Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Kathy Buckworth

GET UPDATES FROM Kathy Buckworth

Stop Making Your Kids' School Lunches - Now!

Posted: 09/19/2013 8:38 am

Being a parent is hard work. And if I were to believe what I see on Twitter, Facebook and in blogs, articles and television segments, the making of school lunches is near the top of the list.

(As an aside, is it just me, or am I right in thinking that if making a school lunch is even in the top 100 complaints about your life, then your life is pretty good?)

A survey I recently ran with Cityline viewers revealed that 62 per cent of respondents said they do not enjoy making their kids' lunches, but they do it anyway, even though the kids are old enough to do it themselves. In the corporate world, this would be known as bad project management.

True, there are some parents who like being responsible for putting together the lunches for their kids, which allows them to control what foods and how much goes in. Of course, it can't control the fact that little Jimmy may still trade away his apple for a brownie, or pitch the broccoli in a bin on the way out of the lunchroom, but it can help limit their bad food choice options.

What it doesn't do, though, is teach them to make their own healthy food choices at home, and to take on a responsibility that they can easily handle from about age eight and up. Kids even younger should be involved in some part of the lunch construction.

While there is a growing trend to hide nutritious food from kids (zucchini in muffins), or make it "fun" for them to eat (sandwiches cut like flowers), this is really just training mom and dad on some new mostly non-transferable culinary skills, and not providing a food education for your children. Teach THEM to make a regular, square sandwich instead.

So how can you get the kids to take it on?

1) Sit down and write out a list of lunch options: sandwiches, re-heatable foods, and salads, as their main entrée.
2) List acceptable snacks they can choose from, out of the cupboard, fridge, or fruit bowl. Then let them construct.
3) Start by having them "own" the responsibility of lunch. If they want you to make it, they have to ask. Nicely. And you can say no. (You're the boss, remember?)

This article was originally run in the Metro News.

Kathy Buckworth's new book "I Am So The Boss Of You" is available in bookstores everywhere. Kathy is the new host of Toronto Speaks: Parenting, debuting on Rogers Television Monday, Sept. 30

Loading Slideshow...
  • QUICK & HEALTHY -- Strawberry, Banana And Almond Butter Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/strawberry-banana-and-almond-butter-smoothie" target="_hplink">Strawberry, Banana and Almond Butter Smoothie recipe</a></strong>

  • Chai Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2011/05/03/chai-oatmeal/">Chai Oatmeal recipe</a> by Dinner With Julie</strong>

  • Breakfast Polenta With Warm Berry Compote

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/15/breakfast-polenta-with-wa_n_1151653.html" target="_hplink">Breakfast Polenta with Warm Berry Compote recipe</a></strong>

  • Granola And Yogurt Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.munatycooking.com/2012/09/delicious-granola-and-yogurt-parfait.html">Granola and Yogurt Parfait recipe</a> by Mutany Cooking</strong>

  • Steel Cut Oatmeal With Maple Sautéed Apples

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.erinsfoodfiles.com/2011/12/steel-cut-oatmeal-with-maple-sauteed-apples.html">Steel Cut Oatmeal with Maple Sautéed Apples recipe</a> by Erin's Food Files</strong>

  • Sweet Breakfast Quinoa

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/sweet-breakfast-quinoa_n_1061046.html" target="_hplink">Sweet Breakfast Quinoa recipe</a></strong>

  • Mango Yogurt Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://madcookingfusions.com/mango-yogurt-parfait-recipe-for-all-the-mangoholics/">Mango Yogurt Parfait recipe</a> by Mad Cooking Fusions</strong>

  • Strawberry-Peach Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.unrefinedkitchen.com/2011/09/15/strawberry-peach-smoothie/" target="_hplink">Strawberry-Peach Smoothie recipe by Unrefined Kitchen</a></strong>

  • Dark Chocolate Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/2012/1/22/dark-chocolate-oatmeal.html">Dark Chocolate Oatmeal recipe</a> by Pastry Affair</strong>

  • Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.mypbandj.com/2012/10/pumpkin-steel-cut-oatmeal-recipe.html">Pumpkin Steel Cut Oatmeal recipe</a> by My PB + J</strong>

