This is a post from Jillian Riley of A Mom with a Lesson Plan provided by our sponsor Del Monte. This content was commissioned by our brand partner. Such content is not written by, and does not necessarily reflect the views of parents.com.
After a summer full of together time the approaching school year is bittersweet. With a 3rd grader and a 2nd grader, I am excited about having some full days dedicated to kid free work time. But I'll miss the long games and extra cuddles that come with lazy summer days.
Another change that happens when school starts is food. At home I choose what the kids eat for snack and lunch. It's easy to provide a grazing tray with healthy snacks and fill their plates with just as much lunch as they need. For school, filling their lunch box seems like it should be just as simple.
But then kids are kids... and Mom is not standing close by.
Problem #1 - Trading Food. It's bound to happen. The kid next to yours will bring an exciting food that you NEVER buy. You will send a special sandwich that someone else just has to try and before the monitoring adult knows what's happened the cafeteria has become a trading event.
The Rule - Eat What's Packed in Your Lunch Box. As a family, talk about why it's important that your kids eat what you've packed. You plan and pack foods that will fuel their body and brain. You know what they've had for breakfast and you probably know what they'll have for dinner. If someone has something that your kids would like to try they can write down the name or try to describe it to you. If it's something you want to serve great! If it's not get creative and make a version that works for you.
Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers and Del Monte Fruit cups come in a variety of yummy flavors. Everyone will want to trade with your kid! (And he won't be willing to give it up.) Enter the Del Monte Facebook contest and let them know if it's squeeze or spoon at your house.
Problem #2 - Throwing Food Away. It actually never occurred to me that this might happen until my son's teacher told me they were having a problem with kids throwing away their food. At first it may not seem like that big of a deal, but then I thought more about it. Imagine the Mom who sends her daughter with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich day after day. The daughter throws that sandwich in the trash every day and comes home with an empty lunch box. The Mom then assumes the sandwiches are adored and gobbled up everyday. If she knew... she would probably switch up the main dish for something that would actually be eaten!
The Rule - Uneaten Food Gets Put Back in the Lunch Box. This is a great rule for two reasons. My kids bring home a lot of food because they are too busy chatting to eat. I don't mind. They eat what I packed on the way home as an afternoon snack. It's also a great rule because I know the amount of food they are eating. Kids tend to go through spurts. Some weeks they will eat and eat and eat. Other's they will barely touch their food. This let's me know just how much to pack.
Del Monte Fruit Burst Squeezers contain 1 1/2 servings of real fruit and is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Plus they have NO high-fructose corn syrup and NO artificial flavors.
With these simple "Lunch Box Rules" lunchtime is a healthy event no matter where the kids are eating. YAY for that!