Monday, December 5, 2011

Packing Lunches (or Morning Mayhem)

It starts at 6:30 a.m.. 

I wake up without hesitation because I have to get my oldest daughter up for middle school. 

Yes.  Middle school.  Where she was once happy to wear her Osh-Kosh B'Gosh tights with her Gymboree kitty cat sweater, she is now all about being "cool". 

I get it.  Even though she doesn't always believe me, I was ten once too. 

While my beautiful daughter is getting ready, I am heading to the kitchen to make two lunches (one for my other sleeping beauty who is thankfully still happy wearing animal apparel. 

And this is how lunch mayhem, I mean assembly works.

1.)  Assemble assortment of items.
2.)  Review items to ensure proper amount of protein.
3.)  Re-review items to ensure that there isn't too many fast acting carbs.
4.)  Re-re-review items to ensure that I actually gave her more than cardboard and dust and that she will actually want to eat the assortment of items.  Remember the "cool" factor.  My perfectly sized Hello Kitty snack containers are a complete no-no.
5.)  Write everything down on a little piece of paper (including amount, portion size, per piece, carb count individual and total) and put it all in a lunch box to go.

When that is done, I sit down with my coffee.  Feeling dazed, I realize that I still need to figure out a snack that doesn't include nuts so that I do not unintentionally hurt or maim anyone allergic in the classroom.

Sometimes during my early morning haze, I wonder (with a little bit of green-eyed jealousy) at how other parents feel when they just send a child to school to get a "prepared at school" lunch.  All they have to remember is to keep their child's school account loaded with money and maybe, a gentle reminder to eat some veggies. 

It seems so darn easy.

My daughter tells me that it is "cool" to eat school lunches because in her mind, most kids do.

Which makes me wonder a bit.  After all, I am "kids first, diabetes second".  I pull up the school's website and look at the menu.

I see a multitude of carb filled items like baby bosco sticks and french toast.  There is no description of ingredients or portion size.  The nutritional facts are completely void.  I also read that there is a grill offering nacho chips and cheese and jumbo soft pretzels with of course, cheese.

Hmmmm.  Is this it?  I suddenly feel torn.

Oh, I am sure that the kids love this.  It is carnival food which will entice even the pickiest of eaters.

Suddently, my Activa yogurt, sweet pepper slices, apple and homemade peanut butter crackers look very uncool.  Even the Fiber One bar - which I tout as a brownie - pales in comparison to the fruit shape up Popsicle offered at middle school.

I shake my head clear... this is not about "kids first, diabetes second".  

This is a choice in parenting.   While I love being able to keep my daughters happy, I also have to instill healthy habits.  The occasional party food isn't going to hurt them but sending them off for a day of instruction and later exams requires brain food.  Certainly, pancakes and syrup are not going to provide that.

What's even harder is that unlike a fun day at home, where I can re-check blood sugars an hour, two hours, or even three hours later, my daughter will be at school, immersed in all things middle school. 

My daughter comes downstairs and does a twirl to show me her newest hairstyle.  I hand her the lunch box and start to explain my logic on healthy eating.

She looks at me and laughs.  "Mama, that is ok.  School lunches are sooooooo uncool!"


Nance said...

I love this post! I feel like I go through the same thing. Even though I don't need to count carbs, I want Ming to have plenty of nutrition and energy for her learing day. I make sure she has protien, slow-acting carbs, healthy fat. I try to balance, meat, veggie, fruit, grain, dairy, but every so often Ming asks to have school lunch and wonders why she can't have the school supplied breakfast. Because it is just tablespoons of sugar and fat I want to say, but I don't. :) This morning was a nice compromise though. She wanted the school lunch, I said OK, but be sure to eat some vegetables too. She said Mom, their veggies are always to sugary and floating in oil can you please send some veggies with me? Yes, yes of course I can. And these are the moments I feel a bit of success!

Naturally Sweet Sisters said...

This is so refreshing and really one of the main reasons that I started writing about parenting. We are all in the same journey with maybe slightly different designer luggage. So nice to learn from each other and maybe this is one tip to take away... Combine home lunch WITH school lunch:) Fantastic!