Lunch and Snacks…

Mom’s share the experience which builds independence, responsibility, and engagement in healthy eating. Don’t be a lunch martyr!

So often when it comes to making lunches, we moms often take it as our responsibility to plan and prepare the lunches for all members of the family. I did it. When I look back, I needed to engage my boys in the process. Sure, I asked them what they would like for lunch and would purchase items that I knew they liked or healthy items they requested, but I vaguely remember only a few times that we prepared lunches together. Returning home, I was the one who emptied the lunch bags, sometimes complaining that foods weren’t eaten. Ugh, slimy and stinky reusable containers were quickly tossed into a soapy sink and lunch bags were wiped out. I remember that by the time the holidays hit I was so grateful to not have to do the task. Once the boys entered high school, for the most part, the boys assumed preparing and planning their own lunches, often buying them at school or coming home. I hate to admit this, but even today I wince when I think of making lunch for anyone else. Dinner can also be an unwelcome chore. I do like to cook and prepare food, but I just am over being the chief cook.

The big question is why did I become the lunch martyr? At the time it seemed easier to prepare the lunches myself with no discussion from the peanut gallery. I often would make less mess and I could get the job done faster. The problem is the immediate peace of mind gain became my ‘pain’ and did not reap as many long-term benefits for all of us.

My advice: supervise and engage your kids in the planning and preparation of lunch at least once a week and even better three to four days per week. In addition, every day, get them to clean their own lunch bags once they return home. When you prepare lunch, why not maybe add extra creativity, add an extra healthy treat plus include a special note of encouragement.


  • Your children will be practicing the essential life skill of taking responsibility for the healthy food that they put in their bodies. Under your guidance, they will have to make decisions in making nutritious choices and limiting the treats. Food becomes less of a parental control item.
  • Your children will become more proficient in food preparation.
  • The process engages your child in choosing ecologically friendly food packaging and recycling, so they are taking daily environmentally-friendly action.
  • Your kids might have more appreciation for the lunch you prepare.
  • Your children will experience the ugliness of cleaning lunch bags and might be more careful when packing up uneaten food and used containers.
  • Take a look at this article for further benefits!
  • In your empty-nester years, you might still enjoy food prep and not be burnt out of being the chief cook, like this 900-year-old fairy, lol.

Bottom line remember we are human and we all just want to raise responsible and happy kids! You need to do what works for you and your family. My suggestion to engage the kids is just that a suggestion and it might not work for you and your family. I have the luxury of being a retiree with time to reflect on what I might have done differently, which in the end, may not have had the best consequences. Young moms are faced with exceptional social media perfection pressure and competition which can be hard to shut out or keep in perspective. The internet offers inspiration, but it should not be used to measure our worthiness or compete with others. Why not take the first step and start a conversation with your family about lunches? They might surprise you with ideas and initiative!