The Dreaded ‘L’ Word

Do you know where the word ‘lunch’ comes from? It’s actually an acronym for:

Necessity to

Ok. Maybe not.

Don’t get me wrong, lunch time is actually my favourite time of the day. Remember that rush of excitement you felt when hearing the lunch bell ring when you were in school? Signifying the end of another boring class and the beginning of that all-too-critical window of socialization and fun? I feel the same today. When the clock strikes 12pm I drop what I’m doing leap out of my office chair, throw on my coat, and dash out of the room like the building’s on fire.

But as a working mom, the ‘L’ word also has negative connotations. At about 10pm each night, I begrudgingly shuffle to the kitchen and open and close all of the cupboards. I open the fridge, then close it, then open it again, hoping to find new contents inside.

What to make for lunch for the kids?

When I first went back to work, I aspired to make picture-perfect lunches like this:

Thank you Pinterest for making me feel even less confident about my lunch-making abilities.

I literally felt stressed out every night about what I was going to make. I thought to myself, it has to be different every day, it has to be nutritious, and it has to look like a creative masterpiece. I peeled and delicately sliced hard boiled eggs, I used cookie cutters to make fruits and veggies into fun little shapes, and I bought things like mini croissants and mangoes. I worked those lunches, and you know what? My kids barely touched a thing.

Lunch fail.

I’ve learned in my (only slightly experienced) 5 years as a mom, that kids don’t always care about how creative you are with their lunches. Sometimes all they want is a good old PB&J, a yogurt and some grapes.

Every. Single. Day.

And if they eat it all, why not do it?


  1. I agree 🙂 And by the way, I had to laugh…I have three kids and they get pb&j, yogurt and grapes a lot! They actually ask me to make them pb&j sandwiches!

  2. Couldn’t have said this better myself. I hate making lunches. I hate figuring out what to feed them for breakfast and dinner. They want the same things all the time and it’s boring. They eat it though. Why should I stress?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Only problem with PB&J is the nut allergies out there. Most schools are nut-free zones. It sucks, especially when you don’t eat much meat. Hello bologna and mustard…:(

  4. My son would only eat cheese sandwiches his whole first year in Kindergarten. He hated the cafeteria food and every time I made him anything else he wouldn’t eat it. He loves the food at the new school him and his sister are going to… now it’s a double edged sword… he wants to eat at school but it gets expensive!!!

  5. You hit the nail on the head. I really dislike making lunches. Especially when one week my daughter loves wraps and the next week she can’t stand them.
    My son will eat one of two things for lunch. Cold grilled cheese sandwiches (I used to judge parents who sent that as a lunch) and macaroni and cheese.

  6. Lilah’s lunches are totally boring and usually involve leftovers from dinner the night before. But in September she’ll be starting at a daycare that provides hot lunches, AND charges less than we are currently paying for childcare! It’ll be a shock to the system when she heads off to Kindergarten…

  7. As long as it’s made with love (which is what I tell my kids), who cares what it looks like? It’s the thought that counts, right?

  8. So true! I’ve tried the fancy creative lunch thing, too. No dice. One of my kids eats a cheese sandwich and an apple every single day. Eh, makes my life easier anyway.

  9. I think we are much more impressed with guacamole in the shape of an owl than our children are!

  10. I hate making lunches. The only time they’ve ever been eaten regularly is when they are working. I’ve pulled more stale sandwiches out of gym bags than I’ve probably ever eaten.

  11. Haha! Pinterest does have the ability to make me feel like a big giant loser. Lunch, dinner, any meal for that matter is an issue here. Sigh…

  12. Ha! Lunch for someone else is a paaain. Lunch for myself? Delicious. Well, it’s usually a microwaveable dinner.

  13. I love that you have taken the time to consider it and have done it, whether they ate it or not. I agree that its best to give them PB&J and some grapes if that’s what they want and will eat. Saves you the work. But I am happy to learn that you don’t go out and buy lunchables, for instance. I see by the comments that the other mothers don’t either. I don’t have kids, and I wonder who buys that stuff. Someone must. I suppose I might annoy someone who reads this later, but what a waste of packaging. So, good for you, I think its wonderful that you gave it so much thought and effort.

