09 February 2009

Sack Lunches

Almost every day I pack a sack lunch for Tiffany to take to school. That way I know she is eating healthy, and we're saving some money besides. I try to include a variety- fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes, and she usually likes what I send. The problem, I think is presentation. There have been several times she has told me that other kids stare at her meal, poke fun at it, or even tell her it looks disgusting. I usually tell her not to worry about what they say, at least she knows she's eating healthy. I'm concerned though that she does worry about it (she is only 8 after all and she wouldn't say anything if it didn't bother her). So, how do I go about making her meal prettier and more appealing looking?

Today I sent a macaroni salad for her (whole wheat macaroni boiled with frozen vegetables with ranch salad dressing to add later). now I'm thinking I could have made it a whole lot prettier by putting the macaroni on a lettuce leaf, with the cooked veggies on that, then the dressing on the side. I also sent a cut up pear, left over chili and 2 pieces of toast to eat with the chili. I have no idea how to make pears or chili look good. Ideas anybody? I'm also thinking I should have dedicated shallow bowls with lids for her lunchbox. Right now I just send her meal in small kitchen storage containers (4oz or 8oz). Maybe that's contributing to the problem as well. I wish growing up wasn't such an involved complicated affair.


Anonymous said...

I've heard of some parents making faces out of food to get the child to eat it better. Only in this case, I don't think it would stay that way in a school lunch since it will have to be toted around. Maybe you could draw a picture on a piece of wax paper and that way when Tiffany gets to school she can arrange her own lunch in the attractive manner that you would like it to be presented in on the wax paper. I could be like solving a puzzle and she would have to decide what goes where. For example, you could cut the pear in half and make that the eyes (be sure to add a couple of olives for the middle of the eyes). Then a big glob of chili for the nose and then arrange some carrots for a mouth. This way she could have a little fun with her food and eat it when she gets done. Then she could just throw away the wax paper after lunch. Let me know what you think. Maybe it wouldn't be such a good idea for an 8 year old but I thought it sounded kind of fun anyway. She could have a new face every day and the other kids would always be wondering what she'll bring next.

Patti Jo said...

I'm not so sure that the presentation is so much of a problem in that it is "different" from what the other kids have, which isn't as nutritious. It doesn't sound like she is complaining about the lunch per se but about being made fun of. I guess what we have to do is try to help our kids develop a good self identity and self esteem so things like this won't matter as much. So that they'll know that they shouldn't do things or have things just to go along with a crowd and will feel better about doing what they know is right and being the way they want to be. I just wish I knew how to develop that better in my children.

Amber said...

Does she take it in a "cool" lunch box? Or just a sack? And maybe you could find some more colorful cups/containers. And I agree with the comment about cutting the food into cute shapes. Or maybe make melon balls or stuff like that. Family Fun and Parenting or Parent magazines have great healthy recipes on their website that are in the shape on animals, etc. Maybe that would help. I do remember growing up that my best friend always brought a sack lunch when everyone else took hot lunch. When I asked her why, she said she did it so her mom could save money to buy her some neat new school clothes. Maybe if your daughter explains it that way they might understand better.