While part of me wishes that I could be one of those bento box moms that spends three hours preparing their children’s school lunches in the morning, another part of me just doesn’t understand. Why take all that time molding waldorf chicken salad into Frozen characters and cutting up raw veggies into tiny little shapes? Chances are your kid isn’t even going to eat that stuff. You’ll probably just end up with a bad case of the sads when you open up their lunchbox at the end of the day and realize that they mercilessly plucked all the organic grapes out of the intricate likeness of Queen Elsa that you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into creating at 4AM. But I guess if you’re willing to LET IT GOOOO (sorry, I had to), then have at it. Personally, I’d rather sleep in an extra two hours, and slap together a marginally healthy sandwich for school lunch. Top it off with a side of baby carrots that might come home uneaten and voila! Pinterest be damned.
Parenting rule #889: The longer it takes to make, the less likely it is that your kids will actually eat it.
At least this is usually how things go with food at our house right now. Our oldest is like: Oh, you’ve prepared a baby spinach appetizer salad with candied pecans, cranberry, and fresh pears, a main course of pan-seared eco-friendly tuna with an heirloom tomato and organic red onion vinaigrette, and a fruit plate with a side of homemade crème fraîche for dessert?* Yep, not going to eat it.
But OH MY GOD was that the telltale sound of the microwave beeping? Did you spend one minute and forty-five seconds making dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets that probably contain harmful food dyes and carcinogens? Better get a bigger plate because I’m having twenty-three of them with a giant side of ketchup… Because ketchup is a food group when you’re two.
Okay, so maybe our kid doesn’t eat dinosaur chicken nuggets all the time, even though she’d like to. We do make an effort to provide healthy options that usually include vegetables, but there’s no way we’re spending four hours in the kitchen making gourmet meals. Ain’t nobody got time for that, especially people who work opposite shifts like my husband and I.
*Please note this meal, while it sounds delicious, is entirely hypothetical because I am arguably the worst cook on the entire planet of Earth. I burned a hard boiled egg once.