There are some childhood memories that last a lifetime. One of my more traumatic ones took place during lunch at elementary school.
My mother, who could win awards for parenting effort, sent me a hot dog for lunch. I had told her I was bored with sandwiches. The bun was cut and ketchup, mustard and relish lined it in perfect proportions. All I needed to do was remove the wiener from my Thermos® and put it in the bun.
As I opened my Thermos®, the smell of warm wiener air rushed at me. I reached in with a pincer-like grip trying to grab the wiener. (Even with little fingers, this wasn't easy.) And that's when it happened: John P. said at the top of his lungs "Whose lunch smells like a turd?" I knew it was mine, so I put the lid back on my Thermos®, ate my empty bun, and ran outside to the playground as soon as we were allowed to go. When I got home that afternoon I told my mom that I was N-E-V-E-R taking a hot dog for lunch E-V-E-R again.
What can we send our kids for lunch? We want to send something healthy; they want something that tastes good (and doesn't smell weird). Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use whole wheat pitas or English muffins
- Load them with cooked chicken breast (cut into bite size pieces) or ground beef, tofu cubes, lots of veggies*, and low fat mozzarella
- *vegetables with a high water content should be pre-cooked before putting on pizza: e.g. tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini
Wraps with a twist:
- Use small (6-inch) tortilla shells
- Try all sorts of fillings including: tuna or egg salad, hummus, shredded carrot, lettuce, tomato and avocado slices
- Nice to change it up with a hot lunch
- Use a wide-mouth Thermos®. Serve it with a whole grain bun or crackers
The following Dietitians of Canada resources have additional ideas and tips for packing safe and wholesome lunches:
What's in your kid's lunch?