Tackling the ‘L’ word

vegie smugglers lunchbox

Dig through the plastics drawer and find that lid.

This morning, Miss Fruitarian spent quite some time explaining her extensive knowledge of cussing. All Year Ones (which she insists on being called even though it isn’t official until Monday) know that the ‘f’ word is fart, the ‘b’ word is bum and the ‘g’ word is god.

For me, the word that makes me the most uncomfortable is the ‘L’ word…. Lunchbox.

Like a scary movie, the l-word is back, along with homework, morning deadlines and the need to get your washing schedule planned so that you have enough clean uniforms to make it through the week (yes, I should just buy the extra tunic and save myself the hassle).

Despite all the myths and expectations, I hate lunchboxes as much as every other mother in the country. They are a pain, particularly when you attend a teeny-tiny school with no canteen to fall back on. I’ve been paying keen attention to all the ideas in the media (particularly The Healthy Food Guide which also features a Vegie Smugglers excerpt this month) and it seems the same 10 ideas get shifted around and nuanced each January. Simple sandwiches (roll into pinwheels or use cookie cutters to make them cute), foods – apparently that start with ‘c’ – in sticks (cheese, carrot, capsicum, cucumber), the odd melon ball, dried fruit, savoury muffins and home-made muesli bars. Older kids can tackle a yoghurt. Avoid fruit juice. Freeze stuff in summer.

For mornings where you are motivated, you could try some of these combinations…

Beetroot dip/grated carrot/roast beef
Poached chicken/avocado/lemon
Canned tuna in springwater/corn kernels/cottage cheese
Ham/swiss cheese/pesto

So many ideas to make lunchtime fun. But so many ways to feel disappointed in yourself when for the 14th time in a row you pack a ham and cheese sandwich (crusts on, cut into two), a store-bought muesli bar and a bunch of grapes.

This is real-life, folks, nothing glossy. None of us have time so don’t sweat it. Particularly since the kids don’t care. They want the same boring whatever as what’s in their bestie’s box and they’re so busy talking they won’t eat most of it anyway. Then they’ll be off to run about like lunatics and play ‘dance school’ or (my favourite) ‘slap bottom’ and lunch won’t even be vaguely remembered.

The moral to my rant is to give them a good breakfast, healthy and varied dinners, lots of fruit for snacks and forget about the rest. Lunchbox stress is just another area where mothers are made to feel guilty. Do your best and then relax.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Leah said,

    Too true! Thanks for making us all feel normal, Wendy! 🙂


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