Lunchtime! (Run!)

It’s lunchtime!

I don’t often take to my blog to ask for help but this is a matter of extreme annoyance and one of the reasons I homeschooled for as long as I did: school lunches!

When we decided to keep the children at home, my first shock was to realize how much they ate and how often. No wonder they stepped off the school bus in a state of complete discombobulation: they never had enough to eat. Not that I sent them off with insufficient provisions: some of their snacks came home untouched. But the convergence of not enough time to eat and the state of some snacks after a few hours at the bottom of the school bag meant that the children ate what could be eaten and left the rest.

I find that packaged snacks are high in cheap carbohydrates — which my children burn through in a matter of minutes — and that fresh snacks don’t keep well. Fruits are nice and everything but they get smooched or go brown. If your children eat bruised and battered fruits, congratulations, your medal is in the mail. Mine don’t. Nuts are verboten, fish puts you on the no-fly list, egg smells, warm dairy is a germ broth…. It’s getting complicated.

On the eve of the children’s return to school, I decided to bite the golden bullet and take the advice of a few friends who recommended the Planetbox lunch kits. If my husband asks, the whole thing was $75. On day two, I’m happy to report that the boxes make packing lunches a breeze and that they return home completely empty. The Rover box is too small to pack an entire day’s worth of food for my children so I send their main meal in a Thermos. This is still early in the game but I think that the boxes help the children see what they can eat (as opposed to that smashed granola at the bottom of the lunch bag) and the stainless steel keeps it in one piece. If anything, the boxes calm my anxieties about my children going hungry at school and that’s worth money to me. That said, I’m still looking for suggestions on what to pack in said boxes.

So what do you do oh wizened parents? What are your greatest hits?