This has absolutely nothing to do with ninja, but guys, it has to be addressed…
My oldest is starting kindergarten this week, tomorrow to be exact, and I decided last Friday night that I better think about what I’m going to be packing for her lunches. So I started making my lunch idea list.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Fruit. Pretzels.
I didn’t get very far. She can’t take mac and cheese because she can’t warm it up, and that pretty much exhausts our lunch rotation around here. Don’t judge me.
Plus, she’ll only eat fresh mac and cheese, and not leftovers rewarmed. It’s a whole thing around here.
So I went to google. Oh. My. Gosh. I had no idea what big business kids school lunches are. Are you kidding me???
I was overwhelmed in about 2.3 seconds.
Gone are the days of a PBJ, in a plastic sandwich bag, inside a brown paper bag. That’s absolutely unacceptable these days.
Now I certainly wasn’t going to send her lunch in a brown paper bag (I mean, we had to search through every. single. lunch box in town to find the. perfect. Hello Kitty one), but I had no idea that if I sent my child with a PBJ, in a plain (gasp!) sandwich bag, how much I would be communicating to all the other parents and school employees how little I actually cared about my child. Or the planet.
So I did a little research, and I found out the new acceptable rules for school lunches, so that your child feels secure in your love for them. And the Earth does too. I’m passing these rules along to you, so that if you have also procrastinated on the lunch front (or were totally ignorant like I was), it’ll save you some time. And your child will be spared from a life of sex, drugs, and jail since you got kindergarten lunch figured out early.
**Disclaimer: Since I have only researched the appropriate ways to pack a kindergartener’s lunch, I can’t speak personally to whether or not these rules apply to any other grades. Don’t blame me if you ruin your first graders life because you packed them a kindergartener’s lunch.**
The 10 Commandments of (Kindergarten) School Lunches:
1. All the containers the food is packaged in should be reusable. A bento box lunch container is preferred. They are available in 1-7 separate compartments, based on how much you love your child. You can also get versions with labeled compartments so you can be sure to remember to include all the food groups. If you love your child just a little bit, you’ll get an inexpensive plastic version. Just beware that every time you serve your sweet child a meal in it, you’re slowing giving him/her cancer from all the chemicals leaking in to it from the plastic. If you really love your child a lot, you’ll go with the stainless steel version that is cancer-leaking chemical free. And it’s $70. Yes, I said 70. Seven. zero. Dollars. FOR A LUNCH CONTAINER! But I mean, whatever, if you don’t love your kid, I guess that’s your prerogative. Choose the plastic then. You might as well not buckle them in on the way to school either.
BONUS POINTS: You purchase 5 different bento lunch containers so their creativity is sparked anew each day with the variety. And it’ll probably make them smarter.
2. Sandwiches are not appropriate. They convey laziness. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches specifically convey that you don’t care about your child’s health. They are only okay, once per quarter, if all the following criteria are met:
a. they are made with 100% whole grain, gluten free, no sugar added wheat bread
b. no sugar added freshly mashed fruit instead of jelly
c. organic no salt added peanut butter.
If you can’t get past the sandwich idea, opt for a ‘pinwheel’ instead. The same rules for bread (see a. above) would apply to the tortilla, of course, but you would roll up your selected foods together, and then slice them into pinwheels. You may not use plain toothpicks, you must use BPA free reusable toothpics with little animal faces on them. Then your kids will know you love them.
BONUS POINTS: You include a handwritten education sheet for each animal depicted on a toothpick so they can learn something while they eat.
3. If you are still going to send a sandwich or piece of bread of any kind, they must be cut into fun shapes using a sandwich sized shape cutter. That way they know you love them. The hearts and dinosaurs are kind of overdone, so you really should move on to the ‘2 dolphins with a heart’ cutter.
BONUS POINTS: You can find a unicorn sandwich shape cutter. Or just cut one by hand.
4. You must include all the food groups in the appropriate ratios in the lunch. They need a protein, dairy, fruit, veg, and carb. This way they know you love them. It goes without saying that all protein should be grass-fed, free range, antibiotic free. The fruit and veg should be organic, non-GMO, and locally grown.
BONUS POINTS: You taught your child about cultivating the Earth while you grew and harvested the fruit and veg yourselves.
5. If you are going to include anything that is firm to semi-firm, it must be cut into little shapes with little shape cutters. That way your kids know you love them. Using a plain melon baller is no longer acceptable. Examples of foods that will be expected to be shaped: watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, banana, cheese, meat, bread, cucumbers, carrots, etc.
BONUS POINTS: If you’re sending a banana in their lunch, and don’t love them enough to cut it into shapes, at least give it a tattoo.
6. If it is a food that cannot be cut into a shape, it needs to have eyes. Then your kids will know you love them.
BONUS POINTS: You have taught your child Japanese, so they can read the packaging the fruit eyes come in.
7. The different foods in your child’s lunch cannot touch. Although they may be in the same bento compartment, they can’t mix. So get reusable silicone baking cups to put in each compartment, with each food getting it’s own container.
BONUS POINTS: You choose something other than plain round cups. It’ll make your kids smarter.
8. You must include a little love note in every lunch. Then everyone will know how much you love your child.
BONUS POINTS: Your kindergartner is already an expert reader on Day 1 of class. That way they can read the note. And you’ll show all the teachers how much you love your child because you’ve already taught them how to read.
9. If you can theme it, it must be themed. Obvious days would be Birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. But don’t forget Easter, Flag day, and Earth Day. These are the bare minimum. You should also include a themed lunch for any topic your child is studying in school, or favorite topic they’re in to at the time.
BONUS POINTS: You do a Star Wars theme on May 4th.
10. And it should go without saying that you may not repeat a school lunch. Ever.
BONUS POINTS: You go all the way through senior year without repeating a lunch.
Man, and I thought $2.55 per school-bought lunch was expensive. Sounds like a bargain now. Although I’m pretty sure I would doom her social life and intelligence potential forever if she was forced to buy school lunch.