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You Gotta Eat Lunch

Every school day it is the same thing.  What am I going to pack for their lunch?  I created the picky eating monsters that I have, so I should just live with it, right?  Well it is very hard to accept what I've created.

Child #1 did not eat any fruit, except for Mott's Healthy Harvest Country Berry applesauce (yes, I know!), until recently.  Now she will eat strawberries and blueberries (whew).  We call them nature's candy.  Child #2 will eat any fruit I give him.

Child #2 will not eat peanut butter, chicken soup, or pasta with marinara sauce (or red sauce as my children call it).  These are all things that Child #1 will eat.  He usually takes a hot dog or jelly sandwich for lunch.  Anything else will come back uneaten.  They will both eat ham slices, but not as a sandwich.

Add into this that Child #1 now has braces, so that complicates things a tad.  She cannot have anything too hard (i.e., carrots) unless they are cut into bite-sized pieces that she can chew in the back of her mouth.  Also anything sticky, chewy, and gummy is off limits.  That took raisins out of the rotation.  So what she is left with are crackers, granola bars, an occasional cookie, and yogurt.  She likes her junk food, so those items are limited as well.

Child #2 is less picky with his snack items, but can be very moody about what he wants that day.  All of a sudden, he does not want clementine or bananas, but wants watermelon.  I stock every kind of fruit just so he has a good selection to choose from.  I could start a produce stand with what my refrigerator and pantry hold.

All this exasperates my husband.  If he had been in charge of preparing their lunches and snacks earlier in their life (his philosophy is if they do not eat what he gives them, then they can go hungry), I probably would not dread the daily chore of providing meals for my children.  They would have learned to be less picky.

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, make the children prepare their own lunches.  Yes, I've thought about that and even get them to help me more frequently than I used to.  But if I left them to pack their own, the meals would be very unbalanced.  By engaging them in the exercise of preparing their snacks and lunches, I am teaching them what a balanced meal is, what healthy choices are available to them, and the portion sizes that are appropriate for the food they choose.

I do not remember my mother engaging me like this, probably because I learned by watching, which she interpreted as disinterest.  But I did learn what a balanced meal was from her, and now am passing it on to my children.


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