There are some household chores, like making sure all my books lie flush to the edge of the shelves, that I really don’t mind doing. There are others, including anything that involves getting my hands wet, that I just can’t bear. One of these is making packed lunches.
I know it’s ridiculous, because it only takes a few minutes, but there’s something about knowing I’m going to be putting half of it in the bin in six hours time that makes the whole experience rather futile and depressing.
What’s the point in carefully chopping carrot sticks or crafting individuals cous cous filled pitta parcels when you know you’ll end up scraping most of it off the inside of the lunchbox lid at the end of the day?
One thing I do manage to do though is make a nod to Belle’s five-a-day, unlike 40% of kids, who according to the BBC today are being given lunches with absolutely no fruit or vegetables in at all.
I’m not saying Belle’s lunches are always terribly original or imaginative – “do I have to have marmite every day Mummy?” – but surely it’s not hard just to chuck in an apple or something? Seriously? I cheat a bit and give Belle a carton of fruit juice a day. One out of five. Done. Handful of raisins maybe? Two. Easy peasy. Sometimes I’ll even get her to eat fresh fruit, God willing.
It’s not rocket science is it?
The fact that nearly half of every lunch box in the country is devoid of fruit and veg rather shocked me. How can we expect children to grow up eating a healthy balanced diet if they aren’t even given the opportunity to bring their bananas home, bruised and battered?
I am hoping that Belle will one day develop a love of lunches that will inspire me to take a bit more trouble, but at the moment it’s still a frustrating process.
This morning I was very clear with her. “I want you to eat the blueberries and the yogurt before the raisins or cereal bar. We can use those again if you don’t have room, but you have to eat the fresh things.”
She looked like she’d understood, but she has a tendency to ‘forget’ between leaving home and lunch time, so I always question her when she gets home.
“How did you get on with lunch?” I asked, picturing a lunch box interior smeared with warm yogurt.
“Fine,” she answered, looking a bit shifty, “I ate the blueberries and the yogurt before the other things.”
“Excellent! You ate everything? Well done!”
“Well,” cue awkward shuffling of feet, “nearly everything. Apart from the sandwiches. You didn’t tell me I had to eat those.”
I think the individual pittas are still a long way off…