It’s possible that the Chef has undergone an alien brain transplant. That’s about the only explanation I have for why he is refusing to eat the healthy, high-quality, lovingly prepared dishes I send with him to school. He will on the other hand gobble up anything that is pre-packaged, artificially colored and processed into unnatural shapes.
This is a new development. He’s carried lunch to school and camp before and been happy with just about any of his regular favorites. Lately, the list of rejected foods has grown so that I stare at the fridge at night with his green John Deere lunch bag in my hand completely stumped. Foods he won’t eat at school: Pasta and olive oil sprinkled with pecorino romano cheese; homemade chicken soup; grapes; apple slices; sandwiches of any kind; hotdog; macaroni and cheese; leftover pizza; beef stew; yogurt in any form other than in plastic, suck-and-go tubes; blueberries; oranges (peeled or not); strawberries; banana; juice in a reusable bottle. These are all things he’ll eat at home, by the way. There are days everything comes back home except a Tootsie Roll and milk.
I admit in the beginning of the school year, I was pretty lame with lunch. I was giving him good food, and figured he’d eventually break down out of hunger. But then I helped out in the lunchroom and saw what other kids were eating: Jello cups, pudding cups, power bars, bags of snack chips, steaming bowls of soup and pasta from microwavable single-use bowls, fresh fruit in a bag that comes cut up and sprayed with something that keeps it from going brown, lots of things packaged with the images of popular kids TV characters.
Gosh, I hate prepackaged food. What a waste of plastic wrappers! But I also hate letting my son be hungry all afternoon.
So I’ve broken down. I am now shelving the “main course” concept and giving him a bunch of different snacks. I’m putting something like 5 different options in his bag, hoping he’ll eat ate least 3. I try to include organic treats, but those often are overlooked. At least when packaged/preserved food returns home, it can go right back in the bag for tomorrow.