penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Lunch Box Blues

with 2 comments

I know every mom and dad goes through this. I know because I see it whispered about often enough on Facebook and Twitter.  What am I going to feed the kiddies for lunch?

I have come to dread that moment every evening when I look into a vast fridge full of goodies and try to conjure up a meal for the next noon hour.

(Quick aside – I’ve learned to pack the lunches in the evening.  Doing it in the morning among the chaos of breakfast and putting notes in backpacks leads to extra opinions from the target audience and more time lost.)

I try to imagine a lunch that will tantalize the taste buds of finicky four year olds and testy tweens alike.  Munchies that can be packed in a reusable container that lives up to the requirements of Tupperware Tuesdays.  Something that does not need to be microwaved yet can be safely stored at room temperature for a few hours (cool pack not withstanding) or the two hour bus ride on a summer day. A dinner that is allergen free (hey, I have a peanut/tree nut allergic kid – I totally get it.  I still long for the peanut butter and jam sandwich days and I just can’t relate to soy.  I keep trying.).  A meal that is nutritious so that I don’t get the hairy eyeball from teachers and members of the parent council volunteering to ensure children aren’t impaled on pencils during the break.  Food that doesn’t taste like sawdust and squish like an eyeball under pressure.

I have yet to reach lunch box nirvana.

I have seen those articles in parent magazines and those items on Pinterest showing the way to “Easy lunches your kids will love!”  Bread cut into whimsical shapes (Who has the patience or the knife set for that?).  Teeny-tiny little snacks packed into even cuter bento boxes (Who can keep track of million little matching plastic boxes and lids?)  Extra vegetables and ancient grains hidden in pocket sandwiches (My kids are masters at picking out and discarding hidden vegetables, crouching fibre).

It just isn’t realistic given the time and energy required to pack three lunches day in and day out with all the other requirements built in.

It wasn’t always this way.

Numero uno, upon beginning school, received wholesome, thought out lunches and snacks.  At that point, she was having her mid-day meal at day care and could microwave leftovers she liked too.

By the time kid number two came along, we had it down to a bit of a science.  Not terribly interesting, but a sandwich and three snacks a day.  No complaints and most of the time the kids ate the vast majority of it.

But I have met my Waterloo with child number three.

He won’t eat anything.

Not jam. Not soy butter. Not cold meats. Not cheese.  Not vegetables. Not mustard or mayonnaise.

No thank you.

In desperation, I have even begun just to prepare him bread with plain butter (the way he likes his toast in the morning).  I had a long conversation with his teacher to explain to her that I wasn’t starving him – but that I was at my wits end.  She seemed to understand and I haven’t had any worried calls home (yet).

But today, even the buttered bread came home.  The nearest I can guess is that he is subsisting on grapes (the only thing out of his lunch he ate) and thin air.  I can’t force him to eat from a distance – although in the meantime, I’ve started giving the children a multivitamin in the hopes that even if they don’t eat what we put in front of them, they are getting some kind of nutrients.

Today, at the request of my middle son – in the hopes that my youngest will consider the offering – I have put ketchup on their sandwiches.  I am hoping it will appease the Lunch Box Deities – but I’m probably paving the road to Nutrition Hell.

Tomato counts as a fruit though. Am I right?



Written by pennyinacastle

April 16, 2014 at 3:24 am

2 Responses

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  1. Lunch Box Deities! Hah! Am right with you on this one!


    April 16, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    • They are a fickle bunch those Lunch Box Deities.


      April 17, 2014 at 2:57 am

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