I’m gonna carve this fruit into NO: School lunches, the lazy way


image via sxc

Image via sxc

Let me tell you what my kids eat for lunch at school every day: a ham and cheese sandwich, milk, and an apple or a banana. Maybe grapes or strawberries if we’re feeling frisky.

AAAAAAAAAND that’s all we got, folks. I know that there are parents who are able to provide a variety of options (completely nut-free, of course) for their child every day. Mike and I are not among them. This is not only because we are a) lazy and b) out of ideas, but also because our children are not culinary adventurers. These are children who throw a fit at the idea of going to a restaurant that doesn’t serve mac and cheese. They aren’t exactly craving options. There’s no “Not this tired old pasta dish again” going on at my house.

We figure that as long as we can get away with giving them the same thing day after day, we’ve struck gold and are going to go with it.

There’s a certain pressure you feel, however, with school lunches. Hearing about all of the wonderful food other parents provide for the kids each day makes me feel a little shitty for about a minute before I remember how much work that must be. And even if it isn’t a lot of work, it’s more than NO work at all, which is where are happily residing right now.

I do think, however, that some parents take it too far. For example, take this advice from gvparent.com:

Presentation counts

Kids love to open their lunchbox to brightly-wrapped treats. Whether you turn to creative bag designs or colored plastic wrap, this fun packaging makes unwrapping lunch like unwrapping presents. Adding stickers and special notes can make eating even more fun.

Holy shitballs, people. Presentation? For school lunches? My only form of presentation is cutting the crusts off their sandwiches, and I only remember to do that half the time.

Want to know what my lunches looked like growing up?



Oh yeah. Drink it in, bitches. What we have here is your classic brown paper bag, usually damp for no apparent reason by the time you got it at lunch. Inside, you would find a sad little peanut butter and jelly sandwich, squashed flat so your sandwich was now about as thick and filling as your New Kids On The Block folder. Accompanying that would be a warm container of grape juice (apple if you were lucky) along with a brown banana.

And you know what? WE ATE IT. You know why? CUZ WE WERE HUNGRY.

So no, my children will not experience giraffes made of cheddar cheese or Eiffel Towers made from salsa…though if you can pull off that last one, my hat is off to you.

Here are some examples from Parenting.com. The article was titled, “20 Easy Bento Lunch Boxes.” Yeah…easy. I think Parenting.com needs to go make another robot out of driftwood collected from their local beach and stop judging me.

I don't what kind of sample platter this is supposed to be, but I say no.

I don’t what kind of sample platter this is supposed to be, but I say no.

For fuck's sake, people. The kiwi is carved into a flower. And how do bend a sandwich that way? The answer: practice. Lots of lonely, sad practice.

For fuck’s sake, people. That kiwi is carved into a flower. And how do you bend a sandwich that way? The answer: practice. Lots of late night, just-you-and-memories-of-past-failures-and-a-bottle-of-gin practice.

Thanks for cutting a hole out of the bread, which is the best part of the sandwich. Also, what exactly are the eyes made of? I'm going with felt tipped marker.

Thanks for cutting a hole out of the bread, which is the best part of the sandwich. Also, what exactly are the eyes made of? I’m going with meticulously carved and sized pieces of STOP IT.

Enjoy what is apparently an uncooked chicken breast made to look like a pig. Mommy loves you.

Enjoy what is apparently a pile of ham slices made to look like a pig. It’s the circle of life, son. Mommy loves you.

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for art. In this case, that means serving your child two balls of rice with half an ounces of cheese and a few raisins for lunch. Et, voila!

Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for art. In this case, that means serving your child two balls of rice with half an ounce of cheese and six raisins for lunch. But if that doesn’t float your boat, you can always have the asparagus or the tomatoes! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Sometimes, you guys, a child’s happiness is not worth the means to get there. Sometimes an extra half hour of sleep in the morning or an extra hour of The Voice at night trumps the laugh of a child at seeing a panda made of quinoa and tabbouleh or whatever the hell good moms feed their kids.

