This week, we had a conversation about packing school lunches that went something like this:
Grace: My mom packs peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day.
Sophie: Mmmm, that sounds good. My mom packs different stuff every day.
Grace: Mmmm, I love different stuff.
The lesson to learn from this exchange is this: Someone else’s mother always makes the best lunch. So, what’s a kid to do about it? Get a new mother? Unlikely. Hire a personal chef? Fat chance. Eat Lunchables every day? Nice try.
Write it down! Keeping track of what is packed and consumed can help kids to learn more about their own eating habits, the foods that appeal to them, and helps to them to start to understand what they need to consume in order to be strong and healthy. It also gives them a way to tell you about the foods they love, the foods you should stop packing because they end up in the trash every day, and the good loot that other kids get in their lunchbags.
The Lunch Log provides you and your child with a way summarize and talk about the contents of each day’s lunch. The top section includes the very basics – the date, who packed the lunch, an area to list the contents, and a box for drawing/photos/diagrams. Younger kids can focus on drawing the contents of their lunch and add words as they become more proficient writers. Older kids might use this space to create food collages, write recipes used to create an item in the lunch bag, or to paste a photo. Much older kids can leave this space blank in protest of having to bring a lunch in the first place.
The middle section of the page focuses on nutrition and balance by using two simple concepts – vary the colors of your fruits and vegetables each day as a way to mix up the kinds of nutrients you consume, and try to pack something from each of the major food groups in each day’s lunch.
The bottom section is where the kids get to let loose and tell you how you’re doing, and how much better someone else’s parent is at doing the same job. You can use or ignore any of the comments in this section, but pay close attention to the last bit – it might give you some new ideas for lunchbag items.
Items you will need:
• Mini binder (holds 5.5” x 8.5” sized pages)
• Adjustable 3-hole punch or hand-held paper punch
• Scissors or paper cutter
• Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
• Tape or glue (optional)
• Printed cover and inside pages (see links below)