Packing the right lunch box

Packing the right lunch box

The single most important job that a mom — working or stay-at-home — faces is packing a lunch box for school kids; and yes for some husbands who are overgrown kids.

nThe first lunch box myth is that you are a bad mother if your kids eat the same lunch every day.  When I was growing up my mother made special interesting lunches every day and I pined for just bread and butter!  I in turn tried to give my son a varied lunch but he preferred peanut butter and banana sandwich and insisted on making it himself.  Not only did he grow up fine, this fundamental skill is useful to him as a bachelor!

n“You are a better mother if the lunch is cute.”  This myth has perhaps been propagated by a cook with lots and lots of time on her hands.  The emphasis for lunches should be on the food being good and wholesome.  It is also important to bear in mind that the food should stay good after a few hours.  In this day and age when stress is such a key part of our lives, putting a cutesy lunch together is the last thing we should stress out about.

nThe final myth is that “kids should never have treats in their lunches.”  We as adults love treats.  Don’t you enjoy your biscuit with your afternoon tea or coffee? So, why should you deny your child the same privilege?  I used to add a chocolate chip cookie to my son’s lunch now and then and he would be pleasantly surprised and come home in better spirits.  Of course, ensure that the treat is small and not loaded with sugar.  We don’t want the teacher having to deal with a classroom full of hyper kids.  Also, make it very clear to your child that the treat is not the lunch and should be eaten only after the healthy food.  If you find the treat is stopping your child from finishing her lunch explain to her you are stopping the treat for say a week.  After the embargo try it again and repeat the procedure till she understands the rule.  Children are amazingly compliant when you are firm.
nSince the thrust of this piece has been negative, in this last tip let us talk about something positive to do.  Many of us these days are using thermoses and hot cases to pack lunches for kids and adults.  It is important to realise that putting hot food into a cold thermos straight from the cupboard uses the heat from the food to heat the thermos.  This makes the lunch lukewarm.  To keep your thermos warm and your hot lunch hot is not that difficult.  Fill the thermos with boiling water, close the lid and let it sit for about seven minutes.  Drain the water, wipe, and immediately place the hot food and close.  This will solve the problem of lukewarm food.
Before you start using a new thermos, you can test how hot food stays during the day by filling it with boiling water and leaving for a few hours.  If after this time the water is not hot, well it may be time for a new thermos!!
So, lunchtime need not be a nightmare any more.

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