It is hard to believe but almost half of the school year is over. If your child has come home complaining that their lunch is just not good or "hip" enough and you are sending them out with anything but an Oscar Mayer Lunchables meal, you are probably right. If you visit the supermarket, you will be faced with a virtual wall of Lunchables meals that really do look pretty cool. Some of them even have prizes and special offers on the back.
The days of making a good old peanut butter and jelly or a bologna sandwich on white in a plastic sandwich bag is just not stylish enough for kids today and for a child with allergies and sensitivities, it could even make them sick.
I've seen them at school. They don't seem very appetizing to me, but for kids (and Oscar Mayer) they are gold. Kids think they are cool and Lunchables are very popular since a mom doesn't have to worry with preparing anything. Just throw them in a sack or cool bag and the kids are ready for the bus.
The problem for some of us is that our children who must have special diets are just out of luck, unless you take advantage of a new trend started by Japanese mothers. Your kids can easily be considered cool and trendy, too, even if you are sending them to school without a Lunchables meal.
Japanese cuisine has long focused on pleasing the eye as well as the palate and the practice of making Bento boxes filled with beautiful and sometimes exotic treats for Japanese husbands and children to take to work or school has now reached our shores. Here is a link to a website that takes bento boxes to a whole new level with a contest of lunch box ideas.
Using this idea as a model, we are finding new ways to make gluten-free meals look and taste even better than the high-cost, less healthy versions found in the grocery department.
Some websites and blogs like the one below by keeleymcguire.com and keeleymcguire.blogspot.com might help you with some great lunch ideas.
She has taken the plastic lunch container and filled it full of good ideas and nutritious meals. It is hard to believe the variety of colors and shapes she has packed into these little containers.
Just recently we found these great economical lunch boxes on Amazon.com that can be used to make gluten-free bento boxes for your children. I think it could get them excited about lunch time again. Here is the link.
I'm not suggesting that you spend hours making miniature animals from food, but I do think using these or similar lunch boxes can make school lunches a treat for your kids. They can even be made ahead and just popped in a bag before school.
So instead of wishing things could be different, check out these ideas. You might just find you can even get your kid excited about eating his or her vegetables--an intriguing idea isn't it?