The Dreaded Lunchbox

I know I’m not alone in this…I’ve heard some of you moms/dads express your joy at the end of the school year. Making interesting, healthy lunches every day all school year long is EXHAUSTING! Especially if you have 2 (or more) kids with different palates – one who refuses to eat ANY nutbutter, applesauce, most fruits/greens and the other who will eat anything as long as it’s only offered on alternate Tuesdays. We’re vegan, just to add to the challenge, and I’d like to send my kids to school with healthy, whole foods – rather than sugary, processed, packaged foods. And WHY is it that they’ll eat things so well at home, but if I put them in their lunch, they label them as ‘gross’?!!

All moms/dads start off with the best intentions at the beginning of the year to be creative, fun…almost adventurous – ‘the kids will eat it if it’s in cute little shapes!’ Then by the end of the year, we’re making the same sandwiches every day and throwing in a couple of pre-packaged snacks, knowing full well that apple we packed will be tossed in the trash, not eaten as we desperately hoped. The reality is that those cute little sandwiches or carefully organized/decorated bento lunches get destroyed the moment our child throws his/her lunchbox into a backpack and deposits it unceremoniously onto the pile of other backpacks the moment they arrive at school. Our efforts to rise extra early to bake fresh and tasty morsels for our little darlings have been abandoned for 10 more precious minutes of sleep. We’ve developed a chronic case of Lunchbox Fatigue.

So, the school year comes to a close and we do a little happy dance because it means that we’re done with the constant pressure of coming up with varied, creative lunches only to have them rejected day after day after day. But then we remember the kids will need to bring lunch with them to summer camp and we sit down and have a good cry.

To you moms/dads who have children who will eat anything or have the time/energy/skills to bake sneaky (i.e. super nutritious) delicious muffins or create artistic bento lunches – we hate you just a little.

Some examples of what we’re up against:

If I attempted ANY of these amazing sandwiches, I’m pretty sure they’d all look like balls of bread thrown up by the cat.


This is ADORABLE now, but by lunchtime, it’s all one big crazy blend of food which resembles nothing like what you envisioned your child smiling at and devouring with joy, smugly thinking, ‘go ahead friends, be jealous…my mom is awesome’ and 75% of it ends up in the trash.


THIS. IS. AWESOME. Question is – how could you destroy this work of art by eating it?!


This is my children’s last week of camp for the summer. I will do a happy dance on Friday as I pack my last lunchbox – until the school year begins again. In the meantime, I will do my best to stockpile ideas, freeze individual portions of healthy somethings-0r-0ther, get over my baking aversion, and re-bolster my energy and enthusiasm for the Dreaded Exciting Lunchbox.

2 thoughts on “The Dreaded Lunchbox

  1. Okay – mind you, I don’t actually have kids – I inherited stepchildren twice that were already almost adults.

    But my POV is if they’re old enough to complain about what goes in their lunch boxes, they’re old enough to make their own lunches. And if you don’t have snack food around, they can’t put that in there.

    By the time I was 6 I was making and packing not only my own lunch, but my dad’s too….

    • Both of my kids do make their own lunches and have some healthy guidelines to follow. We don’t keep restricted food in the house (for me, as much as them) and with our diet restrictions, it makes it challenging for them to get variety without some assistance.

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