Today has been all about lunches! (To prepare for the Brown Bag Challenge, of course!) My earliest lunch memories (circa mid-70’s) consisted of a bologna sandwich on homemade bread in an actual brown paper bag! My dearest wish was one day my Mom would pack peanut butter and jelly. I tried to convince her a PB&J would make me popular. I was alone in a universe of PB&J eating people. My seven-year old brain was convinced I was the only kid on the planet who had to eat bologna. Mom explained peanut butter and jelly would be mushy by noon and who wants a mushy sandwich? ME! I wanted a mushy sandwich! A sweet, sticky, mushy peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich on Wonder Bread. It was my grade-school lunch fantasy. Alas, it was bologna on homemade bread that traveled with me to school every day. As I got older I started trading for things. There were little toys and rubber balls exchanged for a Ding-Dong or potato chips. I even remember doing someone’s homework in exchange for Oreos! All the sweet stuff I was never allowed to have, I bargained and bantered to get. In high school things changed. We went from bringing our lunch to buying it in the cafeteria or simply doing without. No one. I mean no one brought their lunch in high school. It just wasn’t cool. I do remember the cafeteria having huge tubs of thousand island dressing (which was heavenly), paying for salad by weight and wrapping cans of soda in aluminum foil because we thought it would keep it cold longer. Ahhh, the 80’s.
Fast forward several years and I was packing lunch for my kids. Obviously traumatized by my lack of PB&J, I made sure they got sandwiches on Wonder Bread and some other stuff I missed: Goldfish crackers, pudding cups, juice boxes, string cheese, etc. My youngest says he traded for Ding-Dongs because that’s what all the “cool kids” were eating. Interesting! I don’t know why I never put Ding-Dongs in their lunches. I guess that will be their PB&J fantasy when they are feeding their own children. I do remember putting carrot sticks in their lunches occasionally. Those carrot sticks made me feel better about not having an entirely “healthy” lunch for each of them. I’m certain they never ate those carrots though.
Fast forward again to today. My oldest son is out of the house and shopping for himself. He loves organic foods and makes salad almost every day for lunch. My daughter is also out of the house. She is a vegetarian who loves anything with cheese! My youngest (the Ding-Dong trader) is in high school, doesn’t pack a lunch and it takes an act of Congress to get him to eat anything in the morning before he leaves for class. He would rather sleep than worry about nutrition. He will eat when he gets home, but by then he is so hungry he doesn’t really care what he has. Lunch for me usually consists of a sandwich or Panini, an occasional fast food rice bowl with egg rolls or a yogurt. Hardly balanced, definitely not good for me and seriously BORING! My goal for this challenge is to have lunches that are delicious, nutritious and interesting. I want to create meals I will look forward to eating and most importantly will benefit my health! Don’t worry, I plan on having at least one PB&J along the way too. Who is joining me?