Back to School and the Dreaded Lunch Dilemma

OK. So you’re not Mary-freaking-Poppins. No spoonful of sugar will fix your daily melee to pack a lunch worthy of your child’s consumption. It is a struggle…a REAL struggle. I know that struggle all too well.

Reality Check

You have a picky eater but you are bound and determined to pack something that won’t come back in the lunchbox all squished into a disgusting clump at the bottom. Perhaps, it is stuck so badly that you have to call 911 and have the paramedics use the jaws of life to peel the Godforsaken sludge out. Yes. We’ve all been there. We all seem to battle with this daily chore of packing our child’s lunch. But not just any lunch, a lunch that meets the following criteria:

  1. A delectable selection that makes your child complete the amazing feast. Every. Last. Morsel. Oh yeah, lunchbox jackpot!
  2. A lunch display that has everyone envious of what a spectacular parent you are. Absolutely clinched the Parent of the Year award.
  3. Full of nutritious and delicious menu options that leaves every child vying to be seated next to your special little miracle, just in case there is anything discarded. MVP, baby!
  4. And, of course, a meal that was packed with such ease, you can’t even recall what you even prepared. Because. Level – EXPERT!

So, now that you are totally and completely feeling like an epic failure as a parent and are thinking that you will never be able to pack your child a successful lunch, STOP! Seriously. That type of lunch is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! Never. So just forget about it.

Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to rethink the whole “I need to prepare the most fanciful lunch for my child every day” idea, jump on the reality train and focus on preparing a lunch that is both semi-nutritious (yes, semi) and delicious. This is how you will succeed. Flourish even. That Parent of the Year award may just be in your reach. But, don’t get ahead of yourself. Instead, try these 7 steps to reach some semblance of lunchbox hero.

The Seven Steps to Becoming a Lunchbox Hero

superhero parent.jpg

STEP ONE. Stop beating yourself up. You are a parent, not a super hero. Let that sink in. Yes. Absorb those words. Accept them.

STEP TWO. Start thinking about what your child enjoys eating. Remove that nagging idea that everything your child eats must be deemed “healthy” and just think about the foods your child really enjoys. I know, this can change daily. But, start a list and edit as necessary.

STEP THREE. Break down the list into two columns. Healthy and Not So Healthy. Not hard. Just do it. And, stop freaking out that there is a column labeled “Not So Healthy”. It will be alright. We will get through this together. Promise.

mom buying groceriesSTEP FOUR. Purchase items in both columns on the list. Yup. BOTH. Why? Because, just like you, your child is a real, living being who likes both the good-for-you stuff and the not-so-good-for-you stuff. Hey, you’re still alive and well, right? And, try to buy more from the Healthy list. That way you can breathe easier. Stop with the guilt already!

compartment lunchSTEP FIVE. Consider buying BPA-free (just to be safe) plastic containers that are broken into compartments. Nothing fancy or super pricey. This will just help separate the lunch items and make is easier to pack. Some of the things your child likes may not be so easy to pack. For example, my son LOVES canned mandarin oranges packed in water, not syrup. (And just in case you are wondering, this went in the “Healthy” column.) Anyhow, these little buggers are messy. So, we purchase the large cans and then we drain them and put them into one of the compartments. Boom. Swish. Score!

STEP SIX. Realize that not every day will be a success. Children change their likes and dislikes faster than a Twinkie can disappear at a Weight Watcher’s meeting. That is not unusual and does not speak to your ability to parent. So, there’s that. Move on.

kid hates lunchSTEP SEVEN. If your child is speaking and your can understand him/her, ask about the lunch. What did your child like. What did your child not like. Make corrections as necessary. If, however, your child can not speak, ask the daycare provider/teacher what items your child seemed to enjoy and which ones your child spat out. This will help you when packing lunches later in the week…month…year. Maybe. Children are so fickle. Don’t take it personally. Don’t see it as a failure. Just correct the offensive item(s) and move on.

The Finish Line

finish lineIf after you have successfully packed at least one lunch during the week, consider that a HUGE accomplishment. I mean, one success is one success. Take it and run with that bad boy. Shout it out loud. Post it on social media. Own it. Like a boss. Because, after all, you earned it!

Lastly, I would highly recommend you take a moment for yourself, maybe during your celebratory lunch-packer-hero bliss, and watch Bad Moms. If you have already seen it, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t…you are welcome!

Best of luck on your lunch-packing journey. I have nothing but faith in your success. Even if it is only once…a week….a month…a year. A success is a success. Am I right??

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope you found it useful. If so, please feel free to share it. If not, share it anyway. LOL. JK…not K.

Thank you for stopping by. Come back again.

SherylSheryl Sheppard
Marketing & Placement Specialist
Nannies Who Care

Sheryl is a proud mother of two boys, both of which are soccer players (yup, a true soccer mom). She has been happily married for 16+ years. When Sheryl isn’t writing blog posts, scheduling nannies, or marketing for Nannies Who Care, she is either driving to some remote soccer field or packing healthy lunches.


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