  14. You said it! Way to go!

  15. Yes! People who make lunches that look like faces have too much time on their hands……

  16. You know, I skimmed down this post before I read it. Holy Crud was I relieved to read that you were poking fun at that sandwich (can something with a face be categorized as a sandwich?) and not showing it off. Kid who eats that sandwich is probably going to get E.coli from the sprouts anyway because who has time to wash the sprouts after cutting slivers of 15 different vegetables for one lunch. Ellen

  17. Here in Malaysia, our kids mostly eat whatever is prepared. Rather than presentation, taste is the key 😛

  18. 🙂 I could really relate to this one! I have also given up on “creative” and stuck with the healthy things that mine will eat!

  19. You’re doing better than me, my kids buy lunch because there aren’t enough hours in my day to make lunch for everyone. When they are old enough to pack their own then more power to them. And this is coming from the mom whose children ate Apple Jacks and string cheese for dinner last night. Yeah.

  20. Oh my…I agree! Love to eat lunch, hate to make it. I have six kids. That’s a lot of uninspired but yummy PBJs. Oh, and Pinterest is evil. 🙂

  21. Exactly why I’m in no hurry to “Pin”…

    We go through so much “Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter” that I considered buying it in bulk. I don’t fight what my kids want to eat. Food eaten but not wanted is food wasted.

    Great post!

  22. I am fortunate to be able to afford school lunches. We did the math and it turned out it was closer than we imagined. I can’t imagine being creative or even not lazy.


  23. My son wasn’t as picky so i could get a little creative but there were no cookie cutter sandwiches or notes…he would die of embarrassment1 My daughter is very picky and so there’s a rotation of a few things that she eats..but nothing exciting.

  24. *sigh* I remember those special lunches my mom would make me of peanut butter sandwiches and thermoses filled with soup. Maybe they weren’t masterpieces, but to me, they were awesome.

  25. I’m lucky that I’m totally not an over-achiever on the school lunches. I make my son’s lunch healthy and nutritious but it can look like a pile of barf for all I care. Just kidding. It has to resemble food that has yet to be eaten.

    And if he asks for a peanut butter and kraft singles on whole wheat every day last week… well, so be it, I’ll mix up the fruit/veggie sides for variety 😉

  26. bless my 5 year old son’s heart. he loves peanutbutter and banana sandwiches start their sights low, and aim to please 🙂 ha.

  27. At this point in the school year I am feeling very uninspired. My kids’ school is kosher, so on top having to try and think of interesting options, we can’t send any meat products. If I am sick of making mac and cheese and quesadillas, I can’t imagine how my kids feel eating it! I am sure by August I will have some good ideas, and I will share!

  28. Lunch is totally a four-letter word and I’m not even working! I HATE making school lunches! I’m with you! I wish our school made lunch – even if they were crappy un nutritious lunches I’d be ecstatic (parenting fail but there you go!). Did you see that video of Japanese moms competing to make the perfect Bento – every day? Serious pressure there! One made a whole Michael Jackson – took her hours – her kid gobbled it up in 2 seconds. Horrid. At least we don’t live where they make competitive bento boxes! (-:

  29. I adhere to the requests I get for what they’d like in their lunches, but sometimes I don’t have it. If I don’t, I feel guilty. However, as soon as the guilt sets in, I hear, “Thanks for packing my lunch,” and I realize they are grateful for the “act” and not necessarily the “outcome”. And never going hungry is quite a blessing. Love your acrostic-type poem for lunch. You’re clever! 😉

  30. My kids have actually begged me to STOP making their lunches (?). I only packed good things (turkey sandwich, fresh strawberries, carrots sticks, goldfish crackers), and yet, the yucky school lunch was more appealing.

    Just found your blog, will be back to read more!


  31. Amen! My kids pretty much eat yogurt w/grapes or PBJ or just J (PB allergy) every day.

  32. My kid is the pickiest child ever, so he eats the same thing every day pretty much. I used to feel self-conscious about what I packed him. Now I figure if anyone complains, then they can come here and slave over a beautiful meal he won’t eat. Good for you – make the PB&Js!!

Speak Your Mind