Tag Archives: healthy food

Bartering for Food – an elementary school cafeteria lesson

Food was a form of money in some earlier societies. People traded tobacco, salt, grain, fish, rice, olive oil, tea, and other edible goods. But commodities like hot tea were replaced by cold cash.  Check this great article.

Here in Indy, you can join Indy Food Swappers.  They describe themselves as:  ‘an Indianapolis-based, free food swap, striving to inspire creativity, build community, and spread good cheer. We trade homemade items and enjoy the company of new and old friends.’  How fun!  

But, you’ll be amazed what I’ve learned about bartering in my kids’ cafeteria.  See, my kids take a packed lunch daily…. for a couple of reasons:  1) daughter can’t get full enough on the school lunch 2) they are all picky and 3) there are lots of rules at the fresh fruit/veggie table – don’t get me started.

They all are required to pack a protein and at least one fruit and one veggie in their lunch.  Recently, I started buying mini watermelons (I know that they aren’t quite in season here locally, but my youngest (and pickiest) eater loves watermelon).  I cut it into wedges and send two or three slices in each of their lunches.

Today they told me that they each need an additional slice.  My first thought was ‘what great eaters I have’.  Only later did I find out that the extra slice is for bartering at the lunch room table!  Apparently, watermelon has a huge barter value – especially when it is prettily cut into wedges.


After asking some probing questions, I learned that there are obvious high-value barter items – the type you would expect – cheetos, doritos, desserts, etc.  But what I also learned is that fruit – specifically fresh strawberries and watermelon are worth A LOT!

Here’s what I’ve learned: pack plenty of fruit.  I don’t care if my kids or others eat it.  I’m just really happy to hear that it is so valuable.


Posted by on April 2, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Concession Stand Duty

The dreaded concession stand.  The even more dreaded concession stand volunteer duty.  

This past Saturday my husband and I took our turn working the concession stand at our kids’ school for a one hour shift – noon to one o’clock.  You could argue this is a really difficult time of day for parents.  It’s lunch time – the time when most of their kids are typically in that same cafeteria/gym space eating lunch –  and they are hungry.  But, it was certainly interesting to think about what people were using either as lunch food or a snack until they could get home for lunch.

Let me start by saying – I hate the concession stand.  So perhaps I’m biased.  But, I can’t figure out how we are okay with just junk – just junk – for our kids and ourselves.  

This concession stand is no different from others.  It offers hot dogs, the walking taco (let me know if you need info on this!), nachos and cheese, popcorn, candy and drinks – bottled water and all varieties of sugary stuff.

I’m going to give two polar examples of what I saw:

1) grandma (over 60) purchased two bags of popcorn – $1.00 total

2) 5th grade girl (probably weighing 60 pounds) – one bag of popcorn, one Coke (2 serving size), Hershey bar, Chips Ahoy package, golden Oreo package, and Sour Nerd sticks (I think that’s what they are called)- $4.50 total

Now, I realize I don’t know all the details.  Let’s hope the young girl was buying for her whole family.  But, here is what she essentially bought 1) 139 grams of sugar and 2) 1,050 calories – for only $4.50.

We all say that we care about childhood obesity.  We all want healthy food and a healthier lifestyle for our family.  You could argue that the concession stand is a treat – albeit an every other day sort of treat anymore.  

But, my argument is that we are just lazy.  Or, we are worried about losing the precious income the concession stand generates at the cost of obese and unhealthy children.

Here’s what I’ve learned: although I may be the finance person on the athletic committee, it’s my responsibility to voice my concern and drive change to the concession stand.

Here are some two resources that I’ve found.  Send me more suggestions please!


Posted by on March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized


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