots of fresh veggies (no meat, fresh chopped tomatoes instead of pizza sauce), low-fat mozzarella cheese and Italian spices baked to crispy perfection! Kinda fell apart, so I think I'll try mixing all the toppings together first so that the sticky cheese melts throughout. We love it, but the kids didn't care for it the first two times (they're super picky). I'm not giving up though. 7 to 10 exposures before liking a new food, right? I'll keep working on it. Oh, I also like pita pizza's on the grill!

  17. I have a sister who would try to pattern her menu at home during summertime by what was being given at school to the kids…I told her it may not be too healthy considering that one of the breakfast items on the menu was a pizza hot pocket…??? To me that seems a bit much. I still encourage my eldest to try and choose the most nutritous meal for lunch at his school, seeing as they sometimes have a choice between things some days. It's hard to imagine that our schools would be giving our children unhealthy items… When you think about it though, anything in excess can be unhealthy… I suppose the one of the keys is also portion control… I'm glad that you created this blog… I will be coming back to see what else you post in the future. Thanx for taking the time out to do this.

  18. We make pizza here just about every week. I grate zucchini and press out a bit of the moisture into the sauce I make and then put the shreds under the layer of cheese then we load it up with peppers, tomatoes and olives. SOOO good and combined with the whole wheat flax crust, pretty darn healthy when compared to Domino's

  19. You don't need a pizza oven to make pizza, just a stone. I use the stone for pizza and bread.
    No whole wheat crust. Just a dough I make myself. I make a batch and freeze some. Make my own sauce and my own cheese.
    Personally, I don't like pizza but I make it for my husband who does.

  20. yes, I made pizza at home, sometimes I make the sauce and dough from scratch, and sometimes I buy dough and jarred sauce (I like Barilla). We balance meat & cheeses on the pizza with a side salad. I always want more veggies on my side than hubby.

    I'm interested in this whole "it's good/bad" or "I was so good/so bad" in terms of attitude about food. I think THAT'S what's unhealthy – beating yourself up for having a cookie.

  21. It never seems to me that these lunches are planned much. It seems more of a random combination of 4 types of food. I wouldn't think of a grilled cheese sandwich with tater tots, instead I would pair it with tomato soup.
    Maybe if the items would "go" together more, kids would be open to eating it all?
    It's just a thought, but it just seems like some of these lunches don't really go together to me.

  22. Mrs Q! You should have a healthy pizza party for your class!

    …I'm not sure how you can do it inside a classroom, but it would be really awesome if you could…

    Maybe at the very least, you can have a healthy snacks party, to teach kids that you can have fun, eat snacks, and be healthy, at the same time…

  23. I love making pizza at home! We had it last night w/thin crust, cherry tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, fresh mozzarella and basil from the balcony. I try to fill half of my plate with salad, that way I don't end up eating too much pizza but I figure that so long as I know what I'm eating, it can't be that bad!

  24. I love making pizza at home! I use whole wheat pizza dough and top it with tomato sauce, 2% mozzarella cheese, and lots of fresh veggies. Healthy and delicious!

  25. Please, tomato soup with that cheese sandwich would make it sooo much better (and it would count as veggie right?)
    I never see soup in your lunch. Don't you think soup is something the kids would really go for, chicken rice, noodle, tomato? i am sure that it can be bought in heat and serve cups.

  26. Mrs. Q, I think you're 100% right when you say: "I'm going to be writing a post on this later, but by serving pizza at school we ARE saying it is healthy. We imply that it is healthy because they get it while at school."

    Kids go to school to learn things. Lunch is part of that education, especially when kids are eating the foods served to them by the school, rather than the foods they bring with them. If the school feeds the kids tater tots/pizza/hamburgers/pretzels, then I think it's sending a clear message of: "this is okay to eat."

    Except that it's not.

    I do make pizza at home, with gluten-free crust and lots of fresh veggies.

  27. Hi!

    First, I'd like to say that I love your blog. I don't have kids yet but I ate a lot of "hot lunch" growing up and looking back, it wasn't much healthier then than it is now.

    As an aside to the very important discussion of nutrition, I'd like to share that I'm appalled at the enormous volume of waste in pre-portioned packaging that I see in all your photos. I had no idea that some school districts were doing that. Convenient, maybe. Lazy, definitely. But seriously, how hard is it to scoop a ladle of stuff onto a plate or try?

    I'm not all that old and we had those green or brown plastic "lunch trays" with the dividers in them. When done eating, the trays were banged into the trasn can to remove leftovers and trash, and into the dishwasher they went. Lots more environmentally friendly than non-compostable coated cardboard and plastic sealing wrap.

  28. Maybe the reason for no soup is no spoons? Eating soup with a spork is challenging (and messy, in my experience).

    And yes, I do make pizza at home from time to time. When I'm baking bread, I'll make some extra dough, and use that for the crust. For topping, in winter I'll rummage through the fridge, in summer the garden.

    Pizza can be very healthy, or very not. It all depends. Like a lot of foods.

