You know what I’m talking about, right? Uneaten lunches, throwing out food, falling into the same routine, feeling that familiar stress; that you need to be more creative and add more variety to your kid’s lunch. Welcome to back-to-school lunches!
When did it become so complicated? When I was young I ate the same thing every, damn, day; baloney sandwich on white bread with 2 chocolate covered biscuits & a juice box. We had an hour for lunch and didn’t have to share that time with fresh air and exercise (don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to get outside and allow them to move). We ate where we wanted which was often a quiet classroom or under a tree outside.
We now know the importance of variety and providing balanced meals. A lot of us vowed it wouldn’t be the same for our kids, that we will fuel them with better options and raise a healthier generation. We are so focused on what we feed our kids and not the how, the environment in which they are eating, which is often out of our control.
So give yourself a pass. Remember out 21 meals each week, school lunches make up only 5 of those. Believe me, I know it’s incredibly frustrating when they don’t eat their lunches, but try not to stress about it. The key is to make sure their blood sugar stays relatively balanced, so if you’re going to ‘obsess’ about any of it, work on making sure they’re at least getting some protein in to stabilize their energy throughout the day.
Try talking with your kids about the experience at lunchtime. Ask them what they want, meal plan with them. Find out what other kids eat or show them images on the computer of various lunches to get some new ideas. Perhaps there’s a good reason why foods come back uneaten. In fact, just the other day my little guy told me he spent about 10 minutes trying to open a container! Easy fix.
Practice school lunches on the weekend... Go on a picnic in your own backyard or in the living room. Watch to see to see how they navigate through their lunch. Perhaps they are filling up on water first. And try new foods at home first, don’t surprise them at school.
Don’t give too many options. Know your kid and how much they would eat. Sometimes we fill their lunch boxes with too much food, too much variety, it’s overwhelming and they just go for the sweetest options.