When we moved to London on six weeks notice, we dropped the Fives (then Threes) into a local nursery school that was convenient, warm, kind and fun. This little nursery also had the most amazing lunch program, hot lunches cooked on-site every day. Real food — things like turkey with gravy and mashed potatoes and broccoli served family-style at a low table. They even gave the kids real knives and forks, trusting there would be no casualties. The most amazing bit, all of this lovely nutritious real food was being cooked by someone else.
But they don’t go to school there anymore.
So I am reluctantly refining my lunchbox repertoire. Here is the problem: I am committed to feeding my children a variety of healthy whole foods. I also feel strongly about not getting too crazy about it, or they’ll just develop a different set of food issues. And, since you don’t live in my house you may not be fully aware, I am really really NOT a Morning Person.
I dabble in meal planing and send in a fair amount of leftovers. But I can get overwhelmed by a blank slate, and I either end up sending way too much food or getting into a sandwich rut. The key for me has been finding a great lunchbox that helps me pull together a balanced lunch without feeling like I am reinventing the wheel every day. This has been my saviour:
Bento boxes may be trendy, but this is not a case of form over function. Looking at the compartments helps me put together a balanced, appropriately portioned lunch very quickly. In the morning, I need all of the help I can get. Little coloured rectangles is about as complicated as I can handle at 7am.
You can clearly tell that we are keeping the grape tomato industry healthy here in Britain. I try to keep enough pantry items in stock so that I can come up with a pantry lunch if I lack leftovers or a plan. Some of the snacks, like popcorn and trail mix, are made by the kids the afternoon before when they have their coming-home-from-school snack. Whenever I start feeling like all I do is feed children, I become very very afraid of their future teenage appetites.