Tomorrow will be the first day my 5-year old daughter takes a packed lunch to school. We’ve chosen the Ladybird lunchbox and matching flask but what the hell do I put inside for five days a week? That’s hundreds of sandwich/wrap/pitta bread combinations.
Furthermore, what will her friends be eating? We’re new to the school and the area and so, as yet, we have no friends. No friends to discuss the contents of the daily lunch box. My husband tells me to relax and just fill the Ladybird with whatever I feel is best for our daughter. I’m thinking about what the other children, their mums, the dinner ladies, the teachers and the TAs will think of my choices. Too healthy = I’m a delusional food-snob who deprives my child of joy; too unhealthy = I’m a delusional food pleb who deprives my child of nutrition. What to do?!
I’d like to pack slices of cucumber and carrots; pots of guacamole and hummus; jars of olives and roasted red peppers; and a tub of alfalfa and a wheatgrass shot for the morning snack.
Alas, my daughter wouldn’t touch my lunch box of choice. Therefore, I’m going to have to pack the items I think she will eat. I’ve asked and she wants a ham sandwich, a Petits Filous and a banana. That’s fine, for the first day and maybe the second, but I can’t keep serving up ham sandwiches for the rest of the school year. Ham? Ham? Reconstituted arse-hole meat. She loves it.
She also loves sausages (more arseholes) and fish fingers (do fish have arseholes?). Not the healthiest but it is not a reflection of the food we eat at home or in restaurants. I loathe going out to eat and being presented with the ‘kiddies menu.’ No matter how refined or expensive the establishment, the same old shite is offered; usually, it just has a different name disguising its crapness. Fish fingers become ‘goujons’ and chicken nuggets turn into, “chicken nibbles.’ It’s all Pedigree Chum no matter what it’s called and how ornate the font is on the children’s menu.
However, when we do eat out, at least my son will polish off a plate of whitebait or mackerel pate, so I don’t have to feel too much of a pikey for ordering sausages and smash for my daughter. Furthermore, my daughter’s peers and teachers do not join us for lunch and so no one can judge us for our food choices. They will tomorrow. I certainly did when I worked in a school and had the arduous task of supervising 100 primary school kids devouring their daily slop. Golden Syrup sandwiches, Billy Bear ‘meat’, and those peculiar plastic cheese things you peel. Cheese you peel? Peeling cheese? Which cow did that come from? A pack of Biros has more nutrients.
Perhaps I can pack the crap my daughter has asked for, and squeeze a little green salad on the side, so the teachers will know I am aware my daughter needs to eat healthily and will hopefully prevent the ‘Importance of a Healthy Diet’ leaflet being stuffed in her book bag.
I will give her a penguin in the car.