What’s in those lunch boxes anyway?

Back to school time! I know for all you moms out there it’s both a sigh of relief to get your sanity back and yet the whole array of homework for moms kicks in too. Enter, the dreaded lunch box. That box packed full of hopes for a nutritious lunch so carefully packed and sent off with love. Full of veggies and dips and even cute smiley faced sandwiches just begging to be enjoyed. Then the reality when those same lunch boxes come home (maybe!) all trashed with dip dripping through the zipper and only the cookies have been eaten. Sigh…..what is a well meaning mother to do?

Get them to pack their own lunches, yes!! That is a brilliant idea. About the time my kids entered fourth grade I figured they could handle packing their own lunches, make their own choices and thus they would actually be more inclined to eat them right? Well not really. Ya see it turns out all they really want to pack are cookies and candy and carb laden crackers and other various sugar laden garbage. So I’ve made it my rule that there has to be at least one fruit and/or vegetable in there. Even if they don’t eat it, it just makes me feel better. I will stand there and supervise. Surely that is better than taking full responsibility for the lunch boxes every night right? I’ve gone to great lengths to assure that they always have choices they like in the house, like fruit leather, or carrots w/ranch dip. My 10 year old happens to love raw spinach so those are the types of food I always have. But that isn’t enough for a lunch, and when they pack their own lunches it often ends up being less than what I consider a healthy lunch. So I go back to packing them for them again!

Shame on me!

So when I pack them I really do try to put things in there I know they will eat, chicken chunks, yogurt, protein bars, apple slices, nuts, these are staples. Then there’s always some kind of a treat that I hope they don’t eat until they eat everything else in there, yeah right! My kids have never been sandwich eaters so that’s out of the question. But they will eat a mini bagel with cream cheese, or turkey slices held together with toothpicks. It takes endless amounts of creativity to keep these lunches coming.

By the end of the first week of school that new found allure of back to school has worn off. Right about the time I notice things growing on the outside of those lunch boxes, so into the wash they go. Which reminds me, I need to buy a backup so I can rotate them out in the wash every week. So to all you moms out there who are in the same boat, do your best, but in the end pace yourselves, remember you still have a whole year to go!

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