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Lunchbox Ideas for Busy Mums

mother showing her child how she packs lunch

Lunchbox ideas for busy mums.

It’s that time of year again when my social media feed fills up with posts like “Ok mums, show me your children’s lunchbox inspiration”. The posts are then filled with amazing pictures of bento boxes, freshly rolled sushi and rice paper rolls and fruit cut to look like a frog!

I saw the first of these posts yesterday and the picture I wanted to post in response was this:

sandwiches are an easy and healthy way to feed your children during lunch

But I didn’t.

How shameful that my poor kids get sent to school with nothing more exciting in their lunch box than a sandwich, a piece of fruit, a muesli bar and a tub of chopped up carrot and cucumber for ‘brain food’ (who am I kidding, half the time I can’t find the tub and it’s a ziplock bag.)

Then I thought about it, and apparently I thought about it enough to warrant feeling the need to write this blog post and I decided to post it.

My kids are fed everyday. They never go hungry but they have never eaten a piece of fruit shaped like a frog either. They don’t get fruit kebabs, I don’t even cut up their fruit. Nature, or God or the universe or whatever you believe in, gave them teeth for a reason!

Here’s the honest truth for why I don’t make them a magazine (or Instagram) worthy lunch. I’m too busy and too damn tired! There are three of them and getting them ready for school in the morning kills me! It’s hard enough to go through L: ‘Mum did you wash my sports shirt, it’s sports day on Thursday!’ Me: ‘Did you put it in to be washed?’ L: ‘No’ Me: ‘Then it didn’t get washed!’ or A: ‘Mummy I can only find one Elsa sock and I have to wear Elsa socks today’ Me: ‘Hmmm Elsa is best friends with Olaf, I think Elsa would love it if you wore one Elsa sock and one Olaf sock today’ or D:‘Mum where is my note for x excursion’ Me: ‘I don’t even remember seeing a note for x excursion, how much cash do you need?’ (that one is often in mild panic because I never have cash in the house) without putting extra pressure on myself to create a lunchtime master piece! Three sandwiches, bottles of water, muesli bars, fruit and veg is often all I can manage as I’m rushing to sort them and get myself ready for work.

Here’s the rationale I have come up with to share with other mums so I can justify why I don’t make a more exciting lunch.

  • I have been parent helper at school and seen the kids with the bento box miss out on their playtime because eating all that carefully crafted food just takes too long. Kids are sat down way too long in my opinion and they need time to run, play and socialise. My boring lunch is quick to consume and they are ready to play quickly.
  • My older kids are 12 and 13 now. They can make their own lunch (thank goodness, and they are both great and will make all 3 sandwiches if they get to it before I do). One of the reasons they can make their own lunch is because the bar is pretty low. While the older two can roll their own sushi it is not something they can quickly do before school. Cutting and buttering a bread roll and throwing a couple of pieces of cold meat on it or if they are feeling fancy a piece of lettuce as well is manageable. They are able to have that self-responsibility. They were able to learn from a young age how to feed themselves. Self-responsibility is in with all the mummy bloggers these days. Give yourself a big tick!
  • So if you are like me and don’t ever manage to create a school lunchbox that you saw on Pinterest feel free to use one of my excuses! If you are one of the mums that makes an amazing bento box complete with animal sculptures then more power to you!

There should be no shame in a lunchbox! Do what works for you!

In the meantime, here’s a picture of the fruit frog that I keep thinking I should make for the kids but I just never have;

Frog Apples are a fun way to encourage your children to eat fruit

For more information about groups we run that also help reduce the mummy guilt check out the What’s on section of the website. 

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