Monday, October 17, 2011

iridescent socks with the same color shirt and a tight pair of chinos

At the beginning of this school year I sat myself down and did some thinking. I thought back to school years past, specifically the lunch-making portion of school years past, with mornings full of complaints about the same lunch over and over again. Homemade peanut butter and homemade jam on homemade wheat bread, with a piece of fruit. The end. And I decided that I could not take another year of that. So I made some changes.

I buy sandwich bread now. I was making five loaves of bread a week, and I always felt really stingy and rationed them, because I didn't want to have another day in the week that I had to bake bread. I still make bread for eating at home, but for sandwiches I started buying Dave's Killer Bread and Harper's Homemade right as I found out that good ingredient lists were no longer adequate, but that the bread had to be made with soaked grains. Oh well, I guess we'll all die.

I buy lunch meat. Emmett and Ike still like peanut butter and jelly, but Grant likes meat, and I'm not equal yet to the task of cooking my own meat for five days of sandwiches.

I buy sliced cheese. Yes, it's more expensive. Maybe a lot more, but I don't know for sure because I don't care.

I buy juice packets. I usually don't approve of juice, but if it keeps my kids from gazing forlornly at their classmates drinking pink milk, it's a fair trade.

I send treats. Sometimes it's a cookie, sometimes it's candy. Right now we have a huge bag of mini candy bars--the little square ones--and I send one in their lunch box every day. Yeah, kids eat too much candy. But again--if it helps my kids feel less put-upon, I'm okay with it.

I bought some good sealing containers to send sliced fruits or vegetables in.

I bought lunch boxes--Grant and Ike both got metal, Emmett got a soft zippy one with a hard plastic insert. Insulated bags are a giant headache. I was sick and tired of their lunches getting smashed, and the seams filling up with rotten fruit.

The whole purpose of making lunches is to help my kids learn to love and want healthy food, but you have to be really careful. If you are too austere your children will probably just rebel and eat candy bars and pop for lunch as soon as they get to junior high. I'm sure you all know the family in your town with the really strict, earthy parents who won't let their kids watch TV or eat junk food, and what do their kids do whenever they go to someone else's house? Watch TV and eat crap. Forbidden fruit is so sweet.

I had to compromise, both for my own sanity and my children's long-term ability to govern themselves. The lunches are not as healthy as I would like, but they beat the heck out of school lunch, and the kids don't complain anymore. They'll probably still eat candy and pop and plastic from McDonald's when they are teenagers, but I'm hoping the siren song won't be quite so powerful.


tipsybaker said...

I love this post and completely relate.

Tori said...

I can't believe you were baking that much bread! I would be the same way - it's kind of like how I don't ever eat anything out of the freezer because it is there for emergencies. So instead of using one of the two pounds of ground turkey in there, I went out and bought fresh. Oh, and I also cooked a turkey breast today for sandwiches - so I guess I get the Martha Stewart award for the day.

Layne said...

Tori, you are an insufferable show-off! Where will you get your nitrates and listeria pathogens?

Tori said...

Maybe I can get the deli guy to wipe my store bought bread on the slicer machine.