The Lunchbag Challenge


willworkforfood     I have all but given up on what to pack in my kids’ lunches.  They have to be two of the pickiest children EVER to walk the face of the earth.  I have tried packing things that I am certain they will eat, only to find them untouched in their lunch bag at the end of camp.  What’s a mama to do?

     Part of the challenge is this whole “nut-free” rule that every kid-related organization seems to have these days.  I fully understand and appreciate the reason for having to instill this policy, because some of my kids’ friends have siblings with severe nut allergies.  It can be extremely dangerous and life-threatening, and I would NEVER want to put any other child at risk.  However, when your kid won’t eat any type of lunch meat and whose only major source of protein often comes from peanut butter, it’s a struggle, let me just tell ya!  And this brings me to my next issue — where did all these food allergies originate in the first place?  I swear EVERYBODY brought pb&j sandwiches in their lunches when I was growing up.  I mean, seriously, it’s a kid staple, especially in my house. There are some days when I don’t have the energy to fight my kids, and they have pb&j for lunch AND dinner.  Why not?!  I don’t really remember any serious food allergies back when I was a kid, other than my one friend who got hives from milk products.  It makes me wonder what they’re doing to our food these days that’s creating all these horrible reactions — kinda scary.

     So, I’ve been forced to get creative with what I pack for my kids to eat. In addition to the “main dish” (as my kids call it), I try to put in things that I KNOW they’ll eat, like Goldfish, grapes, granola bar (the expensive kind that I’m sure have not been processed in a plant containing traces of tree nuts), etc.  And, nine times out of ten, they eat almost everything but the “main dish.”  For a while, I was packing bagels with cheese, which turned out to be a major waste.  One smooshed bagel seemed to be the only thing left in their lunchbag each time.  I then switched to cheese and crackers, which came home in a thousand tiny pieces that exploded onto the floor when I opened their lunchbags.  I then tried butter sandwiches, because my kids are crazy about butter.  Result = fail, once again.  Next, I tried adding some jelly to the butter, because what kid can resist jelly?  Apparently, MY kids can and did just that. Today, I’m going to try just jelly, no butter, and see what happens there.  I’m running out of combinations, so they may just end up getting a freaking bread sandwich if this doesn’t work!

     This next school year is going to be even more interesting, because I know they’re gonna want to take money to buy their lunch in the cafeteria since they’ll be big first graders.  I have no doubt that they’ll come home without a single dime and a growling belly.  So, I guess I’ll continue giving them my speech about other kids who’d give anything to eat those wasted butter sandwiches and keep popping them full of multi-vitamins at night. This too shall pass…right? RIGHT??!!


3 Responses

  1. As a mother of a child with multiple food allergies (peanut, tree-nut, milk, eggs and soy) and a picky eater on top of it all… I would like to thank you packing safe lunches but also sympathize with you about how difficult it must be not to pack what you kno w they will eat! I wish my son could toast a waffle at school…at least I know he would eat that.

    My pediatritian has assured that the pickies to pass….but usually not until they are teens…so until then I will continue to pop a multi-vitamin and Tums (for calcium) into him!!

    Thanks again…love your honesty!

    • Oh, geez, you’ve got a major lunchbag challenge, as well! It’s so tough, isn’t it? Truth be told, my son would probably be perfectly happy if I just shoved in a loaf of bread & some water. He’d do quite well in jail! Oh, and by the way, the plain jelly sandwich came back untouched the other day — no shocker there. 🙂

  2. Oh pickies don’t pass in the teens either. We have a 13 and 12 (almost teen) who are picky and a 16 year old who has suddenly decided she doesn’t like spaghetti – which is a staple for a family of 7!

    One thing to look into – at our schools we send a check and they have a lunch account. They have a code to enter when they get their lunch and it deducts from the account. We send a check for $25 every 2 weeks. The great part about the elementary and middle schools are that you can actually put a block on certain lunch purchases, so that you know they are not buying just junk. The 13 year old had a cookie problem a couple years ago. She’d buy 2 or 3 for lunch each day. So we had to block cookies and chips.

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