Guest Post by Cassandra Head
I guess you think I am going to tell you all about my amazing successes with school lunches? Well, I would, if I had any! I am actually going to tell you about some of my strategies to get my kids to actually eat lunch without tempting them with, well, good wholesome food.
Before I tell you any tales about my 2 boys, I must first paint the picture of my childhood school lunch background. I was the middle child with an annoying younger (baby) sister and an older brother who was (and still is) spina bifida. So I was the meat in the sandwhich (pardon the pun). My busy Mum would bake beautiful homemade cakes and lovingly prepare my lunch for school every morning. While I can’t remember what filling was in my sandwiches, (probably because I never ate them), I suspect it was vegemite. I don’t think I was too clever to destroy the evidence before I got home but I vaguely recall contributing to land fill very generously (if you get my drift!) I do, however remember trading my homemade cakes for trashy bought stuff like Madeira cake and biscuits out of a packet, yuk (?).
To me those things were far more appealing than homemade moist chocolate cake with no preservatives or chemical additives and real eggs made with real love! And on the blackboard market, homemade was highly valued and traded. Yes even in my day kids would trade for homemade very readily. Tuckshop was a treat, once a week and I can still remember staring at a meat pie in my hand, with two bites out of it about to throw it into the rubbish bin, feeling wracked with guilt about the heinous crime to my Mum I was about to commit. How many New Idea’s and coffee shop coffees did my Mum go without so I could have a meat pie for lunch, like all the other kids, and here I was throwing it away except for 2 bites. I am squirming with shame as I type!
Enough of that – I progressed through early adulthood having vegemite sandwiches for lunch every day for the next 20 years when I graduated to salad roll-ups and the staple (vegemite sandwich). My Mum still loves me, by the way and has forgiven me, of course!
Okay so to my kids, who have the same amount of respect for school lunches as I did. In fact they would much rather not have any lunch at all. They would be quite happy just to take an empty lunch box to school just to please the lunch duty teachers and to blend in with all the other kids! Lunchtimes are for playing, not eating. Who wants to eat when there is stuff to do, fun to have. How can you even think of food at a time like that? Boys. That’s all I can say!
Here is a list of (I am embarrassed to admit this) some of the things I tried to get my kids to eat school lunches. Forget good healthy food, it didn’t rate, we are talking desperate measures here!
- Hundreds & thousands on bread
- Suggesting (threatening) to go to school to sit down at lunchtime and watch Son eat lunch
- Suggest (threaten) to organize with school for son to sit at the Principal’s office to eat lunch
- Various form of junk, chips, lollies (thanks for banning those schools!)
- Baking every tasty slice and biscuit on the planet
But I am no better off for anything I have tried. Which brings me to the finale. All I can say is, trust a bloke to do it.
Dad on school morning duty due to Mum starting work at 5.30am, youngest son asked what he wants for lunch replies “nothing”. So you guessed it, that’s what Dad sent for school lunch, nothing, zip, no morning tea, no drink (they have bubblers at school don’t they?).
Well, first I heard of it was when I checked my mobile phone early in the afternoon at work and see five messages from the school. I panicked and rang the school straight away. I was very politely told that Tom had not come to school with any lunch and they were very concerned. They did get in contact with Dad to bring some lunch to the school for him. Read (do not let this happen again it is not acceptable)!
Well far be it for me to offer any advice on school lunches for fussy eaters or busy kids, I can advise you that I do have extremely energetic & healthy growing boys who have not been damaged by my lack of school lunch standard. So there!
Cassandra Head is a Rainbow Beach Mum of two boys and runs Rainbow Beach Hire a Camp Service.