Lunch Lady.

7

Lunch LadyI’d like to think I’m a decent mother. Definitely not perfect, but I love my kids like crazy and hope that this fact alone helps me out someday as they lie on the couch in their shrink’s office.  They may have some dirt to dish, but I’m hoping they sense and know that they were loved.

When I look back on my childhood, I know my mom was a saint. Still is. She was born to be a mother and loves like no other. But she is not a woman without regrets. When you sit her down and ask her about her regrets raising us, one topic comes up without fail.

Lunches.

Yes, I’m talking about school lunches. She was a horrible lunch maker, and to this day she cringes thinking about what she put in our little brown paper sacks.  Granted, she raised us without a lot of financial means and always made sure she served us healthy and natural food. But when it comes to taste and creativity…FAIL.  I remember tossing a lot of my lunch in the trash growing up. There was no spice, no fun factor…just an organic peanut butter sandwich on thick,dry sprouted wheat bread.  I need a glass of milk just thinking about it. I remember looking longingly at the kids with bags of Doritos, or CapriSuns….the lucky ones. You’d think I’d make it my mission to give my kids amazing lunches.

But I have the same problem.

I desperately want to send my kids to school with healthy lunches and very few processed foods, but somehow this sucks any amount of creativity out of my brain. I wander the aisles of Sprouts and try my best to find things that will be both fun and healthy.  But I always feel like I fall short somehow.  Then later when we’re out at the Railroad Park or at the Desert Ridge splash pad, I find my eyes wandering…checking out the other kids lunches. Adorable sandwiches cut into shapes of stars and flowers, fruit skewers, homemade granola bars.

How do you guys do it? I’m really asking, no BEGGING!!!

This Scottsdale mama needs your lunch advice. And keep in mind that my schedule will probably not allow me to make homemade yogurt like our resident SMB Domestic Goddess.

What are your simple, quick, creative lunch secrets? Please share with me how you fill your kids lunch boxes with goodness. ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… Noelle Larson is a mom still searching to find the “balance” between her spiritual journey, family, ambition, inner peace, world peace…all while trying not to blink so she doesn’t miss one minute of her beautiful, messy life.  Noelle writes at metromom.org where she journals her crazy days chasing after her kids and husband, deep thoughts, and captures her latest adventures.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Oh Noelle, I totally laughed when you said ‘domestic goddess’ because I have a VERY hard time with lunches most of the time. But I am getting there… slowly. I think it is totally do-able, and if you just take a couple minutes to ‘prep’ things when you get home from the grocery store you will be able to throw quick-easy-yummy-goodness into those lunches (just wash and cut things up to later toss into their lunches through the week).

    You don’t have to make everything from scratch to provide great things for your kiddos 🙂 Try tossing in some hummus with flatbread (cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters) or veggies, in place of a capri-sun toss in a (also fun looking ) Kefir drink (http://www.lifeway.net/LifewayWorld/KefirForKids.aspx), you can do fruit with a yummy yogurt fruit dip, or fruit leather (in place of a fruit roll up). More often than not it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it looks fun and tastes good. You can replace potato chips with veggie chips (super easy just thinly slice and bake or pan fry in EVOO). Other ways to make it fun for your kids-what my mom did from time to time- is to involve them in what you are making. If you make blueberry muffins with your kids and then toss one into their lunch, not only is it a yummy snack but they got to prepare it with you.

  2. My kids love these “squeezers” things…I buy them at TJ’s and they are flavors like apple/carrot. Not cheap ($2.99/4 I think), but it’s like a shot of the fruit/veggie group that they love because it’s fun to pop the top and squeeze into their mouths. I get the rolled eyes with the organic peanut butter, too. I also bought them each a Thermos and sometimes make mac/cheese in the morning to put in their lunches. It’s just warm, not hot, by lunchtime, but hey, it’s different!

  3. I buy most of our snacks at Trader Joes. Their version of Oreo’s are all natural, they have yummie and cheap veggie sticks (good alternative to potato chips). Also, just discovered their Rice Krispy treats – they’re made with organic brown rice. My daughter loves carrots, they’re her favorite. But if she doesn’t have ranch with them, she won’t eat them at all. Lunch ideas – turkey meatballs, turkey dogs (you can even cut them to look like an octopus), whole wheat pasta w/butter and parm cheese (still tastes good at room temp).

    Gogurt yogurts are great b/c they’re meant to be frozen for lunch boxes. By the time lunch comes around they’re no longer frozen and still cold. Fun to eat.

    Here’s a super fast and easy granola bar recipe. The greatest part is you probably have everything in your pantry and they take only 10-ish minutes. I have made them a few times and just wish they stayed together a little better. Next time I may try baking them for a bit.

    http://www.wholeliving.com/recipe/nonuttin-chocolate-chip-granola-bar

  4. I think most Mom’s fall into this trap, life is busy and we lose sight of what we are actually giving our kids. I just came across this video today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rixyrCNVVGA
    and I have to say it’s got me thinking! At first I thought, geez we are all screwed! But if you listen furthur she talks about how changing our habits is a process. That changing one thing in your families diet is progress. She also puts it in “mommy” terms, just as we don’t potty train a child over night we also don’t change our diets overnight! Her website has some helpful options: http://www.robynobrien.com/subpages/index/8.htm and I am really considering buying her book!

    I love you Sis and though you may not realize, you are a lot like your Momma!

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