The Lunchbox

My kids don't like cafeteria lunch. It all started with what I can only assume is an urban legend. When my son was a 3rd or 4th grader he came home from school with a story that was absolutely true! Someone heard that someone saw that someone bought pizza for lunch and the lunchroom staff had forgotten to remove the plastic wrap before heating the pizza. The pizza was covered in melted plastic! And now neither of my kids will eat school cafeteria food. 

With all of the nation-wide concern about the nutritional quality of school cafeteria food I am not too worked up about the fact that my kids won't eat it. However, occasionally I wanted to simplify my day by just having the kids buy a lunch but they were totally against it. My first work around was buying Lunchables, those prepacked cracker and cheese monstrosities that no child should ever eat. We kept a few on hand for days when I didn't get a sack lunch packed. Not surprisingly, the kids turned on those pretty quickly. I mean, they are gross! So the next obvious step was for them to pack their own lunches. This was not a popular idea with the under 18 crowd in our household. There were actual tears, which makes them really sound like terrible little humans, and I promise you, they aren't! 

Time heals all wounds, and now that they are 15 and 11 they make their own lunch daily with narry a peep. And this is the reason behind my last class: Lunch Box. How can you make your children enthusiastic about packing their own lunch? It turns out I made my daughter much happier about the whole ordeal with cookie cutters. She wants all of her food in a fun shape. And I let the kids make Jell-o. 

I know we recently discussed kids' love of cracking eggs and pasta making, but let me tell you- it was utter joy and squeals of delight when I announced we would be making Jell-o.

Having been raised in a very Jell-o centric household, I have eaten 1 million Jell-o variations. While I must admit to not caring that much for Jell-o (mostly because I am now an adult, I assume), if I am going to eat Jell-o I want it to be filled with berries or mandarin oranges. So we took tiny containers, filled them with fruit, poured Jell-o on top and put them to set in the fridge. 

Since I knew the Jell-o wouldn't set during class time I had Jell-o activity #2 all ready to go: Jell-o Jigglers. Have you tried them before? Let's just say the texture isn't for every taste. But guess what? Kids  ❤ 💕 💘 💖 💜 them!

And since you don't want your kids' lunches to be solely Jell-o, we made veggie dip and cut our veggies with the cutest little shape cutters.

And finally, the kids made a sandwich or cheese and cracker stackers for the lunch. We cut out the sandwiches with cute sandwich cutters that make my daughter 67% happier about making her own lunch.