Our guest blogger today is my amazing big sister, Whitney. She brings a new perspective to the blog–the challenge of getting a 6-year-old to eat healthy foods daily. 😉 Enjoy!
“Occasionally my sister Catherine (DoDo to my children) posts about her lunch choices as a self-proclaimed “sandwich hater.” I can relate to these messages because, (although I enjoy anything that someone wants to put between two slices of perfect carb laden bread), my 6 year old absolutely refuses to eat a sandwich. (Editor’s note: ‘atta girl!)
Kendall is in the First grade in a year round school. I remember sitting in the parent orientation meeting before she started Kindergarten and listening to the Food Service Manager (head cafeteria lady) describe a typical school lunch. I was horrified. HORRIFIED. A 5 year old cannot be expected to lay the foundations for their entire academic career when we are feeding them hot dogs as a protein and tater tots as a vegetable. I knew then that I would be packing her lunch every.single.day.
So now comes the dilemma of this post. I need lunches that are: nutritious, portable, able to stay fresh until 12:30, likely to be eaten by a 6 year old, and void of all sandwich related paraphernalia.
A typical lunch for Kendall looks like this:
1 organic cheese stick, 1 homemade “Gogurt”, seasonal fruit, seasonal vegetable, and some sort of carbohydrate. This could be crackers, granola bar, veggie straws, etc. (I know, I know. The protein police have something to say about this. Cheese and yogurt both have protein and she’ll eat some chicken at dinner.) She also gets a treat, but there’s a rule. If anything in her lunchbox comes home (i.e. carrots) then her treat also has to come home. She can’t eat a cookie first and not have time/room for cucumber slices.
The best investment we made in the lunch project was some good Ziploc reusable containers. They have three compartments that separate her food so nothing runs together and they fit perfectly inside her lunch box. I also found these awesome silicone Popsicle molds that work great as yogurt containers. I just mix plain Greek yogurt with fruit, honey, or granola.
The next best investment we make is letting Kendall help pack her lunch most days. She gets to choose a fruit and a vegetable, she gets to help put it all in the box. She is now invested and empowered in her own meal and is more likely to eat it as a result.
We are fortunate in the fact that Kendall’s best friend at school also comes from a “real food” family. Together they stage a daily lunch room sit-in on school lunches, Cheetos, and most importantly: sandwiches.”
How could you make that sweet face eat a sandwich? Also, she comes by her love of ice cream naturally 😀
My daughter only loved a hard salami sandwich, white bread, sliced apple and Cheez-Itz. After the third year in a row of her having this lunch every.single.day I took her to Whole Foods. I asked the woman if my daughter could taste some other lunch meat – they were very helpful! Upon every taste of smoked turkey, rosemary ham, roast beef, Hannah declared each delicious! Until it was time to ask which one she wanted and she said “I’ll have hard salami.”
I am not joking that I think Hannah had that lunch every day from first through eighth grade! You’ll be happy to know that now 21, she loves a lot of diverse foods and has become quite the cook!
Love it! I’m not at that stage yet (no kiddos), but these are certainly awesome ideas when the time comes! I definitely want them to feel empowered to make their own healthy choices, but also guide them to healthy choices! Great post!
How adorable that you do this for your daughter! I will absolutely be doing the same if I ever have children. I can remember my mom doing the same thing for me (though, I didn’t hate sammies!) and I am so grateful that I was raised with health in mind all the time. High school got a little fuzzy due to home life + my hormones + chicken tenders and fries love but mostly, home packed lunches kept me on track and set me up just right. Kendall is so precious!
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