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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

How To Pack Your Child’s Lunch

Jenifer DeMattia

I say it time and time again. I am no super mom. I am not ashamed of this, nor overly proud of this fact, it just is what it is. There are days when I can’t get it together and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. And as my boys have grown, so has the amount of stuff they need, and activities they participate in, and my inevitable embrace of everything “short cut”. I desperately have tried to be the Pinterest mom, particularly in the area of food now that my son has entered school and he is the pickiest eater on the planet. I have been tricked by the internet into thinking my son will open his lunch every day to a perfectly placed train sandwich with blueberry wheels and smoke coming out of its funnel made of a sprig of cotton candy. The reality looks more like this. A superhero made of whole wheat bread, strawberries, and cheese that looks more like strawberry mush after my wild son has traveled with it. Speaking of son, I also attempted a sun. My ham sandwich sun looks more like a Cyclops duck when my son opens it. So although I am not the food artist I’d imagined, here is how I have mastered the task of packing my son’s lunch:

1.    Find a great “short cut”.

I discovered my secret to lunch packing sanity when I purchased a Rubbermaid LunchBlox set. It magically turned lunch into an efficient and fun experience for my son and me. It’s my personal short cut. They are super inexpensive and come with several different sized containers that all snap into place to create a square that fits in his lunchbox. My son loves it because he gets to take it apart and put it back together. And I love it because nothing will ever be left behind. He will always complete the LunchBlox puzzle, just like the puzzle I create for him when he opens his container to find a mangled sandwich that used to be an octopus swimming in a sea of blueberries.

2.  Keep it simple.

My son does not stand still, like many kids. If he gets too bored, his lunchbox may substitute for a torpedo being launched or just another object to throw for no reason. So I have determined the food masterpieces should probably be attempted for meals at home, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be cute. I use cookie cutters to make my son’s sandwich into shapes. Same with some fruit and cheese. Simple, fun, and kid proof. I also love to write him notes. This is another reason I love the Rubbermaid LunchBlox. The top of each lid allows for you to easily slip a little note in. I may not be able to perfect the “fruit robot”, but I can definitely go crazy with the “I love you” notes, ABC reminders, and pictures of his favorite superhero.

3.     Keep it Healthy.

It has taken me a while to realize I can create healthier options for my son, even though he has a strong desire to only live on cheese pizza and toast. I just discovered once again that my success rate improves the less I try to be too fancy. I would make a healthy recipe that looked pretty good, just like a regular muffin, he would taste it and realize I tried to cram too much good stuff into a tiny package. The result was gross. And he also distrusted me even more when I tried to feed him something homemade again. My son is a grazer, a snacker, so I tend to stay away from recipes, and focus on getting him to eat the things I want him to in simple ways. The Rubbermaid LunchBlox has helped me reach my desired goal because they created a flat ice pack that snaps onto the center of the cube to keep the top and bottom of the block cool. This opens up my options for creating a fun and healthy lunch experience for my son. Here are some of my simple tricks:

·      Yogurt Parfaits – Greek Yogurt, blueberries/strawberries, granola

·      Pita and hummus

·      Homemade Pizza - Chopped spinach cooked in the dough (if my son sees it on the pizza he won’t touch it). Pizza can be made on a whole grain English muffin or pita bread

·      Cheese quesadillas and guacamole

·      Pumpkin pancakes (my son will eat many things if they are purified and cooked into a pancake)

All I can say is get yourself a Rubbermaid LunchBlox, and you will not only organize your children’s food easily, but you will entertain them and provide them with more independence when eating no matter where they travel. Snapping the LunchBlox together has become much more fun than attempting the sea turtle sandwich, including edible beach and umbrella.

"Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Rubbermaid through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about LunchBlox, all opinions are my own"