Forget Pinterest. Here's the lunchbox your kids actually need.

I hate it when I unpack my children’s lunchboxes only to find barely-touched food in them. Thanks to their schools No Rubbish policy requiring students to take their rubbish home each day, they can’t just throw their lunch away and pretend they’ve eaten it. They have to fess up and explain to me why they haven’t eaten it.

It’s a good thing really. Instead of demanding to know why they haven’t eaten their lunch (AFTER ALL THE TROUBLE I WENT TO) I just asked them if they liked their lunch that day and why they didn’t get to eat it.

Now we have regular conversations about the food they like and don’t like, and the food they loved yesterday but from today have decided not to like anymore. I get all the feedback, from what kind of apples I buy to how I cut their sandwiches.

Yep, it’s a good thing (broken voice, looking longingly at the wine in the fridge).

"Now we have regular conversations about the foods they like and don’t like." Image via iStock.

That’s my advice for achieving lunch box success with your kids. Not TV commercials and buying whatever is on special at the supermarket, and definitely NOT Pinterest.


There’s something I want to say about bloody PINTEREST. Those pages filled with pretty and creative lunch box ideas consisting of food with googly eyes on them (for God’s sake!) and all the rest of it were not created by children who actually have to eat those lunches, they were created by parents who probably don’t know that their kids are opening their lunch boxes in a way so that their friends can’t see that their food has googly eyes in them, or that their sandwich is in the shape of a star, or that mum has left another hand-written note about how much she loves her “little man” or “special princess”.

Don’t you know you embarrass your children enough just by yelling out “I love you” at kiss and drop without ruining the rest of their school life by packing ridiculous lunch boxes?

"Those pages filled with pretty and creative lunch box ideas consisting of food with googly eyes on them." Image via Pinterest.

I remember my oldest stopped eating his lunch all together for an entire week and when I asked him why, he was downright evasive. When pressed (TELL ME WHY!?!) he confessed that he wasn’t even taking his lunch box out of his bag anymore because he has started playing handball and it was really hard to get a handball court so he had to run from class straight away “or someone else gets them all, Mum”. A simple ham and cheese sandwich ended up doing the trick. Why? Well, it leaves one hand free to whack that winning shot straight past the line, of course.


Now each week before I do the grocery shopping I ask them all what they like and don’t like and make a list. I can do the grocery shopping in less than two minutes from pretty much two aisles, the bread aisle and the aisle with the chiller that has the ham, cheese and hummus. Before you know it - I have a couple of week’s worth of school lunches sorted.

I don’t need to visit the craft aisle for googly eyes...

I don’t have to go to the baking aisle for cookie cutters for sandwiches...

I don’t have to buy note paper for leaving notes in their lunch boxes because they have banned me from doing that ever again...

They know they have to choose a fruit to go with their recess and something fresh to go with their sandwich. They can choose the kind of fruit, the vegetables I’ll cut up into sticks, the kind of bread they prefer and how they want it cut. They can choose ham or salami or chicken slices, with or without butter and cheese (no tomato because it goes soggy). They know it’s going to be healthy and delicious… and not cut into a star shape.

"They know they have to choose a fruit to go with their recess and something fresh to go with their sandwich." Image via iStock.

I still go to the effort of lovingly rolling up ham slices or grating carrot instead of just cutting it into sticks. I can’t help myself. I pretty much get away with anything, except notes.

Children are so forgiving of parental attempts to humiliate them, bless them - but let’s avoid them wherever we can.

What do you pack for school lunch?

Speaking of Pinterest lunchboxes...