Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lunchbox love

My lunches rock!
How do I know this?
The other day, when I was putting the school lunches together, H. asked me not to put hers in a clear lunch box.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Cos otherwise the other kids see what's in it, and try to steal it. They're always trying to take my food."
How fabulous, I thought. Not that other kids want to eat my daughter's lunch, but that it actually IS good enough to eat.
It happened at her previous school too. In fact, H. is a slow eater - she's busy chatting, looking around, and taking in the surroundings - so one little girl used to pinch the tastiest morsels when she wasn't looking! Thankfully, it was all sorted out after a word with the teacher.
Granted, I do make an extra effort with my lunches.
I have horrific memories of the school lunches I used to get (sorry Mum). Usually it was a sandwich with luncheon meat and tomato sauce (gross) or a warm peanut paste sandwich. There was always one piece of fruit, and usually a homemade biscuit or cake. Plus water from the school bubblers.
The worst periods were when Mum went through health kicks and made us home-made rye bread (so chunky you could carve it), or home-made wheatmeal chapatis with salad, which were warm and soggy by lunchtime.
And we didn't actually have lunch-boxes, so they were usually squashed as well.
It's not all Mum's fault. She had four kids, and a husband to feed on one wage, and money was tight. Plus, I don't think I actually admitted I didn't like her food. I didn't want to get into trouble for not eating it! And as far as I remember, other kids had similar food, though with tastier toppings like jam or cheese and ham (except for the chapatis and rye bread. I was the only one with those, and no one ever wanted to swap...)
It was all so different back then. These days kids seem to enjoy a smorgasboard of offerings at lunch time.
And I'm guilty of it too, because I make sure there is an assortment of tempting foods in my kids' lunch boxes.
Usually sandwiches, yoghurt, fruit, vita-wheat and vegemite, and something like a homemade slice or biscuit. Occasionally they get treats like fruit bars or cheese and cracker packs, but only if they are on special (and nut-free!) Sometimes, if there is time, I cut the sangers into fun little shapes for them.
They always get a cold water bottle to keep it cool (frozen in summer), and to remind them to keep their fluids up during the day.
In these days where childhood obesity is a concern, I sometimes worry I'm sending far too much food. But the kids are growing and they play sport every day at school. Not to mention playing on monkey bars, slippery poles, climbing forts, and flying foxes at lunchtime and before school. I figure they burn up the kilojoules easily, and I don't want them to get the headaches I remember getting because I couldn't stomach my lunch.
Our school has a policy of sending all the lunch rubbish home, so we know what the kids are eating- or not. They're not allowed to throw them in the bin like I used to do!
And I'm pleased to see that finally, there are usually only empty wrappers and apple cores left.
I went through a stage where I tried recipes that kids are supposed to enjoy at lunch - things like cold salads, rice, quiche, savoury muffins, and chicken legs. But these are always unpopular, and come home uneaten.
I find the trick is to give them a variety of food that is quick and easy to eat, so they can run off and play as soon as possible.
Anyone else got some lunchtime tricks (or horror stories)?
Homemade weetbix chocolate slice - tastier and healthier than muesli bars, and nut-free!


Viv said...

Mmm! Your lunches look delicious. My kids have taken to buying their lunches at school because they are so picky I just threw my hands up in the air and gave up!


Maybe I will try again

Thanks for stopping by my cats' blog, The Cheezits!

NuKiwi said...

Any chance you'd like to share some of your snack recipes??? I am always up for trying new things in my daughter's (and hubby's ) lunches. This one looks quite tasty...

MrsDesperate said...

Thanks for visiting. I'd love to share some recipes. I kind of make them up a lot as I go along, change things depending on what is in the pantry, so next time I am baking I will write down the recipe and send it over to you!