  • Oat And Apricot Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://somedayspoon.com/2011/09/apricot-and-oatmeal-smoothie/#.T99vCytYuRs" target="_hplink">Oat and Apricot Smoothie recipe by SomedaySpoon</a></strong>

  • Hot Cereal With Quinoa, Oats And Flax

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/hot-cereal-with-quinoa-o_n_1057699.html" target="_hplink">Hot Cereal with Quinoa, Oats and Flax recipe</a></strong>

  • Blueberry Quinoa Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/06/blueberry-quinoa-parfait.html">Blueberry Quinoa Parfait recipe</a> by Closet Cooking</strong>

  • Cantaloupe Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://curiouscountrycook.blogspot.com/2012/03/cantaloupe-smoothie.html" target="_hplink">Cantaloupe Smoothie recipe by Curious Country Cook</a></strong>

  • Carrot Cake Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.katherinemartinelli.com/blog/2012/carrot-cake-oatmeal-recipe/">Carrot Cake Oatmeal recipe</a> by Kiran Tarun for KatherineMartinelli.com</strong>

  • Creme Brulee Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://steamykitchen.com/13165-banana-oatmeal-cinnamon-creme-brulee-recipe.html">Creme Brulee Oatmeal recipe</a> by Steamy Kitchen</strong>

  • Berry Parfaits

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://barbarabakes.com/2012/05/berry-parfaits/">Berry Parfaits recipe</a> by Barbara Bakes</strong>

  • Purple Berry Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/purple-berry-smoothie_n_1057060.html" target="_hplink">Purple Berry Smoothie recipe</a></strong>

  • Nutella Oatmeal With Sliced Bananas

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyscratch.com/2012/01/nutella-oatmeal-with-sliced-bananas.html">Nutella Oatmeal with Sliced Bananas recipe</a> by Simply Scratch</strong>

  • Bulgur Breakfast Cereal With Dried Fruit And Nuts

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/bulgur-breakfast-cereal-w_n_1247780.html" target="_hplink">Bulgur Breakfast Cereal With Dried Fruit And Nuts recipe</a></strong>

  • Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://sundaymorningbananapancakes.blogspot.com/2012/06/breakfast-parfait-one-lovely-blog-award.html">Cocoa Nibs Breakfast Parfait recipe</a> by Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes</strong>

  • Peaches ‘N Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.carascravings.com/2012/08/peaches-n-cream-oat-chia-pudding-parfait.html">Peaches ‘n Cream Oat & Chia Pudding Parfait recipe</a> by Cara's Craving</strong>

  • Acai Super Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/a231ai-super-smoothie_n_1061072.html" target="_hplink">Acai Super Smoothie recipe</a></strong>

  • Steel Cut Oats With Caramelized Onions & Ricotta

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.injennieskitchen.com/2010/02/steel-cut-oats-caramelized-onions-ricotta/">Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Onions & Ricotta</a> recipe by In Jennie's Kitchen</strong>

  • Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.edibleperspective.com/home/2011/4/7/moo-milk.html">Chocolate Cherry Overnight Oats recipe</a> by Edible Perspective</strong>

  • Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2010/08/red-berry-risotto-oatmeal-2.html">Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal recipe</a> by Mel's Kitchen Cafe</strong>

  • Cranberry Apple Breakfast Parfait

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://inspiredbyfamilymag.com/2012/08/17/cranberry-apple-breakfast-parfait/">Cranberry Apple Breakfast Parfait recipe</a> by Inspired By Family Magazine</strong>

  • Stone Fruit Parfait

    <strong>Get the<a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2012/07/stone-fruit-parfait/" target="_blank"> Stone Fruit Parfait recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Berries ‘N Creme Parfaits

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.attunefoods.com/blog/2012/06/dairy-free-berries-n-creme-parfaits/">Berries ‘n Creme Parfaits recipe</a> by Attune Foods Daily Digest</strong>

  • Berry-Cherry Smoothie

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://eat-spin-run-repeat.com/2010/03/24/berry-cherry-smoothie/" target="_hplink">Berry-Cherry Smoothie recipe from Eat Spin Run Repeat</a></strong>

  • Avocado Mango Breakfast Parfait With Honey Lime Yogurt

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.everydaysouthwest.com/recipes/mango-avocado-breakfast-parfait-recipe/">Avocado Mango Breakfast Parfait with Honey Lime Yogurt recipe</a> by Everyday South</strong>

