June 28, 2016

Mother's Daily Lunchbox Challenges

By Verena Barthel
Mother's Daily Lunchbox Challenges

Usually every time my children go back to school, I feel a rush of enthusiasm in regards to making some improvements around my childrens lunch boxes.

This spark of enthusiasm normally requires some hunting & collecting time of recipes & any other forms of inspirational lunch box ideas.


Either searching the web high & low or pestering fellow mothers at the bus stop for some refreshing insights into their childrens food intake, has become part of my daily routine by now.

I always feel great and empowered by all these newfound insights.

Next step:

I go for a big shop and buy all these new food groups and fill up our fridge and freezer completely up with these new grocery treasures & ingredients .

For the following next 2-3 weeks I tend to get up bright & early to make sure I will have enough time to prepare these new yummy, delicious & healthy meals, snacks & treats and feeling sooooooo proud of myself that I finally conquered the quest of the lunch box!


But then:

My beautiful two boys returning home, after there long day of school and kindy, either complaining about the food I lovingly prepared or not saying anything at all other than Mum, I am hungry. Can you make me some food.

By then of course I know that the lunch boxes are absolutely untouched (except for a few little nipples or treats missing) and I realize that I have failed once again!

 This usually results in: Going back to what I know they will eat!

Which is usually quite simple, plain & semi healthy.


What can I say?

Lunch boxes as well as mothering has been a massive learning & growing curve for me.

And I am far away from the mother ideal I had, when I was pregnant with my first son.

I always wanted to be this mother who prepares all the meals lovingly in advance, is a fantastic cook, is extremely crafty & innovative, has an answer to every challenge and is able to stay calm and present with my children while there pushing my buttons right over the limits!!

I do have my moments but I am still a work in progress.

And I can see, that even with a simple thing, like filling up a lunchbox, that provides my children with healthy yummy self-made super food, I can feel overwhelmed, frustrated or unhappy at times.

But here is what I did learn:

Understanding how a child works, is an amazing way to see what they need, how they function, what they like to eat and how you can stir them gently into a new direction.

Lets start with my oldest son: Enam, almost 7!

Blog-Lunch Box-1

Enam is quite a good eater, not super fussy but he likes what he likes.

Sometimes it took us (my husband & myself) quite some convincing work (bribing with treats or the occasional force-feeding) to get the food into his stomach.

But in general, Enam DOES LIKE healthy food and he tends to go more for healthy treats, like dried bananas & nuts, he likes eating pumpkin soup and he absolutely loves to drink Kombucha (which we starting to make ourselves at home now).

He has a general interest in preparing the food, collecting food from the garden and planting things.


Therefore he has always been a lot easier to cater for.

I still havent managed to get Olives and SUSHI into him but I am feeling pretty confident that the day will come, when he does open up to these foods too.


My second son Knoa, 4 years, is a totally different person all together.

The only things he always loved eating were:

  • toast with butter & vegemite,
  • bread rolls with butter & vegemite
  • fresh bread plain or with butter & vegemite
  • plain rice &
  • avocado.


He is my toughest case. In regards to lunch boxes, as you can imagine.

That was it for quite a long time.


Now, with 4 years he is slowly opening up (yeahh) to carrots, broccoli, noodles, tofu, chicken, apples, bananas, potatoes, ham, Bolognese & pumpkin soup!!!

I can see that it takes a long time for him to open up to a new foods, or food groups.

But once it is established, it is a solid addition to his diet.

Our youngest is more of a snacker rather than eating a whole meal 3x a day.

Knoa also loves junk food and everything sweet.

He seemed to have a natural tendency to go for the fatty side of life.



For me it has become more about slowly establishing and introducing new healthy foods,

proper meals & snacks that he will keep asking for.

Rewards unfortunately are still part of it:

If youll eat up your lunch, you can have a little treat.

The good knows is, there are a lot of healthy treats out there these days, like Multi-Vitamins in the form of? gummy? bears, Stevia sweetened chocolate, lollies & ice cream made from fruit juice, etc.

As you can see, I do love eating healthy & organic food and I would love for my boys to share this passion.

Unfortunately my children are a bit differently wired and therefore I need to have patients and adapt to there rhythm & speed and observe them in there development to see when they

are ready for some new food and lunch box additions.

And above all, being gentle with myself if I havent lived up the my Super Mum Ideal!