My kids bring lunch to school pretty much every day. I’m good at making their lunches on a small budget, and it allows me to include fresh vegetable and healthier ingredients in their lunches. What amazes me are that the kids get comments on their lunches, not too much from the other kids, but from the adults around them at the school.
My oldest says that her lunches fascinate one of the yard duties. My daughter often takes leftovers from the night before, plus a carrot or other fresh vegetable. It doesn’t often much resemble what other kids bring, from the little I’ve seen. No bag of chips, no juice box. It’s not always perfectly healthy or balanced, but it averages pretty good. My daughter eagerly awaits the next batch of homemade chicken soup so she can start bringing it to school, as it’s a favorite.
My son doesn’t get nearly so many comments, mostly because he’s in a big peanut butter and jelly phase. That’s all he ever wants for lunch. It’s cheap, and I’m glad of the protein in the peanut butter, but it’s not my favorite lunch for him overall. But when you pack school lunches, you want to be sure that the food will be eaten, and that’s what works right now. I hope it changes soon.
The key to a good packed school lunch is to make one that your kids will eat and not overmuch miss the junk that their friends will probably bring along. It pays to listen to what your kids want. Provide favored healthy foods, and they aren’t as likely to trade them away.
I don’t do all the packing for my kids’ lunches, and I think that’s a part of what helps. I pack the main dish, they pick sides and snacks from what we’ve agreed is allowed. This keeps it healthy yet it was their decision in part, rather than entirely my own.
Certainly they sometimes miss the foods they see other kids bringing, but not too badly so far. They know chips and such as an occasional treat, not a daily food. I’m hoping this will help with lifelong eating habits, although one can never be certain of that. Still, this is the time to try.
It’s really a lot of fun packing school lunches that are healthy enough to get positive and intrigued comments from others. It’s a little way for my kids to stand out in a positive way.