Your Child’s Lunch Makes Me Feel Inferior

by Sally on August 28, 2014

Bri Lunch Collage

Ever been gripped with insecurity after seeing photos of stunning packed lunches on Pinterest or Facebook?

I have.

I mean, c’mon. Look at these lunches. They are things of beauty!

They were all packed by my friend and fellow blogger Bri from Red, Round, or Green. She often posts photos on Facebook of the lunches she assembles for her kids. My first thought when seeing her photos is usually, I wish Bri packed MY lunch.

No doubt your social media feeds are filled right now with lunchbox photos. Lunchbox recipes. Lunchbox game plans. And you may hear a quiet (or loud) voice telling you that your value as a mother is in direct correlation with how beautiful or well-balanced your child’s lunchbox is–or even worse, that you may as well hang it up because your child eats the school lunch.

This is a plea: Shush those voices.

I’m not going to rail against moms who cut sandwiches into shapes. I’m not going to rant about how we existed just fine on Hostess snack cakes and bologna so why do our kids need organic sorghum and beet greens? I’ve read those posts, and while they’re good for a guilty-pleasure chuckle, they’re not really fair. Who am I to disparage anyone who spends time packing a gorgeous and nutritious lunch?

These parents aren’t creating amazing lunchboxes to make you feel bad about yourself. They enjoy it. Their kids enjoy it. And they have some awfully good ideas–like frozen raspberries, never thought of that! (By the way, Bri also swears that her lunches only look pretty because of the Lunchbots containers she uses, but I think she’s selling herself short.)

When you see these photos and ideas, take them for what they are: ideas. Maybe some of them are realistic for you, maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re things your kids would like, maybe they’re not. Maybe there are foods your children (like mine) will happily eat at home but won’t authorize for their lunchboxes. That’s okay too.

So go ahead. Pack a sandwich and an apple. Or a thermos of leftover spaghetti. Or a themed “Frozen” bento with a rendering of Elsa made entirely out of hard-boiled eggs and chives. Or put money in your kid’s account for a month of school lunches. Whatever works for you and your child. Because wanting a nutritious lunch for your kids is a good thing, but agonizing over some notion of lunchbox perfection is not.


One Of The Best Things You Can Do On A Sunday

by Sally on September 3, 2013

Food Prep from Real Mom Nutrition

If you read my last post, you may be thinking that by “one of the best thing you can do” I mean “go to yoga class” or “ignore the mountains of laundry and snuggle with your kids” (read “A Back-To-School Pledge To Myself“). And yes, do those. And go to religious services. Or watch football. But trust me: Even though this involves adding something to your weekend to-do list, it’s a stress-reliever that keeps on giving, all week long.

I’ve always done extra food prep on the weekends, simply because I have more time (and helping hands). But I was recently inspired to take it up a notch by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean. She has an entire blog series called Sunday Food Prep. Each Sunday, she shares what she’s made for the week and features photos from readers and fellow bloggers of their own prep work.

Lindsay says weekend food prep is the reason she’s able to eat healthy during the week. I second that–and for me, weekend food prep is also one way I stay sane. If I have food made and ready to grab for lunchboxes, after-school snacks, and quick meals, my whole week goes smoother.

Here’s what I managed to do this weekend:

1. A batch of Homemade Peach Fruit Leather. I based it on my recipe for Strawberry Fruit Leather but substituted three cups of fresh, sliced peaches (I kept the skins on, which my Vitamix is able to pulverize). These will be fun treats in the boys’ lunchboxes this week.

2. A double batch of whole wheat chocolate chip flaxseed pancakes for quick kid breakfasts.

3. A tray of sliced fresh peaches, which I froze in a single layer, then put in a gallon-size ziplock bag for my morning green smoothies.

4. A double batch of Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook. Just because. These are amazingly delicious and you should make them immediately. (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa which gave them a deep, rich flavor and a darker color.)

5. A batch of Easy Crockpot Applesauce using a variety of apples I got with my farm share last weekend. My boys like this as a snack or as a side with dinner.

I dare you to read Lindsay’s Food Prep series and not feel inspired. You’ll see everything from prepped raw veggies, cooked beans and lentils, and hard-boiled eggs to grilled meats, quinoa salads, and a week’s worth of pre-packed lunches. Just don’t be intimidated: I figure that some of these gals don’t have babies on their hips or minivan shuttle service duty to play dates, birthday parties, and soccer practices. Weekend food prep is certainly more challenging with kids in the picture. But  even if you can only manage to get your salad greens ready, you’re already one step ahead of where you’d normally be.

Do you do any kind of food prep on the weekends? Tell me about it!


{Recipe} Lunchbox Oatmeal Bars

August 9, 2013

Like most kids, mine love a little sweet treat tucked into their lunchboxes. I  don’t include a dessert every day. But when I do, I love when it can be homemade. Ever since I saw this video for Katie Morford’s new book Best Lunch Box Ever, I’ve been wanting to make these Oatmeal Bars. So […]

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{Giveaway} Best Lunch Box Ever

August 2, 2013

It’s the second day of August, which means there are only 19 days left of summer vacation for my kiddos. Which means only 19 days left until I have to start packing lunches every day. And this year, I’ll be packing two of them. I’m prone to geek out over lunch packing gear, namely adorable […]

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Simple No Bake Cookie Balls

August 24, 2012

When you’re hankering for something sweet–but don’t feel like turning on the oven or spending a bunch of time in the kitchen–I’ve got four words for you: No Bake Cookie Balls. I already love these Peanut Butter Balls. But I recently discovered three delicious-looking cookie ball recipes from Snack Girl. So I made them all, one […]

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New Year, New Gear: My Lunchbox Gameplan

August 13, 2012

Anyone else geek out over lunch packing gear? I caught the bento bug two years ago (read Bento-a-Go-Go). I hope that someday I’ll have the energy to cut cucumbers into flowers and draw faces on tuna sandwiches. But in the meantime, I just like the fun and ease of divided containers. And I finally found […]

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September 21, 2010

After the nightly wrangling of kids into the bath, into their PJs, onto the potty, into bed, back into bed, and under the covers, I typically collapse into a useless heap on the couch. And the last thing I want to do is pack a lunch. I’d welcome anything that made this task less tiresome. […]

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