Saturday, January 16, 2010

On a scale of 1 to 10....

Here's a round-up of lunches since school resumed in the new year. The first few sets demonstrate the difference in quantity that I send for Miss M's lunch compared to Mister J's lunch. Then, I'll just move on to one photo per day, usually Mister J's lunch. As always, I'll add commentary on the relative success or failure of each lunch.

We had some leftover rolls from our New Year's lunch that made great mini-sandwiches for the kids. I cut some deli meat and cheese to fit the rolls, and the kids seemed to really enjoy these sandwiches - the perfect size for small hands! Plus, just like adults, they enjoy variety - and 'special bread' counts just as much as having a different fruit or vegetable!

Mister J's lunch with two ham and cheese sandwiches, applesauce, pumpkin bread, & blueberries

Miss M's lunch with one ham and cheese sandwich, yogurt, pumpkin bread, and blueberries

The 'sandwich' rolls made a second appearance, this time with turkey and cheese - two for Mister J and one for Miss M. I also added some cherries to this lunch - the kids think it's fun to pit out the pits, and I think it's a great way to get another color into their "food rainbow." It's been a while since we have had fresh cherries, which means it's almost like introducing a new food around here, so I started slow and mixed them in with something familiar.
Sandwiches, cucumbers and carrots with dip, snack mix, blueberries and cherries for Mister J

Sandwich, yogurt, veggies with dip, blueberries and cherries for Miss M

Moving on to the "one photo" days.... I'll try and note any differences between the two lunches (besides quantity) that I can remember.

This was a 'try a new ingredient' lunch. I added celery, with toppings I knew each of the kids would enjoy, with mixed results. This is Miss M's lunch - heavy on the fruit on this particular day. Blueberries, peach yogurt, veggies with dip, and celery with soy butter and Craisins. She has eaten celery before, but on this day she just licked off the soy butter and Craisins. Mister J got Boursin cheese on his celery, Boursin being a treat that Mister J really likes and celery being a food that he doesn't. Overall, the celery was a flop....

This lunch was the result of an unexpected surprise. I made Pioneer Woman's White Chili, expecting that it would be an 'adult' food. I was fully prepared to serve the kids some chicken nuggets, sandwiches, or other kid-friendly food while we enjoyed the warm, hearty delicious chili. Mister J tasted it and ate an entire bowl! There were plenty of leftovers, so I packed some into his lunch a couple of days later. Along with the Thermos of chili, he had sour cream (under the green lid), cheese (in the orange pinch cup), and Fritos for toppings. He also had cherries and some sliced cucumbers and dip. I was surprised that over half of the chili came back home. He'd dipped the Fritos into the chili and stopped eating when the Fritos ran out.... (Miss M would never eat this, so she would have had something simple that day like a sandwich with similar fruits and veggies.)

Similar lunches on this day - only varying in quantity (more for him, less for her - I think this is his lunch box). Mini Babybel and Triscuit crackers; a small salad with diced celery, cucumbers, carrots, and deli turkey; dressing in the small container; blueberries; pumpkin bread. The kids were both excited about a lunch that included a mini Babybel, so the cheese and crackers were gone. Miss M ate some of her salad and Mister J, a big salad eater, ate none. The reason? He saw the celery and passed on the whole thing. Guess I didn't dice it small enough! Nope, I'm not above hiding the good stuff in their food. Nearly every time I've packed blueberries in the past two weeks, at least some of them come back home. Hmph.

I expected to get raves from this lunch - chicken nuggets are a rare treat! I was disappointed. Although Mister J ate his, Miss M didn't eat a single one. I'd reminded the kids ahead of time that these would only be room temperature at lunch time (they aren't able to reheat lunches at school), and everyone seemed to understand. They've had room temperature pizza before - and gobbled it up! I guess these just aren't as good cold, no matter how much ketchup you put on them.... I sought advice from another lunch-packing mom; I'll try her tip later on and let you know how it works out. So, the lunch rundown: chicken nuggets (6 for him, 4 for her), sliced cucumber with hummus in a hollowed-out cucumber dip 'cup', Goldfish and Craisin snack mix, ketchup in the small container, cheese cubes (which the kids got excited about when I was packing the lunches). Perhaps I really should start scoring these lunches on a 10-point scale....

(By the way, huge apologies for the photo quality. Some of these were taken with my BlackBerry - on the days I couldn't find my camera - and those with my camera aren't much better. Hint, hint, Big J - I'm gonna be asking for a DSLR for my birthday....)

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