Don’t hate me. No one wants to start talking about making school lunches again, least of all me, especially since I wrote this while my husband was on vacation, which meant that for the first time since summer started, I did not have to make a bagged lunch every morning! There were two glorious lunch-free weeks before he went back and one glorious month before I needed to start making school lunches too.
But now… school lunch season is upon us.
A year ago I was eager to begin making school lunches. My first kid was going to school for the first time and I was excited to show him all my love in carefully prepared and well-rounded meals. And, obviously, he would eat them, right? In the middle of a busy school day, he’d need to fulfill his ravenous hunger and refuel his body with the snacks I had lovingly prepared. Obviously.
Evening after evening I would open his lunch bag to find a barely eaten lunch. Apparently, my power only reached as far as the lunchbox. My kid wielded the power of deciding whether to eat or not and he decided to not.
I have discussed this issue with many a mom in the past, and we have come to different conclusions, none more right than the other. Many moms just continue to send the sliced fruit and protein-rich sandwiches whether the kids eat them or not.
But not me. SCREW THAT!
I only made it a couple of days into the school year before getting completely fed up with feeding my kid. Why should I stay up late or wake up early preparing food that will just go to waste? (This seems like the recurring question of my entire motherhood journey, so far… Ever since breastfeeding ended, at least.)
The new challenge ahead of me was to find something (or, rather, the right mix of somethings) that my kid would eat that wasn’t entirely junk.
It took a while. I even chatted with a nutritionist in the process. But I eventually came up with a handful of foods to fit in a lunchbox that both Cameron and I could live with. Here’s what we came up with.
Rice cake: Instead of sandwiches, which Cameron never ate more than a couple bites of, he does eat rice cakes! So, we swapped the sandwich for a rice cake in his sandwich box.
Frozen fruit: Cameron won’t eat any fruit in his lunch but cherries. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stomach the cost. Frozen cherries were a great alternative and thaw just enough by lunch time.
Protein: Cheese with Crackers
Healthy Snack: Yogurt or apple-sauce (my kids will even eat unsweetened!)
Recess Snacks that I didn’t feel guilty about: Granola bar and Mott’s Fruitsations+Veggie fruit flavoured snacks.
This above is literally what my oldest boy ate for an entire year of school! And, it is probably a perfect grocery list for when I prepare to send him back to school in a month.
Feeding my kids always feels like such a compromise. While I would love to feed them clean fruits and vegetables all day, I have already seen how my kids react to those. No matter how big of a fight it gets, they still won’t eat any. So, if I can find food they actually will eat, I consider it a win, (until suppertime, when goshdarnit please just eat one vegetable! JUST ONE!)
As my second year of school-kid-mothering approaches, I’m relieved that at least I’m going into it as a lunch making pro. And I have a whole year of rocking school lunches this way… Until boy-two goes to school next year…
This post was sponsored by Mott’s Fruitsations+Veggie, which is a great school snack for your littles, especially if they are as picky as mine are! Even before I partnered with Mott’s, we were huge fans of Mott’s Fruitsations+Veggie in our house! They are made with the juice from pears, apples, and carrots from concentrate plus strawberry puree. These snacks contain no artificial flavours or colours. Follow General Mills on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.