It’s T-minus 24 hours ’till they go back. Another 10 months of, “there’s nothing I like in the fridge” and “Daddy makes better lunches than you” (my personal favorite).
I think it’s because he pre-plucks the grapes from the stem so that his delicate little princess isn’t burdened with a single one that’s even the slightest bit mushy.
I don’t do that. I also don’t cut my sandwiches into hearts or sculpt cucumbers into flowers. But I do know how to pack a lunch that hits 3 of the 4 food groups that they don’t hate. I may not be an “expert” in the most traditional sense of the word, but after 10 years of making school lunches, I know a thing or two about a thing or two. Here are five of those things:
1. Do not buy the family-size of anything before confirming with your children that they still like it. I made that mistake last September when I came home with a 100 count box of chewy bars. Twelve months later I have 98 chewy bars left. Apparently chewy bars are “SO grade four“.
2. Forget the cutsie pink one with pictures of unicorns and invest in a good-quality Thermos. Nothing is better than hot chicken noodle soup on a cold winter day. Alternatively, nothing is more disappointing than cold chicken noodle soup on a cold winter day.
3. Help the environment and pack real cutlery instead of the lame disposable stuff. If you trust your kids with a $20 Thermos, you can trust them with a $2 spoon.
4. If there is even the slightest possibility that your 12-year-old daughter will be diagnosed with the chicken pox before recess and will forget to take her lunch with her when she goes home, thus leaving it to fester her locker for two weeks which may result in her being identified as the epicenter of “The Smell” when she returns, do not, under any circumstances, pack her a tuna sandwich. I may or may not speak from experience.
5. Make cookie dough and freeze it. Defrost and bake single cookies as needed, ensuring that your child can have a freshly baked cookie for lunch. Every. Single. Day. This one move will single-handedly secure you a position in the “Best Mommy Ever” hall of fame.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies With Sprinkles
I first made these cookies for my son (who is entering high school tomorrow-cue Sunrise, Sunset) when he was in Kindergarten. Upon accusing me of sneaking vegetables into his food, I said, “No way! That’s gross! Those are sprinkles!” For some reason he believed me and even though he’s figured out the truth, he still loves them. At least I thinks he’s figured it out…
One cup of salted butter, softened
1/2 cup each white and brown sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup white or whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp each baking soda and baking powder
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/2 cup of rolled oats
Optional: handful of chocolate chips, skor bits, or raisins.
1. Stir the flour, baking soda & powder together and set aside.
2. With an electric mixer, beat the sugars, butter, egg, and vanilla together until smooth and lighter in colour.
3. On a low speed, gradually add in the flour mixture.
4. Stir in the coconut, oatmeal, veggies, and any other optional ingredients.
5a. If baking now, preheat oven to 375, roll into tbsp. size balls, place about 5 cm apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake for 10-12 minutes until they’re just beginning to get brown.
5b. If freezing now & baking later, roll into tbsp. size balls and put onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet as close as you can get without touching. Freeze for at least an hour and then transfer to a plastic freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, remove however many you need and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until they’re just beginning to brown.
Makes about 30 cookies.