  • Peach Breakfast Parfait With Avocado Lime Cream

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.dailybitesblog.com/2012/08/07/peach-breakfast-parfait-with-avocado-cream/">Peach Breakfast Parfait with Avocado Lime Cream recipe</a> by Daily Bites</strong>

  • MAKE AHEAD -- Mini Ham And Cheese Strata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodiecrush.com/2011/10/craving-6-easy-baked-egg-breakfast-cups/" target="_blank">Mini Ham And Cheese Strata recipe</a> by Foodiecrush</strong> Stratas can quickly be prepared the night before, stored in the fridge, and be ready to bake in the morning.

  • Lemon Cranberry Scones

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/lemon-cranberry-scones.html" target="_blank">Lemon Cranberry Scones recipe</a> by Pastry Affair</strong> Make a batch of scones, store them in the freezer unbaked, and pop them in the oven as you need them.

  • Blueberry Muffins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/blueberry_muffins/">Blueberry Muffins recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong> Bake a batch of muffins when you have extra time on your hands and freeze them. A quick defrost in the oven gives you breakfast in no time.

  • Spinach And Cheese Strata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.whatmegansmaking.com/2011/12/spinach-and-cheese-strata.html" target="_blank">Spinach and Cheese Strata recipe</a> by What's Megan Making?</strong>

  • Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.lovintheoven.com/2012/08/lemon-poppy-seed-waffles.html">Lemon Poppy Seed Waffles recipe from Lovin' From the Oven</a></strong> Think of homemade waffles as the new and improved Eggo. Make a double batch next time you cook waffles and store the leftovers in the freezer. Then, just pop them in the toaster as you need them.

  • Oatmeal Muffins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/oatmeal_muffins_with_raisins_dates_and_walnuts/">Oatmeal Muffins recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Glazed Orange Scones

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/glazed-orange-scones/" target="_blank">Glazed Orange Scones recipe</a> by My Baking Addiction</strong>

  • Ham And Cheese Layered Strata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodiecrush.com/2011/12/craving-5-make-ahead-breakfasts/" target="_blank">Ham and Cheese Layered Strata recipe</a> by Foodiecrush</strong>

  • Sweet Potato Waffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.agoldenafternoon.com/food/sweetpotatowaffles/">Sweet Potato Waffles recipe from A Golden Afternoon</a></strong>

  • Chocolate Chip Scones

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/2010/02/07/chocolate-chip-scones/" target="_blank">Chocolate Chip Scones recipe</a> by Buns In My Oven</strong>

  • Cranberry Orange Muffins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-orange-muffins/">Cranberry Orange Muffins recipe</a> by Gimme Some Oven</strong>

  • Bircher Muesli

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/06/bircher-muesli/" target="_blank">Bircher Muesli recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Spinach And Cheese Strata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.annies-eats.com/2010/03/15/spinach-and-cheese-strata/" target="_blank">Spinach And Cheese Strata recipe</a> by Annie's Eats</strong>

  • Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.laurenslatest.com/whole-wheat-pumpkin-waffles/">Whole Wheat Pumpkin Waffles recipe from Lauren's Latest</a></strong>

  • Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2011/06/strawberry-rhubarb-yogurt-muffins.html">Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins recipe</a> by A Spicy Perspective</strong>

  • Lemon Blueberry Scones

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.pastryaffair.com/blog/2011/8/29/lemon-blueberry-scones.html" target="_blank">Lemon Blueberry Scones recipe</a> by Pastry Affair</strong>

  • Sausage Strata

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/15107-don-t-hold-the-anything-breakfast-bread-pudding" target="_blank">Sausage Strata recipe </a>by aargersi via Food52</strong>

  • Blackberry Muffins

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/blackberry_muffins/">Blackberry Muffins recipe</a> by Simply Recipes</strong>

  • Vanilla Fig Scones

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/19625-vanilla-fig-scones" target="_blank">Vanilla Fig Scones recipe</a> by fiveandspice via Food52</strong>


Follow Kathy Buckworth on Twitter: www.twitter.com/KathyBuckworth