Stay out of my kids’ lunchboxes

So nice to know that the lunch box police are out in force on this side of the Tasman too. It seems that parents aren’t putting enough healthy food in their kids’ school lunchboxes – bad parents! At least the New Zealand researchers noticed that even when parents do put healthy food in school lunches, the kids just throw it out. The Australian response? Parents need to be educated about what food to give their kids.

Good grief! I know plenty about healthy food. I know that my kids need to eat plenty of fruit and vegies, and it’s great to get some protein, carbs and even a bit of fat into them too. I could pack a fabulous lunch for them everyday, but they won’t eat it. One of my daughters is the picky eater to beat them all, and the other two aren’t much better. My big battle is to get them to eat at all, let alone eat all the right things. The last thing I need is “helpful” advice about how to feed them.

cupcakesIn the spirit of saying “Sucks! Yaboo!” to wowsers, here is the sort of thing I like to put in my girls’ lunchboxes, just to get them to eat anything at all. These are Lemon Surprise Cupcakes, courtesy of Stef. Rich cupcake mix, with icing and 100s and 1000s on the top. Yum, yum, yum. The girls and I made them a few days ago – it’s always fun to do a spot of baking in the school holidays. It means that the results can be a little dodgy, as things always are when the children “help”, but the whole process is so worthwhile, for all of us. I made mine about half the size that Stef recommended, so I ended up with about twice as many. surprise.jpgI tend to make smaller muffins and cupcakes for the children, so that they have a pleasant morsel rather than a gargantuan meal disguised as a muffin.

The “surprise” bit? Jam in the middle. Even yummier, and even more likely to earn the ire of the lunchbox officers.

Stef recommends using cherry jam for the surprise, but I used raspberry jam, mixed with a little lemon juice, because I had some left over from making jammy dodgers the previous day.


New Zealanders, and maybe Australians too, will recognise these as Shrewsburys, but “jammy dodger” is much more fun.

To be honest, I don’t usually put such high-sugar items in the girls’ school lunches. Lemon surprise cupcakes and jammy dodgers are occasional treats. But I do put in home baking – muffins and biscuits and slices – along with sammies and fruit. And the last thing I need is some sanctimonious researcher chiding me for it.


2 responses to “Stay out of my kids’ lunchboxes

  1. Sigh. You are so right. I have so many times slaved to cook nutricious meals only to have my children cry “Do we have to have healthy food again?”

    I have always sent my children to school with a packed lunch, except on Fridays when it has been their treat to buy whatever junk they wish. When my eldest was in Year Two, I visited the school towards the end of lunch time one day for some reason that escapes me now, to have daughter’s teacher approach me apologetically and concerned. “Your daughter has been stealing cakes and biscuits from the other kids, and says it is because you don’t give her any lunch,” the teacher said. “Come with me,” I said, and led the teacher to the cloak room and the peg with my daughter’s bag on it. In the bag was her lunch box, which I took out and opened. Inside, untouched, were sandwiches, an apple, mandarin, muesli bar and a drink bottle.

    “She doesn’t like healthy food,” I said resignedly to the astonished teacher.

  2. They look yummy!

    I was one of those annoying kids who wouldn’t eat the ‘healthy lunches’ my mum packed. At one point I had a whole week’s work of fruit in various states of decay under my bed which was the breaking point for my mother and from then I made my own lunch.

    Though New Zealand and Australia are a bit odd in that they don’t provide cooked lunches for their kids.

    I bought one of my posts from my old blog to see how are things done in Korea: