Ok, Ok, I know I am supposed to be a dinner strategist (self proclaimed) but as a parent I have to delve into the lunch arena on daily basis. I try to put myself in my daughters shoes and make lunch extra special. I just remember lunch being my favorite subject (YES) at school. It was the only time, other than recess, where I could talk freely with my friends, express myself and fuel my body. My parents didn’t make my lunch, I had free lunch, so I ate whatever was on the line. My favorite day was usually pizza or nacho day. Whew – I went way back. After two years of making lunch, I will now share some things I’ve learned along the way.
Don’t worry if you give your kids sandwiches everyday.
I read so many blog posts were parents try to re-invent lunch. I have seen everything from black bean tacos, to mediterranean slaw, to cold chicken wings. Some of it looked great – for me. I just wasn’t so sure if my picky 5-year old would enjoy any of it. My fix – I bought a lot of crust cutters and made fun shapes with bread and cold cuts. It delighted her. Soon she started making special requests. She’d say, “I would like a dolphin today.” Sometimes I do change it up. I have substituted the sandwich for a hotdog, wrap or rolled meat and cheese bites.
Come up with fun ways to inject veggies.
Sometimes I worry that my daughter isn’t getting a well-rounded meal. Besides dinner, she didn’t eat many veggies. In order to rectify this, I got a vegetable spiral slicer to make fun spirals out of carrots and zucchini. I would post a pic but the spirals are quickly consumed.
Find fun fruits.
I always try to inject fun fruits into my daughters lunch box. This week I bought a starfruit. She loved it. I did, however, have to watch a YouTube instructional video to cut and serve it. It came out great, although she ate it before I could get it in her lunch box. I also mix and match fruits to add variety. My favorite fruit for her are raspberries because she promptly puts them on all her fingers and waves at me.
Add a treat. Don’t skip this.
I always try to add a treat as an incentive for my daughter to eat all of her food. Most times I add a cookie or Hershey kiss but lately I have been making fun trail mix. She really likes it and it breaks up the lunch monotony. I normally make it out of whatever I have on hand (candy, nuts, dried fruit) and add it to a plastic baggie.
Don’t always expect a thank you.
Sad to say but this can be so true. My parting advice is to not expect a thank you…but sometimes kids surprise you with thanks and kisses! I can spend 15 precious minutes customizing the perfect lunchbox and my daughter may say, “can I order lunch instead,” or “can I have a lunchable.” It doesn’t hurt my feelings any longer. I am happy knowing she has the best lunch during the best part of her day.