Hey everyone! Glad to see you all once again. As usual, I have been absconding from the scene for quite some time now. And I know, you all must be so tired of forgiving me. However, I would still like to say I am sorry and try to be as regular as I possibly can. That said, let us get to our topic today, which would tell you how I ended a long-standing battle with my kids about their lunch boxes!
I am sure, if you are reading this, you have endured the pain of seeing your kid’s lunch box coming back home- full and untouched. Dearies, I guess this happens to all of us at some or the other point in life. Trust me, I was there too. It was just sssooo annoying to see that box being brought back to home exactly in the same condition as I sent it to school. More than annoyance was the pain of thinking that my kid was almost on no food the whole day, in spite of her box being full! It kept happening for quite some time, until i felt, that was that, and I decided to do something about it.
I sat my kid down one day and asked her, “Why is it that you don’t finish your lunch box? It’s been so many days that you haven’t even touched the food in your box and you seem to be eating fine at home? Is there a problem?” And her reply was so dramatic! She said, “Mom, I was expecting that you would give me this(some other thing than that was given) in box. I opened the box and when I didn’t see that, I was so disappointed!”
There you go. So, it turned out that I was making a big mistake by not asking my child what she would like in her lunch box and giving her food just because I thought she would like it or she should eat it, what with healthy stuff and all! That night, I sat down with both my kids and asked them what all their favorite foods were. Of course, they didn’t remember all the dishes by their names. However, they could relate to most of them when I described the dishes. They could identify some, like banana balls, pancakes etc.
After our list was done, I sorted it into two categories- snacks and lunch. My girls take two boxes to school- a snack box and a lunch box. I divided the dishes accordingly and then made a meal prep chart according to the dishes. I paired some snacks and lunch recipes and noted them on a piece of paper. I stuck this paper on the fridge. Now here comes the tricky part. It’s obvious that my daughters wouldn’t both want the exact same thing. Naturally, there was a war deciding whose choice it would be. It was becoming difficult to get them to make a settlement. So, I decided, for one whole week one of my girls would have her choice for breakfast and the other one would have it for lunch. The next week, we would just rotate it around. That way, they both get to carry their choices to school.
I have this magnetic board, which I attach to the fridge. It helps me a lot in this task. Every night, I or my elder one write down the meal plan for the next day according to their choices. I add in the dinner menu along with that, make the meal prep accordingly and am good to go for the next day!
Many of you must be thinking that I can make the meal prep and planning for the whole week. Then why take the trouble to do it each day separately? Well, that’s because my girls are very small. And though they may seem okay with the meal plan for the whole week while we are writing it, they may not actually want to eat a particular dish three days later as per the plan and the whole point of doing this exercise would be a waste. It’s better that I ask them each night what they would like to have the next day and plan accordingly.
I know, the options that they have chosen may not be entirely healthy ones always, but I have made sure that they are at least partly healthy. Also, I would rather have them eat something that they like than have them stay hungry throughout the day and get cranky by the time they get back. I have ample chances to feed them the healthy stuff at dinner, on weekends and each morning before they leave for school.
So far, this thing is working like a charm. In fact, they are pretty excited to write their choices on the board each night and I am saved the trouble of thinking each morning what to cook for them! Not to mention, the box comes home empty almost everyday!
Oh, and one more thing. In case their choice is a complete junk, I make sure to add some healthy stuff like cut fruits or salad veggies, to balance it out.
I hope this helps you to get some ideas as to how you can plan your kids’ meal times, especially for school days and you are treated to an empty lunch box when your kids come back home!
I will see you soon with yet another interesting topic. Until then, take care, bbye. Here’s Dr. Apoorva, signing out for today!