I was pretty happy with the lunches I packed for the kids this week, but we had a hard time with uneaten lunches and wasted food due to mean comments in the elementary school cafeteria. Surprisingly, very little of it had to do with how the food was packed and it was entirely about what my kid had in his lunch boxes. I personally didn’t feel like these lunches were that weird, but my son had trouble with the other kids teasing him every day this week.
When I went to make Wyatt his lunch on Monday morning, it felt like we were completely out of food. As you can see by the lunch I put together, we had lots of stuff, but everything you see here was the last of something — last orange, the bottom of the cracker bag, etc. I love it when I can use the last little bits of something by filling a bento box. Truly, this is one of the big benefits of packing lunches this way.
The grilled cheese was Wyatt’s idea and I was happy to make it for him and cook it while I was putting the rest of the lunches together. I was a little skeptical that he would like it cold, so I kept asking him if he was sure he would eat it. Wyatt promised that he was “so excited” for lunch so you can imagine how annoyed I was when I opened his lunch box after school to find the sandwich untouched. Apparently one of his table-mates told him that eating a cold grilled cheese would “make him throw up” so that was that as far as Wyatt was concerned. No way he was going to eat it. This turned out to be a recurring theme this week.
On Tuesday, Augie’s lunch was packed into our Lunchbots Trio: goldfish, a guitar shaped PB&J, cucumbers, carrots, a mini pumpkin muffin and grapes.
Wyatt had school lunch.
Wednesday, I used the school bus bento box to pack Augie’s lunch: grapes, a pumpkin muffin, strawberries from the farmers’ market (so tasty!), and three potstickers. The dumplings looked really pale and unappealing when I put the straight into the box, so I put a few pieces of silicone sushi grass beneath them for a spot of color.
Wyatt had a pumpkin muffin, grapes, wheat thins with pesto gouda, potstickers and dipping sauce (made with a recipe from Momables), and fresh, local strawberries.
Once again, Wyatt asked for the cheese and crackers (he loves this new cheese from Trader Joe’s) and he complained that I didn’t give him more dumplings and then when he came home he had barely eaten anything. “My friends said that the cheese looked disgusting and that they would never eat a potsticker.” Aaargh! The cheese comment…OK. I grant that green cheese is odd. But I can not believe that the kids at my son’s culturally diverse, San Francisco Bay Area school don’t eat potstickers. I simply don’t believe it.
On Thursday, I packed Augie a lunch that is as close as I’m going to come to a St. Patrick’s day lunch this year. Since when did St. Patrick’s become this huge holiday with a zillion crafts and leprechauns visiting in the night? And we’re supposed to build traps and leave out fake gold now?? What the heck? I’m boycotting.
Anyway, I packed this rainbow lunch almost on accident. I had planned to put everything in it except the yellow tomatoes and after it was half-packed, I noticed I had nearly an entire rainbow, so I rearranged it a little to make it work. I packed this in a single layer of our monbento: ham roll-ups, strawberries, carrots, yellow tomatoes, grapes and a “pot of gold(fish)” at the end.
Wyatt’s lunch was basically the same, though I left out the tomatoes and goldfish and added in some wheat thins and bean dip for the carrots. It was packed in a Laptop Lunches box.
This day’s snide comment from the peanut gallery was that one of the strawberries — probably his favorite food in the world — “looked like a butt”. So they remained untouched at the end of the day, along with almost everything else.
Today I kept things pretty simple. Augie had mandarin orange wedges, grapes, ham, carrots, English cucumber slices, wheat thins and a summer berry flapjack.
Wyatt had an apple chunk, crackers, flapjack, ham, and mandarins — the same thing mostly, but in a slightly different configuration. We’ll see what mean comment keeps him from eating it today.
So, I really want to know: how do you deal with lunch time bullying like this? I’ve been coaching Wyatt to stand up to his friends, talking to him about food waste, etc., but none of it seems to have an effect. Thoughts?
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