Thursday, January 12, 2012

As many others, we started the New Year with “eat healthy foods” resolution. We actually don’t do too bad on it at home or even when we eat out, but by the end of last year situation with Anna’s school lunches was disastrous. She started to reject every one of her normal choices and ate next to nothing three days a week when she had her lunch in YMCA. We brainstormed some ideas on how to improve the situation and implemented a couple of changes:
  1. 1. We reduced her morning snack to half a portion to make sure she is sufficiently hungry by 12:30 pm when she has lunch in Y. At home she usually has lunch at 1:30 pm.
  2. 2. We stopped asking her what she wants to eat because it was clear that she has no clue. Even when she “ordered” something, she most often brought it home not finished.
  3. 3. We changed up her lunch container to a “fancy” one with four subdivisions. We discussed My Plate with her and talked how we need to eat things from different food groups.
But that's where my own lunch box blues start. The blog world is full of adorable bento boxes and fun lunch ideas. Some people have plenty of time and energy to cut fun veggie shapes and create ham flowers. Well, I am a working mom, and I am usually on calls by 6:30 am. My husband is in charge of lunch box preparation, and he is not at all interested in getting fancy with lunch prep. Three food groups don’t present too much challenge as my daughter readily eats fruit, whole grain crackers and veggies (she usually asks for peas or green beans). But she doesn’t eat cheese no matter how fancily it’s cut, and she doesn’t like lunch meats. So I am giving my readers a challenge:
You are given a container with 4 sections. What will you pack that doesn’t require an elaborate prep or heating? An additional challenge – container is not entirely spill proof. Handicap – our school is a peanut free zone.


Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Will she eat hummus? It's great on crackers.

Matthew will not eat cheese either, especially any kind of cold cheese. And he won't have anything to do with lunch meat either, and you can not believe how relieved I am to finally hear of another child who won't eat cheese or lunch meat!!

Can't wait to see what kinds of suggestions you get.

Ticia said...

I have a friend who sends her daughter with a grilled chicken breast cut up into bite size pieces. Her husband grills a couple at the beginning of the week, and that lasts for the whole week when combined with veggies and fruits.

Container 1: protein: cubed chicken, tofu (does she eat this? I know that's a hit or miss thing with kids, mine won't touch it), tuna fish with mayonnaise
Container 2: carrots, green beans (seriously she requests that?), peas, etc......
Container 3: fruits
Container 4: crackers of various kinds, Princess loves Ritz, the boys love water crackers, sun chips, other grains

Does that help? I'm not a pretty food person either usually, and I don't have the excuse of working full time.

Ticia said...

OH, and subscribing to follow up comments so I can see what else others suggest.

Kelly said...

I find school lunches to be a challenge too! Little J likes pasta, yogurts (drink yogurts too), hard boiled eggs, fruits, sometimes even cereal and milk.

An easy way to up the cuteness factor without much work is to add character napkins, food picks, or muffin liners to hold the foods. Same food, but cuter.

Does the teacher know you're concerned about what she is eating? I visit for lunch from time to time and find that the kids are busy socializing rather than eating. Little J needs a little reminder to keep eating!

It has gotten easier each year if this gives you any hope :)

Little Wonders' Days

Amy said...

We are vegetarians, so we don't do lunch meats, either. My kids do love hummus and will happily dip their veggies or crackers into it. You could also make her a dip using greek yogurt or tofu as a base. Both are high in protein. Black beans and rice together make a complete protein. Other favorites in my house are shelled edamame, baked garbanzo beans or soy nuts, yogurt smoothies in a thermos, bagels with cream cheese, and falafels. You can make a PBJ with sunbutter (sunflower seeds) instead of peanut butter if she wants a sandwich. I am sure you will get lots of great suggestions, and hopefully you can find ones that will work for you!

MaryAnne said...

I need help with this, too!

Will Anna eat cashews? Our schools are completely nut-free, but if her school allows cashews or almonds or pistachios, those might be good alternatives.

Freeze-dried fruit is a favorite in our house, along with raisins, apple slices, and cucumber slices. Sometimes I am able to find freeze-dried veggies, as well, which they also like.

Joyful Learner said...

Great advice in the comments! Does Anna like fish? Salmon is our favorite. K likes pasta with sardines or meatballs. Tofu is another favorite. Ditto on the garbanzo beans, edamame, beans with rice, sunbutter sandwiches, etc.

For cuteness, you can use a cookie cutter for sandwiches. K likes the mini heart sandwiches.

A bit more work but not too hard is to get a mold to make rectangular sushi. You can add rice and just about anything in them.

Seaweed is also yummy alone or with rice.

Soups in thermos works well. You can prepare a pot the night before and have it for teo or three days refrigerated.

Fairion said...

I have had lots of practice with this. Froggy's lunchbox is just like this. I tend to put her protein in the small section. Tuna fish is a common choice. Hard boiled eggs also go in a fair bit. Cream cheese and jelly sandwiches sometimes if she will eat that. but you asked for collections

carrot sticks, apple slices, tuna fish, crackers

Rice and beans(one large compartment) Grapes, baby tomatoes, edamame

Creamcheese and jelly sandwich, carrot sticks, grapes, homemade chex mix

Debbie said...

My first thought was the little cups of yogurt. Selena loves the ones that have two different colors and flavors. Funny how she won't eat most fruits or berries, but give her a yogurt with banana and berry and she is in heaven. You could also add a little granola to be sprinkled into the yogurt.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

I was thinking about this and came up with more protein/dairy ideas as that seems to be what she is lacking... boiled eggs, chicken salad (to go with crackers or make into a sandwich), jello, yogurt, pudding, tuna salad (already mentioned, I know). I love the other suggestions left and am going to use some of them myself!

Viki and David said...

Container 1: multigrain crackers (eg Life is Good). Multiple grains together combien to form complete amino acids like in meat.

Container 2: hummus (so many varieties to choose from!)

Container 3: snow peas

Container 4: Carrots

Outside of container: a tangerine or small apple.

To drink: milk or milk substitute for calcium. My girl loved kefir and other yogurt drinks. She has some form of yigurt every day for lunch.

IMO, lunch meats are pretty yuck - loaded with sodium, fillers, processed into unnatural textures. I can't stand them either. ;)

Christy said...

Some great ideas in the comments. C is a very picky eater - he eats the same lunches over and over. I enjoy making R's lunch because I can put just about anything in it!

Elise said...

I was thinking boiled eggs and yogurt but see they have both already been mentioned.

Savvy tends to rush her lunch (at kindy) so I find if I make her a sushi style wrap with chicken or turkey or ham and cheese) she eats it. The key for her is to make it bite size. At home she eats plain sandwiches just cut into triangles.