Bank on leftovers for lunch box success
Lunch box success means that the box returns home empty and you are certain that your child gobbled down the contents without hesitation.
Think of the lunch box as “a touch of home.” In this sense, it represents comfort. Comfort is effortless, not imposed. The cute scenery made with rice and vegetables your child would not normally eat may provide an element of surprise once in a while, and for some children this is all it takes. For others, however, a yucky piece of broccoli is still a yucky piece of broccoli even if disguised as a tree. Some children can be fooled part of the time, but all children cannot be fooled all of the time. Those kids are so clever!
In other words, save the “try something new” for home, with everyone around the table sharing the same “new” food. Here is a little trick for single parents: When introducing a new food or dish, invite an adult friend and their child over, so that it is a shared experience. There is a lot of persuasive power in numbers, especially when surrounded by trusted and familiar faces at the table.
For many, School started today. This is the last installment in this mini series on the lunch box. To mark this beginning, let’s explore the simplest, most successful lunch box fare: leftovers.
Leftovers provide a great clue for identifying foods you can be certain your kids will eat. Think of how many times they dig into the chicken and noodle dish you placed in the fridge the previous night after dinner. Or is it the mini pizzas you make at home for movie night that are eaten for snacks the next day, before you can ever get your own hands on one after work? List these leftovers that are loved and turn them into a lunch menu.
Leftovers do not have to be “accidental.” Next time you make those favorite meals, make extra. Extra for leftovers and extra for the freezer. Not only can these become hearty lunch box fillers, but they may also save you some time once in a while when there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done, including a good dinner.
Last but not least, pack the lunch box the night before. If it is packed with a balanced selection of foods your child loves, the mere act of looking forward to digging into it the next day can increase their appetite for the contents of that box or bag they drag to school all week. Ho! And if your child likes to cook, encourage leftovers from their own concoctions.
Here is a fun variation on the theme that is sure to end with empty lunch boxes and satisfied stomachs. This might be especially appealing to very young children. If your child enjoys a particular meal they have had at a friend’s house, and vice versa, arrange with the other parent, once in a while, for a leftover swap. This also gives the child a choice. At lunchtime, he can swap with his friend or choose to eat his own lunch after all. It also provides a good opportunity to teach how to share and how to develop a healthy give and take relationship.
Finally, here are three favorite lunch box treats from the Squeezo cookbook: