Lunches have evolved. I remember being given a sandwich, a pack of biscuits and sometimes a piece of fruit. Often a frozen popper and no ice brick no cooler bag. By lunchtime it was lukewarm, the sandwich was floppy, the biscuits crushed and the desire to eat it all was gone. In fact, for my high school years I didn’t eat lunch. I wasn’t ever given canteen money, that just wasn’t a thing. But I rarely ate lunch. Lunches have evolved, and thank goodness for my kids. This is all about the evolution of lunches and why it’s not a “prefect parent” thing.
I don’t want my kids to feel like I did in the afternoons. I don’t want their learning to suffer because they aren’t fuelled up for the afternoon. So they way I pack lunches has evolved. It has changed to reflect what I know about food and what I know about kids. I’m not speaking from my butt either by the way, I used to be a teacher. I know precisely what effect a nutrient deficient lunch has on kids. They are flat, they lack energy and they often lose concentration. They miss valuable learning time because they are not fuelled up. Much like a car running on empty.
If kids have a good breakfast before school, it starts to run low by about lunchtime. That’s when they need a boost, protein, grains, fruit and veg. Things that sustain them and keep them going. This is not about perfect parenting, it’s not about lunchbox shaming, it’s about knowledge. If we know better, we do better. I’m not preaching, I’m not trying to shame anyone, it’s not about that.
We know so much more about the interaction between nutrition and learning than we used to. Our knowledge has evolved and so should our lunches. We know that foods filled with sugar allow a quick energy burst, but then it wears off quickly. We know that fluffy white flour foods don’t really help to sustain our kids. We know that they need to rehydrate with water rather than juice. And we know that the things that are sold to us in the supermarket are often given labels that are misleading at best.
So many parents comment on my lunchbox pictures and videos saying that I’m wasting my time with my kids lunches, cutting the fruit and veg, or making sushi, but you know what? The measure of the value of that time is in how those lunchboxes come home. And they come home empty. Simple things allow the kids to eat it all, cutting the fruit and spreading it across recess, lunch and crunch sip means they don’t get bored of whatever fruit and veg it is. Some kids will never finish an apple whole. But cut up, they will have no problems.
I do what I do in the hope that one kid might get a lunchbox they prefer after having seen my lunchboxes. I do what I do in the hope that one kid will have a better afternoon in class because they have eaten lunch instead of chucking it in the bin. But I also understand what works for me, might not work for you or your child.
If you want to read more about other people’s opinions on this, Amy from Handbagmafia has summarised why people need to stop worrying about what everyone else is packing and just pack lunch how they want.
If you need more lunchbox ideas, check out this post with over 50 lunchbox fillers that kids love!