My daughter Madeleine started making her own lunch in grade 2.
I find it incredible how many people react with shock and horror (…okay, maybe not horror–but genuine disbelief would be an accurate description). You wouldn’t believe how many different responses I still get (she’s now in Grade 6), when I tell people that she is responsible for making her own lunch. (don’t get me wrong, I still supervise and make sure she has enough food and balanced choices, but she does do all the work herself)
It is crazy to me! I mean, I was making my own lunch in grade school…and so were all of my friends. Why is it so different now?
In today’s culture, it is not uncommon to see parents preparing lunches for their children well into high school (…and sometimes beyond). I wonder, what does that mean for our kids? How does this help them? How does this prepare them? What does this teach them?
Top 5 reasons for having my kid make her own lunch:
1. It makes her accountable and responsible for something everyday.
2. She actually eats all of what is in her lunch, because she gets to choose what goes in it. There is no wasted food (which is my biggest pet peeve!)
3. She learns to regulate her own body and know how much she needs to eat to feel satisfied and full.
4. She learns some basic food preparation skills.
5. She learns how to choose a balanced meal–she has to think about what aspects she needs in a complete meal. ( so she doesn’t end up eating rice cakes and crackers every day, finishing off with the candy my Mom has sent home for her…)
6. bonus answer… I don’t love making lunches. Now, I don’t have to.
What kinds of things does she pack?
Typically she chooses cut up vegetables, cheese and crackers/plain rice cakes, dip, apples or bananas, muffins, pita and salsa, leftover rice or pasta or soup (depending on what we have left over from dinner, and what will fit in her thermos…). Occasionally she’ll make herself a sandwich and she almost always has some kind of treat. All I have to do, is make sure the choices are there and the fridge is full. She does the rest herself. Yes!
~this is a good one to make a bunch of, it will keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
Chick Pea and Feta Dip
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- a pinch of red chili flakes
- 2 cups of canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons water, plus more for thinning out puree
- 1 tablespoon tahini or almond butter
- juice of 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup crumbled feta (divided)
Heat a pot or saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Heat for another minute then add the onion and garlic. Saute until the onion and the garlic are soft. Don’t brown the garlic!
Add thyme, cumin, chili flakes, chickpeas and 2 tablespoons of water
Turn the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
Pour the chickpeas into a food processor. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice and the tahini, and blend until smooth. It will take 5-7 minutes to get the puree totally smooth. Drizzle in water as the chickpeas blend to help thin out the puree and make the texture smoother. You’ll probably add anywhere between 2-4 tablespoons to reach your desired texture. Add salt and more red pepper flakes to taste. Once cooled, mix in 1/2 cup of the feta cheese.
Scrape the puree in a bowl and sprinkle the rest of the feta cheese on top. Serve at room temperature with vegetables, naan or crackers.