This is a pic of Ninjette’s Valentine’s Day lunch – everything was heart-shaped (even the apples) and she thought it was amazing!
This was the first year of packing lunches for Ninjette and I tried a lot of different items and combinations, until she finally settled and continued to ask for the same things in her lunch. It’s made it a bit easier for me since she always wants the same thing, although I do try to change it up every once in a while. Ninjette usually has crackers or bread with cheese, salami, and fruit. She gets snacks at school that include veggies, so I don’t mind that she doesn’t eat them in her lunch. I put in a juice and a tube yogurt. On most occasions, she eats all her food. But there are days where she comes back with leftovers because she was too busy talking and ran out of time (hmmmm, sounds like somebody I know…).
Just yesterday, though, I read this Huffington Post article about tube yogurts and I had a small panic attack. I really want to instill good eating habits because I feel like I grew up with terrible eating habits and eating role models. (My grandparents owned a little restaurant that had the best homemade donuts, burgers, and milkshakes. Yum, but also not so great if you are exposed to it every day!)
Since Ninjette has a peanut allergy, I have been more vigilant about reading labels, but sometimes, when I’m running through the grocery store, I just grab what I can. I totally have not been reading the labels on these tube yogurts! I usually get the Yo Toddler or Yo Kids yogurts, but time to time, Ninjette will want something with Dora on it, so I’ve picked up those too. I recently noticed that Chobani came out with some tubes too and she loves the Greek yogurt, so I’ve bought those, but they seem to be far and few between at our local grocery store.
Our family doesn’t eat completely organic nor do I ban any junk foods, but I do try to make sure we are still eating in a healthful way with variety. I also do my best to make sure we are trying new and different things, especially because I am more of a creature of habit and am reluctant to try new types of food. My husband is definitely more of the adventurous eater than I am. Surprising, right?
When Ninjette was a baby, I made my own baby foods and made sure that there wasn’t too much sugar or salt in anything. As she has gotten older, I have found that we try to limit her salt and sugar intake, but it is a lot more relaxed. Except for when it comes to things that she eats on a daily basis like yogurt. I was surprised when I really looked at the label on the box of tube yogurt because I had not looked at it so carefully before. I just assumed that the Stonyfield brand would be better than the other other ones. I have no idea why I assumed that! It really made me stop to think about my assumptions about the brands that are marketed to parents. I felt a little disappointed.
It made me wonder if food choices were seemingly this difficult for my parents when I was growing up. I wonder if my mom worried about the kinds of food we were eating and exposed to and if she knew that my grandparents always had Coca-Cola, Oreos, instant ramen, chips, and candy bars at their house. Man, I loved going over there! My brother and I took full advantage of this all throughout elementary school as their house was basically our second home.
I also don’t remember what I used to pack for lunch when I was younger. I feel like we had school lunch quite often during elementary school and it was a commonplace thing to have a hot school lunch. High school lunch was a whole different story and it was probably four years of the poorest nutritional lunch choices ever. That’s for another time.
In any case, we’re here at the end of the school year and I’m still pondering lunch. I will definitely be swapping out the tube yogurt and using our refillable squeeze pouches more often for next year. I will also be paying a bit more attention to labels and rethinking my go-to brands.
What are your kids’ favorite things to eat for lunch?