Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lunch through the ages

By the time I was about 7 or 8, my mom had me trained to pack my own lunch every morning. Smart lady -- she had two younger kids and a full-time job, so a little delegation was definitely in order. The best part was choosing a tiny bag of chips (Mom would buy a variety pack every week) to include with my PB&J. It was a good day if I got to the Fritos before my siblings did.

In 8th grade, I went through a phase of buying a bag of pretzels and a chocolate milkshake at the cafeteria every day. A couple of years later, I existed for months on the Calcium-Lover's Special: a few slices of Colby cheese stuffed inside a pita, a yogurt, and a carton of milk. (I know.)

I don't really remember what I ate in college. I guess whatever looked least gross at the dining hall. I do remember that when I had my first (ill-paying) job, I brown-bagged four days a week (hitting the diner with the other paupers on Fridays) and loathed it.

At some point even before we were married, I exacted a promise from my now-husband that he'd be in charge of packing any and all lunches for our future children. So far, he's stuck to it. Of course, we've yet to reach kindergarten, but there was an 18-month stretch at our previous child care center where we had to provide meals, and at our current place, we have to supply lunch once or twice a week during the summer when the kids go on field trips.

We'll see how it goes next year, when lunch provision becomes a daily chore. If the school's cafeteria fare meets both my standards (for nutrition) and my 5-year-old's (for taste), then Daddy might be off the hook. I have a feeling that things have changed a lot since my day--you know, in the "ketchup is a vegetable" era.

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Check out School Menu and its parental counterpart Family Everyday, two sites that work together with school food services directors to provide and promote healthy eating and physical fitness for kids and their parents.

10 comments:

Karianna said...

Oh, the Calcium-Lover's Special sounds just lovely! I did the Dr. Pepper and Milky Way bar lunch for awhile, usually with a croissant or cranberry-orange muffin for good measure.

Grad school was whatever they served for free at lectures, primarily pizza (and ya wonder why I gained 30 pounds that first year!)

Kelly said...

For some reason, I hate the lunch-packing. I'd rather clean a toilet. Perhaps it's something passive-aggressive bubbling to the surface, of taking so much care of someone else while I usually eat my meals either standing or with some wriggly body on my lap (or, of course, the not eating at all thing).

So glad we've passed the Reagan concept of a veggie. Phew....

Laura Lohr said...

My mom had me trained too. No fair though, I had to pack my siblings' lunches as well! :)

mamatulip said...

Ketchup ISN'T a vegetable?!

movin'mom said...

I have always had my kids pack their own lunch. Actually they even make their own breakfast.

I know, I know, what do I do....what's my job?
I drink coffee and referee the morning. (minus the whistle)

But when I do make them their lunch (rare) it is as if I have taken them to Disney world. They are so grateful. I have never had an issue with them throwing their lunch away because they made it, they eat it! Our rule has always been NO PICKY EATERS ALLOWED!
:)

Suzanne said...

I wonder how my son will fare with school lunches or even packed lunches once he's in school full-time. We should start working on a non-grilled-cheese repertoire now!

(I also made my lunch every day when I was in school. I was kind of proud of that and told my friends that if they didn't like what their moms packed, they should make their own lunch already!)

Lene said...

Such a great idea to have you pack your lunch!

We aren't at that point, but I think a sandwich and stuff from home would be so much better than the school lunch.

They are trying to improve, but the steps are quick enough.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

I am spoiled. I admit it. My sweet husband packs our lunch as well as the lunch for our food allergic child... every day! Lovin' it. Well, not really loving eating right now as evidenced by the crackers and Sprite on my desk.

My mother also required me to pack my lunch. Let's just say I can never look at a peanut butter sandwich with happiness ever again.

Scribbit said...

Oh I do four lunches every day and it does get old. Especially when they won't let me get fancy or creative. What do they want? PB&J. If they're feeling wild maybe a turkey and swiss.

Heathens, all of them.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

You know, I kind of like packing lunches. It uses up the leftovers. Of course, I don't pack MY lunch!