My goal is an empty lunch box… every day. Half-eaten lunches make for wilted, grumpy kids at pick-up and that stuff is contagious. Not fun. These are the few things that I whisper to myself as I pack her lunch in the morning in hopes of avoiding the grumpiness:
Stick to liked items.
Yup. This is probably the hardest one for me. I always want to explore new possibilities, so I’ll want to pack that awesome raw sweet potato salad that I just saw on pinterest, convinced that this will be the dish that finally makes her a sweet potato lover. These momentary lapses in lunch-packing judgement usually mean an uneaten lunch. The new thing doesn’t get eaten and anything that touched the new thing doesn’t get eaten. Sticking to stuff that she likes saves us both the hassle. New dishes get tried on the weekends or for dinner.
Leftovers are my friend.
IF dinner was a hit, save a portion for a lunch later in the week. These lunches help break the monotony of the taco-sandwich-taco-noodle cycle and her tiffins always come back empty.
I have the entire day to balance her diet.
I make an effort to pack her a protein, a grain, a vegetable and a fruit every day, but sometimes, it just doesn’t work out that way. I try not to fret if I haven’t packed a perfectly balanced meal. Her lunch is just one meal out of the day and I have 2-3 other meals to get all the other stuff into her.
Ask her what she likes.
I forget how effective this one can be. Sometimes asking, “Pear or apple?” is all it takes to help her feel like she is being listened to and THAT goes a long way come lunchtime.
Good luck to all of you in the coming weeks as you get your littles and not-so-littles off to school. We’ll be in the thick of it along with you.