Tag Archives: healthy eating

Lunch Log, 2nd Edition

4 Apr

A few years ago, after a conversation between Sophie and her cousin Grace, we realized that when it comes to lunch, someone else’s always looks better.  To help the girls keep track of what they liked about their own lunch, and what they spied in someone else’s lunch that looked particularly tasty, we created The Lunch Log.  Like every great worksheet project, they used it for awhile until it lost its luster.  Over the past two years, we’ve pulled it out and used it occasionally, usually when the lunch whining became particularly strong.

Recently, we’ve been talking about tracking food again, but this time for a different purpose.  For quite some time, Sophie has had stomachaches, and we can’t quite figure out what is causing her trouble.  We’ve tried adding more of certain foods into her diet, cut back on other things, and encouraged her to drink lots of water.  Some days are definitely better than others, but we’re not seeing consistent results.  In conversations with friends, I know that there are lots of families who are having similar experiences.  It’s easy to spot the connection between what you eat and how you feel, but identifying foods that are causing trouble takes some time and diligence.  It is a slow and tedious process.

Fact: There may be a direct connection between stomachache reduction and worksheet completion.*

*Totally not a fact.

While no worksheet has been scientifically proven to cure stomachaches, tracking what you eat and noting how you feel after doing so can certainly help to make the connections between food and the way your body feels.  By writing it all down, we’re reducing some of the mystery and giving us the tools we’ll need to pay attention and find patterns.

Tracking is easy – simply complete the worksheet after each meal.  If your child is a pretty good reader and writer, let them do the writing and add details as needed.  At the end of the day, use the Recap section as a way to identify whether there was enough variety in the foods consumed to provide the nutrients needed for wellness and growth.  Overall, the goal is to create an awareness between what you eat and how you feel, so don’t worry too much about 100% accuracy.  Unless 100% accuracy is very important to you, in which case I apologize that I’m using LUNCH to represent ALL FOOD CONSUMED REGARDLESS OF THE TIME OF DAY.

lunch log_diagram_v2_Page_2

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
• Pencil
• Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
• Printed cover and inside pages (see links below)

Print it:
Lunch Log, 2nd Edition – Lunch Log Cover, Instructions, Inside Pages
Lunch Log, 2nd Edition – Inside Pages Only

Lunch Log

5 Aug

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.

Lunch Log
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
• Pencil
• Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
• Tape or glue (optional)
• Printed cover and inside pages (see links below)

Printable Pages:
Cover, directions, and inside pages
Inside pages only