Not too long ago I created an Instagram post for Lilydale Canada (it was sponsored – this post is not) and I mentioned that my kids don’t eat sandwiches.
One of my highschool friends seemed floored by the idea that my children do not eat wraps or sandwiches. (Her kids are still babies – she hasn’t yet experienced the fun of packing lunches for kids who have no interest in eating…) I had to backtrack a bit and say that IF they could have peanut butter, sandwiches would be a favourite, but no nuts allowed at school, so that took some getting used to.
Can’t wait to make this lunch today! #lilydaleCA #ad 🌬 It’s a “snow day” and I don’t have dance tonight (though the kids might) but I know I will be starving by lunch time – as usual. 🌸 I try hard to get extra veggies in my lunches to model good eating for my girls. They don’t do wraps or sandwiches, but I’m hopeful they’ll get there some day! #YMCtest
After that conversation, I thought I’d share with you our early struggles with Emma and the idea of making lunches to eat at school.
As a picky eater, Emma was catered to a bit at daycare. Our amazing day care provider would make sure there were foods Emma would eat every day as part of lunches. And she was a miracle worker – she got Emma to nap when she would NEVER nap for me. But that’s a post for another time. (Emma never did nap well for me – we always had to take a drive in the car in order for her to fall asleep.)
Read about our Daycare years here.
Junior Kindergarten was a big adjustment for everyone. Emma went to school Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday. Confusing much? And on the days she wasn’t at school she was still at daycare – Rose was going there every day. So we had to create 2 or 3 lunches a week for Emma to take to school.
In the early days of Emma’s schooling, kids were allowed to take Wow Butter sandwiches. It’s a soy product that (supposedly) tastes similar to peanut butter. Emma ate it once or twice then declared “NO!” And now kids aren’t allowed to take it because it looks too much like peanut butter and some kids with allergies have anxiety about it.
Because Emma is (was?) such a picky eater, we would send snack lunches. You know, goldfish, grapes, maybe cheese, stuff we know she will eat! Well, we used to get notes home that Emma didn’t have any “lunch” to eat. I’m sorry, what? All the food in her lunch pail is “lunch.” Just because she doesn’t have a sandwich (which she wouldn’t eat anyway) doesn’t mean she doesn’t have “lunch.”
After many notes back and forth with the teachers, it was revealed that the Kinders have access to a microwave. That meant I could send leftover noodles or similar and they would heat them up for her. Sadly the kids lose that privilege as they move along in the grades.
There was actually a spell where a teacher would make Emma an english muffin with butter, just so they felt she had something for “lunch.” I’m sorry, but you are teaching my child that the world will cater to her – she needs to learn if she doesn’t eat the lunch that is packed, she goes hungry. While that may not be ideal for supporting her learning during the school day, it is essential to her learning how to make decisions for herself.
We did find a few foods that Emma ended up taking routinely for school lunches (that looked like lunches):
A tortilla with cream cheese, folded and cut into 2 triangles
A bagel, untoasted, with cream cheese
Soup in a thermos (this is a new one for us – and some days it gets eaten, but other days a lot comes home)
cold in a container – chicken breast pieces, ham, other meats
hot in a thermos – meatballs, pasta, casseroles
We still struggle some days to get Emma (and Rose sometimes) to eat healthy lunches at school. We do pay for them to have milk every day, and we send fruits and/or vegetables with them, but it doesn’t mean it gets eaten. Sometimes Emma will take the same 3 carrot sticks back and forth to school for the whole week!
You may also like 5 Tips For Packing Lunches For Picky Eaters
Did you struggle in the early days with school lunches? And what do you send your kids now? I’m always looking for new ideas of things to try! Share with me in the comments, and maybe I’ll find something both the girls love.
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