Monday, January 24

Let's focus on the lunchbox....Gannets and Grazers

Now let me preface this by saying I am no lunchbox veteran.  My 'lunchbox training' was when Eloise started school last year and we regularly go on day trips with our lunchboxes.  I bought about twenty-two lunchboxes last year (Ok a slight exaggeration but not as much as you think, maybe halve that...)

With a lot of trial and error I've found what works for us.  Every family is different but I thought I'd share with you my observations from some two extremes of my family.

The Gannet.
This would be Eloise.  Given the opportunity she would eat all her lunch at recess... or on the way to school.   My gannet loves everything sweet and needs variety, but she's pretty reliable when it comes to bringing home an entry lunchbox.  Bless my gannet.
Gannet Pros/Cons
Pros:  Will eat everything
Cons:  Gets lunchbox envy

Laura I'm sure will fit into this Gannet category, but I expect she won't get lunchbox envy as she's pretty affable.  She's a bit of a chatterbox so I'm expecting that the reason she may not finish her lunch is because she was too busy socialising.  She will learn to eat at the prescribed times pretty soon though when she's starving at end of school time.

Now, my other category:
The Grazer
This is the child who is always last to finish their dinner, has a short attention span with food and it's got to be things they like.  Luckily my grazer likes most things but with school starting I know I'm going to struggle to get her to eat everything in her lunchbox.

Pros/Cons of a Grazer
Pros:  Will eat when they get home if you don't manage to get enough food into them during the day
Cons: can be listless or have concentration problems at school due to lack of enough food in system

What to do?
With a Gannet  - here's my tips
  • Compartmentalised lunchbox - helps them resist the temptation of eating everything at once and sets a bit of a boundry - i.e. this one for playlunch, this one for lunchtime.  I have bought two for this year:
Fit and Fresh - has a 'freezie' component in the middle and two snackboxes.  This one I think will be best for Laura.  A gannet, who likes to talk.  Not too many compartment but firm boundaries on what to eat (i.e. 1 compartment for feed-a-reader, 1 for playlunch, one for lunch.

And also this Boxy one.  I have a feeling this will be the one the best for Eloise - boundaries with lots of variety.

  • The occasional treat - I don't mean a lollipop or a chocolate bar but something packaged or a jellybean or two.  This I have found has helped with lunchbox envy.
  • Variety.  Variety in all lunchboxes of course but I've found with my gannet giving variety can allow them to savour and actually look at and appreciate what they are eating.. also something that might take a little longer to eat too can help.
  • Eloise's favourite lunchbox would be something like:  Macaroni slice, yoghurt, box of sultanas, a little popcorn and homemade mini muffin.
With a Grazer - this has worked for me
  • high protein/quick snack foods.  Like boiled eggs, mini quiches,  yoghurt, cubes of cheese, hommous and carrot sticks, sushi.
  • Not a lot of the one thing - i.e. half a sandwich and lots of 'bits' like dried fruit, fresh fruit cut up.
  • Compartmentalised lunchboxes works well but not too many bits to open - tupperware one is best

  • Olivia's favourite lunchbox would be half a sandwich, cut in half (I.e. two quarters) some grapes, some yoghurt, a few cheese cubes and some water crackers.
Now let's not forget the drinks!  I have some of those wonderful Cheeki BPA free Stainless Steel bottles.  I find they keep everything cold a bit longer than conventional drink bottles.  Pop them in the night before... now if you can't get your child to drink all their water in a day, maybe just pop a bit of juice in the bottom like you would cordial.  Works for me on hot days.

Of course not everyone is lucky enough to have such good eaters, even if they do have different eating styles.  I found some great information over at Kate di Parma's site (she's a nutritionist with school kids like us) the Ultimate Lunchbox  especially in regards to fussy eaters.

So what do you have?  A Gannet or a Grazer?

Psst: Come back this afternoon, I have a fun giveaway!

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2 lovely comments:

Kristie on January 24, 2011 at 2:06 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I have both! She goes through phases of eating massively with no thought about what it is, just eat eat eat... and then she'll go through a grazing phase where she will eat a bit of this, a bit of that, rarely finishing what she started. She's going to be a right challenge this year!

Penelope on January 24, 2011 at 6:30 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Emily is a bit hit and miss...have bought her an insulated cooler bag and plan to put a sandwich/slice/quiche in a Tupperware sandwich keeper, then use a few nude food movers for other snacks...

Of course this is our first year of full days including lunch so we will see how we go...


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