  29. Homemade pizza is usually a Sunday treat. Love making it from scratch and with different types of toppings. I don't always make it healthy though. However, anything is better than processed frozen pizza or take out pizza.

    Also, I don't think Mrs. Q asked "is pizza healthy" as a leading question..I think she was just getting a cenus of what students thought. I also don't believe kids think just because school has pizza that they consider it as healthy. They are much more intelligent then most people give them credit for.

  30. My mom used to make pizza once a week. It was one of the few things my sister would actually eat. To make it healthier (this was before the regular availability of whole wheat flour in the supermarket), she used to put wheat germ in the crust. It added a great flavor and texture. That plus her homemade sauce and low-fat mozzarella – heaven!

  31. I make pizza about once a week…garlic, olive oil, Italian blend cheeses, basil, oregano, sliced roma tomatoes, and a sprinkle of feta cheese- YUM!

  32. I do make homemade pizza, but it takes a fair amount of planning. Mostly to make the sourdough crust. I get get by without that if necessary though. Then the question is how to bake them (we usually make individual sizes so everyone can top to their tastes). In a hot oven with a pizza stone is the most common, but sometimes it's nice to either move the pizza stone outside to the hotter gas grill or to cook the pizza and top it right on a charcoal grill.

    Just about any method tastes great.

  33. I make homemade pizza using fresh pita bread made at a local grocery store- it's still warm when I buy it. I use marinara sauce to top it and buy fresh veggies and canned pineapple (in it's own juice) and mozzarella cheese. The pita is 9" wide and everyone makes one of their own based on their own preferences. I admit that I also provide pepperoni or ham if one of my kids wants it. The total cost for all the ingredients is usually about $20-$25 to make 18 pizzas. Once we put all the ingredients on the pita, we pop them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes and they are just delicious.

  34. Threw the pretzels away? Seriously?

    I have very little sympathy for any adult who thinks so little of food that they can callously throw it away.

    I find it very hypocritical to complain about the quality of school lunches and then la-di-da toss the food you don't agree with out.

    I'm starting to think that we Americans get the kind of school lunches we deserve. The food choices are just as lazy, uninterested and unhealthy as we are.

  35. I have celiac so for the most part I only have pizza at home (there is a pizza fusion in my area, but it's sooo expensive) and I am amazed at how much better pizza is when you make it yourself! So little cheese is needed, and I never use tomato sauce. Summer is the best time for it too — all veg out of the garden!!

  36. i also make pizza at home about once a week.

    i don't make my own dough yet, probably because i'm only making pizza for myself. usually i use a store-bought thin crust or pita bread. i love to cook and bake, and if i was making pizza as something other than a quick weekend meal for one, i'd probably put the time in to make the dough from scratch.

    i view pizza as an easy way to get multiple "food groups" in 1 meal & use up the odds and ends of leftover cheeses and veggies in my fridge.

  37. I HAD THIS SAME SANDWICH TODAY FOR LUNCH AT MY SCHOOL!!!! Isn't the bread around it hard! But it doesnt taste that bad we didnt get an apple and we have never had pretzels before but we did have french fries which is similar to tater tots i just had to comment it was the first time both schools had the same lunch!

  38. I have to make our pizza, or we can't have any. My family is gluten and dairy free. But, completely unrelated to that, we eat pretty healthy pizza. My 6 year old has never had meat on his pizza–he gets veggie pizzas, and, poor kid, he gets whatever veggies we have on hand, so they aren't exactly traditional, though I do try to stick stuff like onions, peppers and/or olives on there when I have them. But even with our restrictions, I manage to make a decent pizza, and he loves them. When we do make them, sometimes we have fun with the toppings and make silly faces, which helps them go down so much easier!

  39. my teen daughter had a friend over from our urban high school. We invited him to stay and eat dinner, homemade pizza. He helped, amazed, saying "I never knew you could make pizza. I thought you could only buy it." He called later that night from his home. He was making a pizza.

  40. My daughter brought a friend home from our urban high school. We invited him to stay for dinner and help us make it – homemade pizza. He was amazed, stating "I didn't know you could make pizza. We always have to buy it". He called later that evening from his home. He was making a pizza.

  41. We make homemade pizza about once a week at our house. We all love it. I can't do wheat so we always have a gluten free crust with whatever toppings sound good that week. Thanks for sharing!

  42. My boyfriend's mom makes homemade pizza on the grill. She has a pizza stone to use on the grill and she hand makes the dough and then puts the toppings on herself.
    Pizza can most certainly be healthy if you make it right. She makes a pizza with tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella medallions. No grease. It tastes wonderful and its light because it doesn't have the thick, bready crust. The crust is crispy, thin, and the tomatoes and the basil and the mozzarella taste so good. She also makes another one with fig and pear that is sweet, and still very good. Its more a dessert than a meal. she will also make a classic pepperoni and sausage pizza. But the tomato and basil one usually wins out. And cooking it on the grill seems to keep the grease from overloading, I don't know why or how.

  43. my dad makes homade pizza every friday. It is very yummy, we put mushrooms, green peppers, pepperoni, and onions on it ^_^

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