Normally, I try to grocery shop without the kids. But that’s not always possible. Recently, I had my 6-year-old, Jack, and 8-year-old, Mark, along to pick out their lunch for the week and they knew what they wanted: Kraft’s dreaded Lunchables, with a list of 27 ingredients, many of which even I can’t pronounce.
Hoping for a teachable moment, I gave my kids an impossible mission: find a Lunchables with 6 ingredients or less. They flipped box after box with no luck. Aggravated, Mark rummaged through my cart and flipped over my bag of cauliflower to look at the ingredients list. “What’s it say?” I asked. “Cauliflower,” he replied, clearly exasperated.
To avoid an uprising, we collaborated and came up with a healthy, do-it-yourself alternative that makes us all happy. Using Ziploc 3-compartment containers and reusable silicone cupcake liners for additional partitioning, we put together our own Lunchables with nitrate-free ham or turkey, cheddar cheese, Triscuits, grapes and carrots. Best of all, we’ve reduced the ingredient list and taken out the tongue twisters.
The pace of life today makes it necessary to take advantage of teachable moments like these. My kids now understand that if there is an ingredient on a box that they (emerging readers) can’t pronounce, they should look for a better choice. A healthy lunch will get them through the day. The ability to make healthy decisions… that’s for life.
Jennifer Lynds is a mother of three (Jack, 6; Mark, 8; Rachel, 12) from Warren, PA. Her approach to healthy eating includes obtaining the majority of her food locally and minimizing food waste.