One of my least favorite mom-jobs used to be packing the school lunches. I know now it was because I put too much emphasis on myself. I wanted my kids' lunches to be the healthiest, most filling yet tastiest lunches in the room. I'm known as the "fitness lady" and I have a reputation to uphold. And no one is going to beat me at lunch packing - no way. I. Must. Win.This motivation was sinful and self-focused. I was more concerned about what others thought about what I was feeding my kids than using that opportunity for what it was - to demonstrate Jesus' love. By preparing my kids' lunches I can teach them Jesus' love - one of the thousands of opportunities He gives us as moms to do so.
You may think that preparing a lunch is not a big deal. Lest we forget what Jesus did with one little boy's lunch over 2000 years ago? You know, just fed OVER 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish - no big deal. Never underestimate your jobs as a mom. No matter how mundane, or trivial, or unsavory, or unappealing, or self-serving you may think they are. God is bigger than your agenda.
Food is a key element to children's success at school, their mood, their energy, character and focus. Unfortunately, most of what is advertised as a quick and easy lunch box filler is also nutrient-void, artificially flavored, or sodium and sugar saturated. To provide a healthy and satisfying lunch for your child does take a little bit of planning and preparation. But this little bit of time spent on a Saturday or Sunday evening saves lots of time, worry and guilt on busy school day mornings when you have nothing prepared. Here are a few healthier ideas for lunch box fillers:
- hummus (homemade is very easy - message me for my favorite recipe) with cut up veggies
- cut up fruit
- hard boiled eggs
- natural nut butter and graham cracker "sandwiches"
- bite-sized tomatoes
- pistachios (my kids love cracking them open)
- avocado cubes
- trail mix (I mix raw pumpkin seeds, dehydrated fruit, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds and cheerios)
- string cheese
- homemade cookies (ALWAYS better than the store bought version because you can control the sugar content)
My kids also like it when I use cookie cutters to cut their sandwiches. For some reason, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the shape of a gingerbread man or a church tastes better than a simple rectangle. And don't forget the little post-it note of encouragement, a daily riddle, a reminder of Jesus' love, something you are proud of them for, or recognition for their efforts that day. About mid-way through last year, after receiving a note from me in (almost) all of their lunches, my girls started leaving me notes in my backpack too. That's a beautiful thing - Jesus allowing us to see a reciprocal effect of our demonstration of His love.
Please share your lunch box favorites with us in the comments. Happy lunch packing, fellow moms.