At the beginning of each school year, I read all kinds of inspiring articles about lunchbox creativity. I buy “fun” (and healthy) new items to try, but within a month or so, we’ve settled into a few easy favorites (and by favorites I mean things that, for the most part, get eaten). This leads to Big rolling his eyes when I tell him what’s for lunch and me lecturing him about manners. But, frankly, I don’t blame him. I get tired of the same stuff too.
So when I saw what my friend, Terra, did with her boys recently, I had to share it. (It’s no surprise the most playful, unique spin I’ve seen on taste testing came from the owner of one of the coolest online stores for unique baby gifts—no exaggeration—FlyingPeas.com.) Prepare to be impressed…
When Terra’s son asked if he could “take a break from carrots”, she realized she was struggling with lunchbox creativity. But how does a dedicated mom of three—who also happens to work in the corporate world and run her own business—have the time or energy to spice things up for kids who tend to resist trying new things?
By making a game out of it, of course. One that would excite and empower her little guys and allow her to walk away with a great new list of food ideas.
Terra was well prepared. She started by making green, yellow and red voting cards with her kids’ initials on them to represent yes, maybe and no. Being the smarty pants that she is, she made 16 green, 8 red and 4 yellows for each kid—since letting them vote no on everything would defeat the purpose.
She invited the boys to come play the game and presented them with small tastes of a variety of foods, ranging from veggies to meats. As they sampled each item, the boys proudly cast their votes. Terra then snapped a picture of the food with the cards to be sure she could remember later. (Though she said if she did it again, she’d write the names of each food on a label sticker in advance, then just slap it on the card after each vote.)
After clean up (ok, so there is one downside to this activity), she put the results into a spreadsheet and printed one to keep in the kitchen and one to give to the kids’ nanny. Brilliant, right?
Ok parents, I challenge you to give this a try. I’m going to and I’ll be sure to share my results. It should be interesting in our house since Little is one of the pickiest eaters on earth…or maybe he’s just plain bored! Goodness knows my boys will love, love, love having the chance to form their very own opinion (that’s kind of their thing, after all), choosing the right color and casting their vote. Stay tuned…
A huge thank you to Terra for the inspiration (did I mention she’s the Terra of FlyingPeas, unique baby gifts fame?). If you have ideas that have worked well for your family, or if you give this a try, please share in the comments!