I recently joined a group on Facebook for mom’s of tweens and teens. I had been looking for something like this to join. When I was pregnant with both boys I had joined boards for moms who were pregnant and due in the same month. I had truly enjoyed this opportunity to “talk” with other moms who were going through the same thing as me. I am Facebook friends with some of these moms still today.
On the tween/teen mom board we were in two conversation threads about food. I started the first looking for breakfast suggestions for Blake. The other was started by another mom talking about what to make your kids for lunch.
In our home both breakfast and lunch are make you own meals. The boys have been making their own breakfasts since they were about 4. Now, don’t get me wrong when they were little I helped pour milk in cereal or put toast in and out of the toaster, but they had to “make” what they wanted to eat for breakfast. Blake has NEVER been a good breakfast eater. Now that he is a tween he is even worse about the whole thing. He doesn’t like cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies or pretty much anything the rest of us eat for breakfast. I don’t care if he would eat “non breakfast” food for breakfast, but he has limited his diet to the extreme lately. So he has been on a kick of eating breakfast hot pockets, eggo pancakes or little bites muffins. Yes, I know that not a single one of these items is a great breakfast, but it is better than nothing! I find it funny that when we have leftover eggs, pancakes or I make from scratch muffins he doesn’t want them. I swear the child craves processed foods.
The boys have been making their own lunch since Blake was in first grade and Colby in kindergarten. This started when I went back to work. At that time, they had an all in one lunchbox that had 3 spaces. They were trained to put in a protein in the large section, fruit/veggie and a junk in the smaller section. Even though they do not have these lunchboxes anymore they still pack their meals this way. Blake typically brings deli meat, quesadilla, left overs (especially pizza), or a deli wrap. Colby brings deli roll ups, cottage cheese, pasta, yogurt, cereal, left overs, or peanut butter.
The boys make their lunches after dinner and then put the pieces into the fridge. I pack their lunchboxes in the morning. This gives me the opportunity to make sure they have enough to eat and a healthy enough lunch.
Some tricks I’ve learned over the years:
- make sure your child can open and close any containers you use for lunch
- send in utensils and napkins, they won’t remember to get them before they sit down
- slice apples the night before and put into lemon lime soda… prevents browning and doesn’t effect the flavor
- snack bags are worth the price because it helps with portion control
- provide suggestions of alternate meal choices, but don’t force it. if they want it they will eat it
- teach them to eat their protein and produce before the junk.
- have them bring home the leftovers to throw away… then you know what they really ate
- allow them to buy milk at school, it’s better than juice
- put the ice pack in a plastic bag, contains condensation!
Do you make breakfast and lunch for your kids? What are your tricks for making it interesting? Any thoughts on great lunch or breakfast items that are healthy for picky eaters?