Friday, July 1, 2011
Since writing this article in 2011, I've gone PLASTIC-FREE around the kitchen - including lunchboxes. You can read more about my new lunchbox strategies here.
Lunchboxes are a tricky business. And I don't know about you, but I never seem to manage to pack Nelle's the night before.
So, imagine it's a typical Monday morning. I haven't yet had my coffee, Robbie's running late for work, I'm trying to get muffins out of the oven for breakfast (because it seemed like a good idea to bake) and I have to pack Nelle's lunch.
I needed something simple. A lunchbox 'recipe', that would be true to my #1 food value - Diversity. But that would also make Nelle's lunch attractive and would keep stuff separate when it needed to be (because sandwiches that are soggy because they've been sitting next to fruit do not encourage kids to eat them).
And this is what I came up with. A $5 scrapbooking storage box and the following set of guidelines :
1. A variety of colours, to appeal to the eye. (and I don't count beige!) Colours like Orange. Yellow, Green. Red. Purple.
2. A variety of textures, to appeal to the mouth. Crispy things. Soft things. Chewy things. Smooth things. Rough things.
3. A variety of food types, for a diversity of nutrients. Proteins. Fruit, dried and fresh. Veggies. Sandwiches. Cheeses. Beans.
4. A variety of flavours, because what she likes changes like the wind. Vinegary salads and briny olives. Sesame-sprinkled sushi. Leftover muffins/waffles/plain pasta/roast veggies. Something sweet.
I try to mix up the colours, and I divide foods into 2 or 3 portions that get distributed around the lunchbox. This kind of buffet appeals to her interest and curiosity, and her tendency to pick at little bits of food.
So, that's what I do. Sometimes she eats it all ... sometimes she finishes up on the drive home from preschool ... sometimes things in the box get rejected straight-out. But overall, this is the best way to deliver food to my 3 1/2 year old that I've found.
Do you have any winner lunchbox tips to share? If so, leave a comment ... we'd all love to hear from you!