When my son was small, I couldn't wait to start packing his lunch. Ideas of beautiful Bento boxes, creatively themed sandwiches, and new and nutritious selections daily filled my disillusioned head. How much fun this would be!
Then, after a couple of weeks, I learned the harsh reality of just what a treacherous chore I was stuck with for the next 13 years. I now dread making lunches with every fiber of my being. Every night after the dinner dishes are cleaned up, and I'm ready to finally let out a sigh that the day's chores have at least been done, I see the empty lunch boxes sitting there waiting to be filled with new and interesting choices ... and I want to throw them.
Instead, I've found a better solution -- I get my kids to make their own lunches. Here are seven tips and tricks that may help you do the same.
1. Have them come up with menu ideas. Ask them to write down things they see in other kids' lunchboxes they'd like to have, let them peruse some recipe books or cooking sites, and get their input as to what they want to eat.
2. Let them shop with you. Sure it's easier to maneuver the aisles when you're alone, but letting them select the ingredients will make them more excited about making and eating them.
3. Get cute containers. Find plastic and stainless steel (my favorite) containers in all sizes for the kids to fill. Little things like a pink lid or their favorite character on one can make the packing all the more fun.
4. Let them get creative. Give them cookie cutters to cut their sandwiches into shapes, or encourage them to build the most colorful salad pattern. Making it into a competition between siblings to see who can come up with the most creative ideas can also produce some great options.
5. Give them guidelines. A lunchbox full of gummy worms won't work, so make sure you let them know what the make-up should be -- one fruit, one whole grain, one vegetables, etc., but then give them as much leeway as possible in meeting those requirements.
6. Tell them if they don't pack their lunch, they'll go hungry. I'm kidding, sort of. But if you make it an expectation rather than something you would "like" them to do, chances are they'll do it.
7. Help them. Honestly, doing it together makes it more fun for everyone, and it's a great way to spend time together every day.
Do your children make their own lunches? Any tips to add to the list to encourage them to do so?
Image via eclectic_chica/Flickr