Lunch Box Lingo


I love a new school year.

I look forward to school supplies filling the shelves, the sales for new school clothes, and the beginning of new possibilities and growth.

I do not like packing that lunch box.

lunch box

This is the most dreadful task each morning, as I have a son who rarely eats what I pack. After the initial year of packing and sharing the rules and my expectations, we had to tweak things quite a bit.

My son has ADHD and takes a medicine that makes his appetite diminish at lunch, so we are constantly trying to come to an agreement on lunch terms that we can agree on as to what he needs to eat.

I involved him in the packing of lunches and got his input on what sounded good to him and what he would eat for lunch.

The struggle for me is how one day my son is the spokesperson for cheese sticks and sings their praises and the next day thinks they are gross. I find a granola bar that he likes, we eat them for three months, then it turns out that he hates them.

One day, I introduced some simple lunch box lingo that I hoped would be easy to remember and easy for him to attain every day at lunch.

I was feeling pretty proud of myself and thought I had solved this lunch dilemma. 

I sat him down and told him that he needed to eat three things in his lunch box. I went on to explain that I would pack more choices than three, and he could choose whichever three things, but he had to eat three.

I had him repeat back to me the new lingo and he did; he said he understood and said he thought he could rock it. Parenting WIN! I just knew that this was going to work. He was going to be filled up at lunch and be ready to face the afternoon with focus and “rock it.”

The next day he helped me back his lunch box. We put in so many good choices. I wondered how he would even choose. The traditional sandwich had been thrown out as an option the first year of school, as it took too much focus to eat so we resorted to snack-type foods. He chose cashews and pretzels and a cheese stick. I added apple slices, some Pringles, and, living dangerously, I added some fruit snacks. I put the finishing touches on the lunch after he moved on to eating breakfast and added a Hershey Kiss and a “Mom loves you” note. I couldn’t wait to pick him up that day from school to see just how our new lingo worked.

He got in the car and I asked him how lunch was. He said it worked great and he ate three things. SCORE! Cue the Gatorade over my head, the confetti, and a big ole ring – we had done it!

When we got home, he asked when dinner was and told me he was starving, so I took a peek into his lunch box.

I asked him what three things he ate for lunch. And my very literal son had used our lunch box lingo and done just what I said.

He ate one cashew, one pretzel, and one fruit snack. 1+1+1=3

I told him he did a great job at obeying our lingo, but maybe we could try eating three baggie-fulls of items, not single things. He looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Ok, Mom, I could try that, but that’s not what you said. You said three things.” And off he went to play.

We still try to be creative with lunches and get his involvement, but we now add Carnation instant breakfast into his milk in the morning to make sure he has that little extra – you know, in case he no longer likes cheese sticks or is grossed out by cashews and only eats three things.

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Cheryl Brackemyre
Hey local mommas! I grew up in Centerville, but I now live in Wilmington with my husband Tony. Together we have 6 kids, Joe, and his wife Allison, Austin, and his wife Hannah, Sydney and her husband Hayden, Andrew and his wife Lauren and our littles, Max and Eli. Did I mention we are a little nuts starting over with this parenting thing when we are 45+? We are officially adding new titles to our names in 2022- Tiki and Jeep (our version of Grandma and Grandpa). My husband and I are both ministers, and we get to work together in a local church. We were both married before and brought our families together in 2010. After a few years of marriage we felt God's leading for us to adopt. We added Max to our family in 2014 and Eli joined us in 2017, our quiver is officially full! Blending our family has been an adventure! Add some ex-spouses and two birth mommas and we have ourselves a crazy crew! Coffee is my love language. The beach is my happy place and I long to have my toes in the sand. I love being part of the team at Dayton Mom Collective.