When your kids are young, it is a given that you, the mommy, are going to be the school lunch maker. This is the only way to ensure that your child does not end up making themselves cookie sandwiches or ketchup quesadillas to take to school for lunch.

When your kids are young, it is a given that you, the mommy, are going to be the school lunch maker. This is the only way to ensure that your child does not end up making themselves cookie sandwiches or ketchup quesadillas to take to school for lunch.


The problem with being the school lunch maker, though, is that I am also the breakfast cooker, the bed maker, the laundry lady, and the caretaker who feeds all of our millions of pets. To do all this, I routinely have to wake up an hour before everyone else to get everything done. Since I am not a morning person, this means there is always a 50/50 chance the kids will end up with dog kibble in their lunch box and the dog will get a PB&J sandwich in his bowl.


Fortunately, by the time my kids hit middle school, I thought I could see the light at the end of the school lunch tunnel. Confident that they finally had the maturity to make good food choices, I decided to give them a crash course in lunch making.


“This is the refrigerator,” I said to them after gathering them in a kitchen for School Lunch 101. “It is where we keep the actual food, unlike the pantry, which you are very familiar with, where we keep the stuff that pretends to be food, such as the chips and cookies.”


“OK,” they said in unison.


“Here you will find all the things you need to make a sandwich, such as bread, deli meat, lettuce and mustard.”


“How does it all actually get onto the bread?” asked my son.


“You must put it on there, young Padawan,” I instructed.


“Ohhh. OK.”


I then pointed to the lowest shelf.


“In this drawer we have the fruit,” I continued. “This is real fruit, not like that fruit leather stuff you guys like to chew. Unlike the fruit leather, the real fruit is actually made from fruit.”


“Whoa!” They said incredulously.


“I know. Crazy, right? And it comes from trees! Who’d a thought?”


“Finally, we have the pantry,” I continued, escorting them to a nearby cupboard. “You already know the pantry. It is where we keep the food-esque items that have labels with ingredients no one can pronounce which enables the items to last into the next millennium.”


“These items are what we call ‘snacks,’” I continued. “A snack size serving is this much,” I said, grabbing a handful of chips. “Not this much,” I said as I held up the entire 14oz bag. 


“Ohhh,” they nodded in understanding.


“So, are we clear on the whole lunch thing now?” I asked.


“Yes!”


“Great,” I said. “So what’s for lunch tomorrow?”


“I dunno?” said my son. “What are you making?”


Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyinSuburbia