If I had to sum up the greatest lesson I’ve learned in the roughly five years I’ve been packing Parker’s lunches…
It would have to be to not overthink it.
As adults, we tend to get a little too caught up in what goes well together. What should be served hot or cold. What is or isn’t a lunch item. Kids don’t care about any of this.
They want lunch to be fun and yummy. That’s it.
If you can also make it healthy (or healthy-ish) and easy on your morning routine, you have a winner.
Beyond that, it really doesn’t matter what goes in the box.
That’s why I have no trouble packing cold sloppy Joe sandwiches. Or steamed pork buns with a side of lemon goat milk yogurt. Or chicken and whole-grain waffle sandwiches. Or kangaroo jerky and and raspberries.
Because it’s stuff he’ll eat and I can (mostly) feel good about. And that’s what it all comes down to.
Today’s lunch is a great example. It was all about using whatever I happened to have on hand. I’m pretty sure none of these foods really go all that well together. And I’m pretty sure that thought won’t cross Parker’s mind for even a second.
And it took me all of about 5 minutes to pack.
So we start with some leftover mini quiches — phyllo cups filled with egg, cheese and ham. Great hot, but just as good cold. I also had a few spare phyllo cups, which I filled with a blend of lemon curd (sold next to the jams) and Greek yogurt, then topped with berries. He devoured some of those as an after school snack yesterday, but I saved one for today’s lunch.
We were photographing Passover recipes for the AP yesterday, so I snatched a hunk of the chocolate-almond matzo bread for a sweet treat. And then felt the need to balance that with a few hunks of salted cucumber.
Finally, some leftovers from a trip to our favorite ice cream stand. It just opened for the season, so we made our first visit the other night. Parker got the fried chicken and was so eager to have the leftovers in his lunch, he actually left me a trail of sticky notes last night directing me to the refrigerator so I wouldn’t forget to pack it this morning.
Don’t forget, you have until midnight tonight to leave a comment to win one of five books from Matthew Mead. And then stay tuned for this Thursday’s lunch gear giveaway!