Wait. What? Pack a Lunch? Really?

| June 28, 2013 | 2 Comments


photo (2)


So, Little Man is starting a new daycare – again (read about the transition here).  In reading the reams of information provided to parents from this new place, I learned that he’s now required to bring his own lunch.

From the time he was about 2, his weekday food needs were covered. The last time I had to pack food for daycare was when I first went back to work and was still pumping and introducing solids – a Baby Cube of cereal, some mashed fruit, some pureed meat I’d pre-cubed and frozen and a couple of bags of breastmilk – easy, peasy. Then, at the new places he went, lunch and snacks were provided. Even easier.

Now, all of a sudden, I was being thrust back into the lunch lady role again – but this time, with a picky Little Man, instead of a “eat anything because solids are AWESOME” Little Man.

This news caused me joy, panic, resentment and excitement – all in the same, glorious moment – let me explain:

1)      Joy – “Alright! Now I get to ensure that he’s getting everything he needs!”

2)      Panic – “Oh no, how am I going to ensure he gets everything he needs?”

3)      Resentment – “The daycare should be providing him with everything he needs!”

4)      Excitement – “Oh, boy! I’m going to find new and creative way to get him everything he needs”

So, now what? Brown bag, lunch box, bento box, thermos…the possibilities are endless!

Here’s what I decided.  Little Man loves his “buffet style” meals, where he can graze from item to item.  I went out and bought a series of interlocking food storage containers, specially designed for lunches.  I placed them in his new lunch box (an insulated one that comes with his new backpack – the information indicated that he needed something bigger than what he’d had) and left it by the door.

Little Man got home from his current daycare and immediately ran over to his new back pack – super excited, as it has one of his favourite series of characters on it (Angry Birds – inspired by his occasional competitive Angry Birds competitions he has with his dad). He immediately opened the backpack and I explained that he would be bringing lunch from home to daycare in it and that every day, we’d have something fun in each container.  He even had some suggestions that weren’t all about cookies – he suggested hummus, carrots, crackers, cucumbers and more.

I decided it would be fun to practice.

We got home from current daycare the other night and I pulled out his backpack and got his lunch out.  I then asked him if he wanted to pretend it was lunchtime at his school.  His eyes grew big and excited.  I explained that I would make his supper and put it into his food containers and put them all into his lunchbox and we could practice.  He was stoked.

I made dinner – apple slices wrapped in turkey breast, carrots and cucumber slices, hummus and 3 little cookies. Once it was ready, I put everything into the backpack and placed it by the front door.  I called out to Little Man that it was time for “supper lunch” and he bounded into the room, where I put his backpack on and we walked out to the deck and pretended it was lunchtime at school.

Then, we unpacked our lunch, figured out that opening stiff, brand new food storage containers may require some teacher assistance, and enjoyed a little feast. I explained again that every day at school and daycare, he would be required to bring his lunch, unpack it, eat it, and put it away, just like we practiced at home.  He seems to be getting it.

We’ll have a few more practice runs in the coming days.

So, now, sitting on my couch, I’m thinking of all the fun things I can do with his lunch and just how much of it I’ll be able to prepare in advance.  .  I think there’s something about food storage containers that lend themselves away from throwing pre-packaged foods inside.  There’s something about those adorable little containers that make you want to do it yourself for your little ones.  The ideas are flowing:

  • Cold rotisserie chicken in strips to dip in ranch dressing
  • Fun little wraps
  • Cold homemade pizza squares
  • Mini muffins
  • Mini fruit salads
  • Cold noodle salads
  • Taquitos

So, of all the emotions listed above, I think I’m excited the most.

What foods do you put in your kids’ lunches?  Inspire me, please!


Mommy Hen


*photo credit – ME!

Tags: , ,

Category: Family, Food

About the Author ()

Mommy Hen (Lisa) is a mommy to 4-year old “Little Man” and has been married to “Big Man” for 8 years. She also serves as Manager of Communications for Chicken Farmers of Canada, as well as being a Certified Crisis Management Consultant. She is deeply rooted in both professional and community theatre, as well, working as a theatre and music director for various theatre companies across Ottawa and having recently served as Chair of the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Mommy Hen is passionate about giving her family healthy, nutritious meals – quite a feat with a fussy son and a husband whose tastes have historically been pretty narrow. She’s also passionate about being an involved mom – meaning a constant struggle not to helicopter, but to be available, accessible and supportive of the village of teachers, daycare providers and other professionals that help her son be the best Little Man he can be.

Comments (2)

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  1. Mitzi I. Lancaster says:

    My 5 year-old daughter will start kindergarten this coming August. I will be packing her lunch everyday. I’ve been using plastic containers that have dividers to pack different foods, however I’m not please that the tops are hard to open.

  2. kathy downey says:

    My granddaughter started kindergarten in September we pack her a lunch everyday. using plastic containers that have dividers.

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