Bologna sandwich, apple or orange, Little Debbie snack cake. I survived on this everyday of elementary school…except on pizza day. I got to buy rectangular cheese pizzas with tiny square things they call pepperoni and a side of corn. I can’t believe I made it. I do not fault my mom – I was a picky eater and this is all I would eat…for years.
Now it is my turn. I took the mom job seriously and was often made fun of because I meticulously made all of my daughter’s meals. I prided myself on providing a healthy lunch everyday for my first born. From the day Abby could pick up food, I carefully cut every item into tiny bite size pieces of healthy items. Grilled chicken, fresh cut strawberries and cantaloupe, appropriate temperature carrots and green beans, yogurt, etc. Then Lucy came along and it became more difficult to pack a healthy lunch everyday for both girls so I began to purchase pre-packaged chips, lunch meat, Go-gurt (what is that anyway), and the expensive but convenient, Lunchable.
It occurred to me as I was making lunches at 6am yesterday that I will be making lunch for my kids for the next umpteen years and I need some new ideas. I am mindful of the threat of childhood obesity and really try to instill healthy eating (when we are not at Chick-fil-A for the second time in one week!) and making healthy choices. I am jealous that my friend has no qualms about having her child buy a school hot lunch everyday. For some reason I feel I need to have some control over what Abby eats so I let her buy twice a week and she brings her lunch the rest of the time. I have to make Lucy’s lunch for preschool everyday anyway. My friend Lisa and I recommend you purchase a divided container with a lid (found in the baby section of Target). Mine was pink and purple for $1. I pack lunch in it everyday. My girls thought it was babyish but I explained how eco-friendly it is because we have less baggies, trash, consumables. Now they think they are saving the Earth – they are. We recently bought a Thermos from Target and this has opened up some new options…leftover casserole, mac and cheese, soup, chicken nuggets, etc.
It would really benefit our family and other readers to share some healthy lunch options or even your child’s favorite/most convenient option. Here is my current lunch pick:
Please share your Smarty lunches!
To the Smarty Mom who asked about peanut butter: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should wait until your child is three years old before you introduce peanut butter. When my almost 7-year-old was a toddler, my pediatrician said it was safe at one year. So I gave her a peanut butter sandwich on the way to her 1-year check-up. Now that we are better informed of peanut allergies, you should wait until 3 years and give it to her/him on your way to your 3-year check-up. That way if anything bad happens, you will be in expert hands! Also remember, no big chunks of peanut butter because it is a huge choking hazard!
Here is my favorite Smarty tip for lunches that can be carried over into adult lunches:
Buy a few fun Oxo cookie cutters at Michaels in the shapes of hearts, flowers, circles, Christmas trees, etc. Use these as sandwich cutters for PB&J, ham/cheese, turkey/cheese, or even the flower-shapes can be used for cucumber sandwiches at baby showers. Your kids will love this precious surprise. Plus, the Oxo cutters are so big that they do an excellent job of trimming the crust off.
Here is a Michael’s coupon link for 20% off until 5/10/08 – print several! http://www.michaels.com/art/online/static?page=teacherappreciation
Hope these are helpful! -Jen P.