Lunchbox: What are you packing?

Whenever I read those glowing stories about parenting in France,* the thing that really induces a bit of envy is the school lunch culture: the expectations about what constitutes a meal, about how and when children should devote time to it, and how they should behave at it seems so codified—it removes some of the burden from parents.

I’m not even the one who shoulders the burden around here. I don’t make the lunches—that credit goes to Aron—but just thinking about it exhausts me. I think back to this post on the New York Times’ blog “Motherlode,” “The Lunch You Packed was Nutritionally Inadequate,” which had us wondering at the time, ‘what would the lunch parents think of us if we just kept sending our preschooler to school with the same sandwich every day?’

But even if I don’t expect to ever receive a note judging the contents of our kids’ lunches, I imagine other adults judging it—a panopticon effect.

I do think having a diverse menu matters more to us than it does to the kids. I had chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches (with the crusts cut off) just about every day of elementary-school life and it never bothered me a bit! In fact, it was the days when a substitute that was offered that tended to stand out in a bad way.

But especially now that peanut butter (and many other nut butters) are off the menu, I wonder:

What are your go-to, packable lunches? What did you have in yours growing up?

(And while we’re at it… what sorts of boxes or bags are you packing them in? We have used Bentgos for a couple of years, now.)

Here’s the recipe for the Avocado & Egg rollup pictured above—which I’m thinking now that Skyler might enjoy!

P.S. I love learning about what people had in their lunchbox growing up. Anne Lamont has a great chapter in (the wonderful) Bird by Bird about practicing writing by talking about the funny details of  school lunches. And I once heard a great NPR Marketplace Money story about kids using their fire-hot Cheetos as playground currency.

*French Kids Eat Everything or Bringing Up Bébé come to mind (and are both, actually, great reads).

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