Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Thinking outside the lunch box

My son is in Kindergarten, and he is excited. He is excited about all the new classrooms, books, children and fun to be had. But he is more excited about one particular part of Kindergarten, more than anything else: He can bring a lunch from home.

Up until this point, he has eaten the provided lunches at his daycare. Or at least he has eaten part of them - there have been lots of frustrating talks at the dinner table over what he might have been served for lunch that day, since most days he claims not to remember.

But he loves the idea that he now (like Wednesday dinners) has control over what he will be eating for lunch. The problem is that he is at that magical age when he isn't interested in trying a whole lot of new foods. Since my rule is that he can't eat peanut butter and jelly more than twice a week, I've found the quickest solution was to make him partially responsible for what goes into his lunch box.

And because he is now partially responsible, he has become inventive: Grilled cheese sandwiches with macaroni and cheese in the middle, DIY pizza squares and fruity cream cheese rollups are all items that he wants to try. But before I stack all those cute little containers into his super hero lunchbox, I have to remind him of something very important:

Eat until you are full. You don't have to eat everything.

This has not always been my stance. I have been a very much "just a few more bites" Mom up to this point, But a new study from the University of Minnesota Medical School has found evidence that children who have pressure or restrictions on their eating habits often develop eating disorders or obesity later on in life.

Clearly, I do not want that. So, it's time to make sure that any comments around how much he eats or how much food he brings home uneaten at the end of the day is a conversation that takes place only in my head.

I'm up for trying the experiment and seeing how it goes. My goal is to make sure he is getting nutrition while we are both having some fun, regardless of how many bites he takes.

What lunch box tricks do you use to make lunch more appealing? Share them with me in the comments.

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