I've been praised, chided, laughed at, encouraged, etc. about my decision to make Z's lunch most everyday. It's actually funny how many opinions there are on the subject. It's something I love to do--so far. The first few days of school, it was almost a burden, but then I found ways to throw some creativity into it and I've actually started to look forward to the process.
It does help that Z loves his lunches and really doesn't want to eat the school food at all. We do go over the menu and I ask him if there's one day each week that he would like to eat school food. We've had 14 days of school and he's chosen to eat their food ONE day, although they have charged my account for at least 4...another story for another day...or not!
I bought a planetbox from http://www.planetbox.com because I liked that it was stainless steel, had several compartments but all in one piece (except for optional dipper bowls), an insultated bag and so many places online to get ideas. So if a kid doesn't want their food to touch...no problem. It also allows for extreme variety and a lunch full of a few bites of many things if you want to do it that way. I've begun incorporating all different sizes of cookie cutters, veggie cutters...even fondant cutters in letter shapes. I LOVE THIS :) I initially was going to purchase a laptop lunchbox as I'd been an avid reader of all things Bento. I have found that I can still incorporate bento ideas into my lunch planning.
What is bento you may ask? from lunchinabox.net: A bento lunch is a compact, balanced, visually appealing meal packed in a box. Historically, it’s a Japanese box lunch, similar in concept to the Indian tiffin, the Korean dosirak, or the Filipino baon lunch. In Japanese, “bento” or “obento” refers to the packed meal, and “bento-bako” refers to the bento box itself. See the Wikipedia entry on bento for more details.
You can be very simple or you can get elaborate and those who know me, know I thrive on being artsy fartsy, so yes, this is probably going to get pretty cheesy over the course of doing it for a year. I've created a facebook page to document it all with photos and resource links, etc. Hopefully other people will add their fun and simple ideas alike.
Some days I wonder if Z really cares that I do all this, but nights like last night and mornings like today, really make it all worth it. Last night I asked him if he would like to eat a quesadilla at school today (he loves quesadillas) he said NO, I want you to pack one! So even though I was exhausted, I packed a fun lunch for him. He wanted tuna...after he went to bed, I realized we were out of tuna so I decided to make the turkey sandwich fun instead to cover the fact he wasn't getting his favorite thing.
The conversation this morning:
Me: So I have some bad news and some good news.
Z: whatcha got?
Me: Well, the bad news is we were out of tuna
Z: Oh nooooo!
Me: But the good news is, I made turkey dinosaur sandwiches!
This was followed by jumping up and down and waving arms in the air...whew!
We also decided that he could have chocolate milk on Fridays, so I whipped some up for his thermos :)
I'm going to the Hibari Market in Lexington this weekend to feed by Bento obsession with some sushi rice molds so we can do some fun rice balls next week!! Oh and if you want to join Z Lunch Bunch on FaceBook, we'd be glad to have you! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Z-Lunch-Bunch/211520322238983