Monday, March 23, 2009

Lunch Limbo

“Mom, I want to have school lunch.”

Oh, dear God. Well, I think we have fallen into a bit of a rut as far as packing a lunch from home. I admit it. Since the baby’s birth, I’ve started packing stuff I never would have sent to school with Viva before. I’ve actually broken down and bought – oh, the shame – junk food (Cheetos, I’m looking at you). And not just junk food, but individually packaged junk food, so not only am I potentially ruining my child’s health, but I’m simultaneously destroying the planet! All by my onesies!

Ah, my old friend, Guilt. When did you get back in town?

Okay, in all fairness, here’s what Viva went to school with this morning: tuna salad with multigrain crackers, strawberries, seedless red grapes, a “100 calorie” package of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, and watered-down lemonade. (Regular readers may recall that Viva is not a big fan of the sandwich. I was pleased to discover recently that she loves a sandwich on a bagel, so that became a once-a-week staple until I learned that she was taking my lovingly constructed sandwiches apart and eating each component separately. Apparently this also meant she was throwing away the lettuce on the sandwich rather than eating it. Ugh.)

Her lunch generally consists of a “main course” with some kind of protein (can be anything from a turkey sandwich on a bagel to mac & cheese in a Thermos), one or two servings of fresh fruit (pretty much any fruit) or vegetables (edamame beans, baby carrots), a side of crackers or chips, and some kind of treat (this can be anything from a granola bar to Trader Joe’s yogurt to the occasional bag of cookies). And a drink. I don’t do juice boxes, so I fill up a reusable container with drinks from home – either water or watered-down juice. This covers two snack breaks and lunch during her school day.

When I asked Viva why she wanted school lunch, she said, “It just looks so good!” However, we have tried school lunch before, and aside from it being more expensive, there were often items that Viva simply didn’t like, and she’d come home hungry. Also, school lunch doesn’t include snacks, so I had to pack a lunchbox every day anyway.

I’ve been looking up lunch ideas online and found some good suggestions to get me out of my rut at lunchopolis and ilunchbox. Let’s face it – I’m never going to send Viva off with the gorgeous lunches you might see at Vegan Lunch Box. But I’ve got to think if I mix it up a bit more, she might back off on going back on the lunch plan at school…for the moment.

What about you? Do you have any fairly easy, fairly healthy lunchbox suggestions? Throw ‘em my way! I’m open!


Molly said...

Have you tried a sandwich on a wrap? My kids don't eat sandwiches either, but they do like ham and cream cheese rolled up in a wrap, or sandwiched between two wraps and cut into triangles. They also like rice cakes, which you can send plain or protein them up with a topping. Or how about a boiled egg? Or what about cold pizza? Make it to her liking (and your nutrition requirements) for dinner and then send some leftover to school. And of course you can get some protein by sending peanut butter as a dipper for veggies- unless your school has a No Peanuts rule.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Yeah, she won't do a wrap or a rice cake. (She is killing me!) She will eat a hard-boiled egg, cold pizza, or even cold barbecued chicken. I also send angel hair pasta with cheese, heated up in a thermos, and chicken tenders with a separate container of ketchup. Trying to get her to branch out. The thermos would be great except she won't really eat soup (not even chili! whose child is this?!)

bridget in oregon said...

You ladies are not alone. I've got one sort-of picky eater and one that exsists on air alone. Many times I am close to giving up on them.

Thanks for the ilunchbox link. Maybe I can culminate some ideas from there as well.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

We're branching out with the bagel sandwiches, and I even sent her with a green salad with roast chicken on top the other day. Trying to think outside the box! I'll let you know what else I come up with...