Thursday, 30 January 2014


School lunches.

The bane of most mums (and some dads) daily routines.

Just before the end of every school term, friends start talking about how they will not miss the rush in the mornings, of nagging 'eat your breakfast' or 'pack your bag' and the biggest of all - thinking what healthy, enticing lunch to pack.

A few weeks later, it's reversed, parents start to chat about 'early mornings' and 'hope homework is better this term' or 'what after school activities are your kids doing' and the big one 'what lunch ideas do you have, I'm so bored with what I'm giving the kids'

Now, to be fair, I haven't had to make MissM's lunch for most of her school career, so far.

At Montessori, she had meals and snack provided, and most days she hardly ate anything cos it was all healthy home made stuff on the premises, full of vegetables and meat. I still have some of the daily sheets the pre-schools complete so I know how little she ate at lunch time. She ate at morning and afternoon tea break time!

For the three years in Japan, MissM loved having Kapa maki (cucumber nori), edamame (soy beans), a vegimite sandwich, nori sheets, fruit for lunch, as well as the occasional chicken in honey'n'soy with rice in a food thermos, or spag bol. For some reason, home made lunches were easy to prepare, healthy and there was seldom a problem other than maybe being repetitive (but MissM never complained)

UK, we experienced Dinner Ladies. They heated up lunches prepared by the Chefs at Winchester College, and cut up fruit and biscuits for morning snack. If the kids didn't want the hot lunch (which MissM seldom did) there was a salad, cold meat, cheese and a bread roll. I think MissM lived on ham'n'cheese on a roll for the best part of her time at school there. They stopped her eating tomatoes cos she only sucked the juice out, leaving the skin behind. They said that was wasteful (which I guess it is, but she was eating tomatoes so I didn't care). She did learn to like their curry and apparently their spaghetti cabonarra was better than mine.

We're back to home made lunches again and like most of us, try to make it healthy and interesting on a daily basis.

MissM has the fanciest of lunch boxes, in various sizes and compartment combinations. They are color co ordinated, with a small knife'n'fork set, and a chopstick set. They get carried in a cute pink with white polka dots lunch bag; there's even flat ice packs to keep things cool.

Like most of us, I know WHAT constitutes a healthy lunch but getting MissM to EAT IT is another story altogether.

Here's a few links to the latest blogs, links and websites to healthy school lunches.

We're Not to Over Carb the kids lunch boxes says Susie Burrell, and we all agree.

Natural New Age Mum blogger gives us no less than 30 Ideas for the kids lunch boxes which means we can repeat and mix up the combo's all term and never repeat one!

The Organised Housewife has tips for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, some are very cool for organisational freaks like me, while some are 'Really? People don't know that?' (She's clearly doing something brilliantly cos she's an amazing following.) Her lunch box ideas are worth a peek.

I LOVE this recipe from The Organized Housewife. Will be making them for next week's lunches.

I'm sure there's many more helpful blogs and books out there.

MissM's current school bans nuts, oats, breakfast cereal bars, chocolate, sweet biscuits, crisps, popcorn, and a few other things from school lunches in the junior school. There's a canteen/cafeteria which provides a hot lunch daily for Euro5, but MissM's not keen.

I'm quite satisfied that we'd pass the Healthy Lunch Box Inspectors with flying colours; not too sure about the Variety Inspectors, even tho MissM has input each morning into that inane question "what would you like for lunch today honey?"

My issue is not with WHAT to put into MissM's lunchbox every single day, but how to get her to EAT it! In Japan, I offered to come sit with her at lunchtime to help her, you can imagine how well that we received.

MissM is so honest! She brings home every uneaten piece of food she's given in the morning. Mandarins will come home in their unbroken skin; rockmelon (cantaloupe) slices will be sticky by the time they come out of the bag in the afternoon; cheese sticks are slimy ....... half eaten bread rolls or wraps are well, half eaten. It all goes in the bin; we talk about wasting food and money ...... she says sorry, but I just wasn't hungry or I ran out of time.

She loved her Kapa Maki left overs on Monday!

Putting this all into perspective for a minute, she seldom comes home ravenous (even when her lunch boxes are still full), and snacks on cream cheese'n'crackers. If lunch isn't eaten there's no crisps for afternoon tea. She has a sweet tooth like G, but we manage it.

She pretty much always has a good dinner, til I see what her friends eat when they come over and even they can't believe her lack of vegie intake. She sits there like a wise old lady and says 'my dad doesn't eat them either and he's fine'

Any tips (beyond the obvious) on how to actually get the fresh, home made, healthy, beautifully presented lunch box meals into her mouth while at school would be most helpful.

With friendship

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