I have a confession to make…I have been a terrible lunch-making mother.
No, I haven’t been filling my kid’s lunchboxes with these…
But I haven’t been doing a bang up job either…so I joined forces with a group of ladies and I have vowed to improve by challenging myself over the next month to do better.
This week, I’m getting my act together by taking a few necessary steps before jumping into new lunchbox creations.
Step ONE: Educate One’s Self.
No more frozen PBJ’s….
I had to have a small service to say goodbye to these easy-peasy-throw-into-the-lunch-bag-in-a-dash sandwiches.
I may have wept.
But it had to be done.
Because the truth is…they were terrible. Lots of calories, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and such…basically no real nutritional value.
They do taste pretty darn good…but I digress….
I should win mother of the year. Just sayin’
In my pursuit to find more information as to what I should not be putting into my kid’s lunch-boxes I decided to look around for articles that broke down ingredients in common lunchbox items so I was armed with information before I begin my quest to pack new and improved lunches.
According to an article at Redbook.com the 5 Worst Lunch Foods for Kids include:
- Fruit Snacks – as they put it they are “…basically candy with a health halo” . So, replace those fruit snacks with real fruit.
- Packaged Desserts – I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I had fudge rounds and other Little Debbie Snacks in my lunch box. I’m sure it goes without saying that dessert for every lunch is a no-go. But, perhaps you are using it as an incentive of some sort? Toughen up mama! Just say no. Go with Fridays only as an alternative and make the treat from scratch so you know what’s in it.
- Juice Boxes – I know! This one stinks. But, I think this one can be solved by choosing varieties that are lower in sugar and alternating days with water. Make it fun with a cool water bottle that they choose. The twins don’t like Juice at this point, so I think I can just go with leaving it out altogether for them. The oldest likes it, so we’ll alternate days.
- Crackers – If you’re shooting for the “make your own lunchable” route to save money and avoid the ridiculously high sodium levels, then look for the whole grain versions.
- Lunch Meat – not all lunchmeat, just those processed with nitrates and nitrites (that’s not a typo, they are two different things) both of which assist in preserving food for lengthy periods of time, but are also linked to cancer and heart disease – so go with those that are preservative free if you can. I know…they aren’t as budget friendly, nor do they last as long in the fridge – but it’s worth the consideration.
So with these things in mind…my go-to staples along with those trusted PBJ’s…I realized had to go and I had to completely rethink this lunch deal…
what. have. I gotten myself into. (and can I get a fudge round please?)
Step TWO: Get PIN Happy
I’m using Pinterest to keep track of lunch inspiration because lord knows I’ll need to go back to regroup and pick myself up out of the lunch rut periodically throughout the year.
Step THREE: Shop for Lunch Packing Supplies
Step FOUR: Brief the Oldest Daughter on her Role & Plan her Menu
Jordan has been great about packing her own lunch. Back in the uncrustable days, it was easy as pie and while I will be taking a more active role in helping the lunch preparations, she still wasn’t sure how she felt about my new potential lunch options…
Thankfully, she doesn’t fight me too much when I ask her to try something new and after taking a solid bite, we came up with a plan to take out the ham and colby cheese to make the wrap work for her. She wanted to leave the spinach, turkey and light may and add thinly sliced mild chedder in it’s place. The kicker? She had no qualms about the spinach!!!
**dusting off shoulder**
Step FIVE: Plan Twins Menu Options
That didn’t go so well this first time around. I didn’t follow directions and press the two pieces of bread together with a rolling pin to ensure they didn’t fall apart upon rolling and cutting… AND the twins were not fans of the “sushi” filling…we’ll attempt “sushi” again next week….a mama knows when she’s failed.
So, I decided to keep reality in mind and go with an idea that I could follow through with in a pinch or when creativity failed me or quite frankly when I was feeling lazy but still wanted to ensure my children were having a nutritious lunch. This is what I came up with…
The contents included:
- Turkey and Ham wrap on wheat tortilla with colby jack cheese, spinach and light mayo. Yes. They all ate it. Ok, so only one of three went for it as it was in it’s original form. Jordan requires modifications, but I got the spinach in there, Charlotte was good to go and Madison, well….she’s a stinker and took one bite and ran off being cute and stuff. I’ll try her on Jordan’s version tomorrow.
- Popcorn – organic, light butter
- carrot sticks
- All natural Go-go Squeeze Apple-apple sauce