Moms everywhere are doing the jig because their kids are going back to school. I on the other hand have been consumed by what to pack for my daughter's school lunch. This is the first year she'll be eating at school and I have a million unanswered questions - What will she eat willingly and without me pushing on her, what will she need too much assistance with, what will she refuse to eat, what can be heated up, what container should i send this food in? And I know what you are thinking, you are a nutritionist, you have worked with children and you are not solving the crisis in Syria. I decided to take a step back and go through a few key points.
1. Make a list of foods that she eats for lunch and cross reference with what is allowed at school (most nuts are not allowed). Do not try to introduce new foods during this lunch time at school. This is not the time to send your child to school with Japanese food if she/he has never had it.
2. Buy a few containers that you can send the food in. You should have a few that can keep food hot/cold, some easy to open containers or Ziploc bags, a cup that wont spill and some sort of lunch box.
3. Don’t get bogged down by the idea that the food you send needs to be a “perfect complete meal”. If your child loves yogurt but does not eat any sandwiches (my child), then you send a yogurt and be glad she/he is getting some dairy and protein. Next try to round out the meal with a fruit or vegetable and perhaps crackers and/or pretzels.
4. Provide a few options but not too many options. Do not give your child seven different little things to choose from hoping he/she would pick one. It just becomes confusing and overwhelming to your child and most likely will waste a lot of food.
So what’s the take away from all this? You can do this. You have given your child lunch how many times in her/his life? This does not need to be more overwhelming or intimidating, especially if you take a step back and focus and get organized. And do not judge yourself as a parent by what goes in that fancy lunch box that you may have ordered on Diapers.com at 10 pm the night before. I decided on a yogurt, sugar snap peas that she decided she “just loved” two days ago, a slice of cheese, apple slices and some goldfish for my daughter. I'm happy to report that the only thing left in the lunch box at pick up today were the sugar snap peas. One down ... 179 days to go.