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Packing Lunch

Our sweet girl is very invested in her lunch these days.

She stands on the step stool we have for her in the kitchen and points to foods she’d like to eat. “Pears, Mama! Could I have a red pear, please?” Like every child, she likes to open the refrigerator and hang on the door, looking to see what’s inside. “Mama, could we have cheese? What about a cheese sandwich?”

I love that she’s so involved in packing her lunch. For awhile, in the name of efficiency, we packed her lunch the night before school so we could simply grab it out of the refrigerator before leaving the house. (Four-year-olds are so very good at dawdling on their way to the front door.)   That didn’t last. Partly, it was because we’re never that efficient for long. However, we also realized, on the mornings we had to pack a lunch in a hurry, that Lucy really loves having a say in her foods. (Four-year-olds are so very interested in choices.)

This is the lunch she chose this morning.

Our kid loves avocados more than anyone I know, except for me. If we could afford to give her an entire avocado every day, we would. But the days when avocados appear make her clap her hands. We found some organic hothouse-grown tomatoes we needed for recipe testing. Lu wanted some with salt. She’s developed a taste for almonds lately, especially when they’re roasted. There’s that red pear. And that’s a whole-grain gluten-free pita bread I had made the night before, with cheddar cheese.

We don’t have junk food in the house. It’s not that we don’t like the occasional corn chip or chocolate bar. But we’ve learned this: if we have crispy salty things or sweet little boxes of stuff in the kitchen, Lucy will reach for them when we’re packing her lunch. If we keep it all to good food, she gets excited about avocados.

Her lunches also improved after we found Planet Box lunch boxes. Lu loves this stainless-steel lunch tray with a lid. (She also loves that it came with a pink carrying bag and magnets of beach scenes to put on the metal box.) We tried a variety of solutions for lunches for her before: glass containers with lids, plastic rectangular containers with lids, a Scooby-Doo lunch box. But this is the one that has stuck.

And this lunch box has helped us learn the right portion size for our daughter. My husband is a chef, and thus he likes to give people a lot of food. Often, he’d give Lu a big portion and be disappointed when she didn’t eat it all. “She didn’t like my food?” Now, this lunchbox is helping us all see how much or little she likes to eat.

There will be another lunch to pack tomorrow. I’m actually looking forward to it now.

 

How do you handle school lunches? What do you like to pack? Are your kids involved in the process? What are some sure-fire favorites?

(PlanetBox did send us this lunchbox, in hopes that we might like it. However, we have not been paid for this endorsement, nor did they ask us to write it.)

You can find more of Shauna and Danny’s recipes, essays, photographs and words of comfort about living gluten-free at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Shauna shares food ideas and answers questions on Twitter. She also pins photographs and recipes on Pinterest and Foodily. There’s a great community at the Facebook fan page for Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

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