As for me, I’ll be eating baloney sandwiches in hell one day, where not a single strand of carrot confetti is to be found.



  1. Um, you are just as funny as honest toddler. Just sayin.

  2. Oh THANK YOU for calling out that bento BS. I would scroll through those lovely edible works of art and get all worked up if I saw them on a site inviting me to make these (and not get paid). Who is prepping lunches like that for kids who will eat food OFF THE FLOOR? (Other people’s kids eat off the floor too, right?) Anyway, you nailed it. I love this.
    Liza Wyles recently posted..Click the Vote!My Profile

  3. I don’t care how cutsie those meals are…there are toothpicks in there! Could you imagine the headline? “Kindergartner Suspended For Having Shiv in Cafeteria” Oh, no no no, you don’t understand, I needed something to squish my flower-shaped cheese between a cherry tomato!
    Tahlia B. recently posted..Week in Freebies 4/29/13My Profile

  4. OMG…name me one mom who actually does this and I will happily punch her in the face. My kid wouldn’t even eat half that crap in those pictures.

    These articles are nothing but total bullshit made up to try and make all of us feel guilty. Nobody has the time or the money to invest in that trying to “church up” a school lunch.

    So to you, parenting.com, I call BS!
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  5. Hahaha this post made my day! Seriously…I am “lol” all the way my better half asked me if I am ok 🙂
    To be honest I admire these lunches – I mean, they really ARE creative. But then again – arranging a lunch box like that does not make it any tastier or healthier….I would never do that for my niece&nephew on a regular basis, or even once a month, but on a special occasion, if I want to surprise them with something…maybe for their bday? Who knows.
    I guess another side of this is that there are kids who are fussy eaters. Maybe that helps? I won’t judge, I have had several problems with the little ones and food and I know a parent will go out of his way to make the kid eat at least SOMETHING.
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  6. Oh for fucks sake, who has time for that nonsense? I stand proudly with you on the my kids get the same thing every day because that is what they will eat.

  7. Hahaha…. this is the best article I’ve read in a while.
    Ann Drury recently posted..Green Giant Veggie Snack Chips- Bzzagent ReviewMy Profile

  8. A bagel & grapes here. Sometimes watermelon replaces the grapes. If. My son saw anyone of those in his lunch box he’d have a total meltdown. I’ll take boring & eaten any day.

  9. I love looking at the Bento boxes, even thought about buying some once…but only for the fact that the containers stack when full and I wouldn’t have to find a bag to cram everything into. My child is only 7 months old, but I do occasionally send leftovers with his father to work (wouldn’t he just poop bricks if he went to eat his leftover pizza and I had turned it into an astronaut or something).

    As a side note though…those aren’t raisins on those cows…it’s tiny bits of seaweed cut out to look like cow spots (because any kid worth his salt will eat seaweed, right?)!

  10. I almost lost my shit when my oldest hit Kindergarten and I found out I couldn’t send PBJ anymore. Were there actually other options? I actively try to talk up whatever is on the school lunch menu and when that fails the last thing I’m doing is crafting a happy scene with lunch. Loved this post!

  11. Fellow parent : “Um, your son had 6 mini-powdered donuts for lunch. I think he forgot the rest of it at home.”
    Me : “No. He just wanted 6 powdered donuts for lunch.”
    Fellow parent: “Oh. I read this great article that tells you how to make healthy lunches look exciting for picky eaters.”
    Me : “No thanks. He doesn’t not eat veggies because of how they look. He doesn’t eat them because they taste like dog poopie. His words not mine. I don’t want to know why he has the authority to make that comparison. Thanks anyway.”
    As an aside that was the only day lunch consisted of 6 powdered donuts. The reality of that particular culinary delight didn’t quite live up to the fantasy. The good old PB&J, Goldfish crackers, and apple returned the very next day.

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