The tragedy of the uneaten lunch box.

How often have mothers the world over sighed loudly at the sight of uneaten lunch boxes that kids bring back from school? I know I have, in the early days. Until I hit upon the idea of making ‘faux gourmet’ foods for kids’ lunch boxes. It has been good since, with compliments given generously by the kids and friends of said kids. It is actually not a challenge; it only needs ample preparation. For instance I will know on any given Sunday night, what food will go into the lunch box for all days of the coming week. This is just to say I have most if not all the ingredients I may need for the big box project for the week. The trick: make it look good, as per the kids’ taste and a little bit exotic.

Discerning kids

Reality is not all lunches are totally healthy neither are they full of junk food. Gone are the days kids would be okay to take a bunch of French fires in their lunch boxes. The enlightened kid of today may balk at a steady diet of junk food in their lunches. May even be considered uncool. That elusive balance, once achieved, will be your best friend in your battle with uneaten lunch boxes.

Not going to win awards

Pleading guilty to some crimes – days where I have just put some money and bottled water in lieu of the kids’ lunches; or slapping some jam, peanut butter or chocolate spread on two slices of bread and calling it lunch. But mostly I make well loved, greatly appreciated boxes guaranteed to be empty by the time they come back home in the evening. The window is small – 45 minutes tops, so preparation if any, needs to be done the previous day or so. Planning and alarm clocks are sufficient weapons here.

Tips to conquer

To this end make the fridge and freezer your best friend. Make ahead, half cook or prepare and place into seal-able containers all that you can. Thaw overnight in the fridge and you have half a meal prepared when you wake up at ungodly hours like 5:00 a.m.! Always but always keep fresh bread at home. You cannot imagine all the possible uses of bread, when in a fix. Keep a variety of spreads and sauces and learn the art of sauce mixing – combining sauces often yield a new at taste that kids may enjoy. 

You are welcome.

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