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Monday, April 28, 2008

Empowering Girls: Lunchables

DSCN3148.JPG

Throughout the school year Ainsley has harassed me nearly every day for a Lunchable or a tray.

For most of the year she got a whole wheat ham sandwich, a fruit or vegetable and a juice box.

I find my daughter is one of the very few kids who bring a lunch. Some parents are assisted with the free lunch program, some buy their Lunchables with food stamps. Some simply make more money than we do and can absorb the cost easier. Some parents just gave up and found the $35 a month to pay for the school lunch tray to never have this loathsome conversation again. One month's worth of Maxed Out Lunchable is $60.

Upon examination she claimed it was the drink powder and the piece of candy that made her desperate for the Lunchable.

I went for the homemade lunchable.

Box of crackers, block of cheese, a crucial misstep with cheap salami instead of ham, FulFill powder tube, refillable thermos and tupperware and some fruit.

Is she satisfied?

Of course not.

Her desire for Lunchables has nothing to do with the sub-par food that fills the boxes. It has to do with the packaging itself. The packaging is a Kindergarten status symbol - like designer jeans.

She's the kid who's Mom erroneously believes she can substitute the real status symbol with a cheap imitation. All the other children probably pity her.

But, doesn't that build character?

12 comments:

mom said...

Great insight. I wish it weren't the case -- manufactured food-like substances that actually are BAD for our kids -- as a status item.

Richard H said...

I think one reason kids like Lunchables is their predilection for predictability. They see the package they've seen before, they think they know what to expect. When mom or dad make the lunch, who knows whether they'll be doing it right?

HEalthy eating at school is big challenge. I remember eating lunch with my kids at school (about ten years ago). The school was working to make its meals nutritious. To that end they served a black bean and corn salad. I eat black bean and corn salad. I didn't see a single kid eat it. Into the trash. A couple years later at another school, they gave out apples, oranges and bananas at lunch. Again, many kids tossed them into the trash.

Tracee said...

Richard - Aside from my cheaping out on the salami, I put in her lunch what she gladly eats at home.

As to predictability, after several months of the same lunch she got pretty sick of it.

She wants a Lunchable so bad she'll spend her own money on it. When she does have one she always expresses severe disappointment in the taste. She got the Maxed Out pizza and the cold chicken nuggets she'd been envying all year long and said they were disgusting.

She's even brought the package home - from the other children's lunches - to look at and read and long for.

Rebecca said...

I think if it were my kid who was desperate for lunchables so he could fit in in school, I'd not buy them for him, but he could sure blow his own money on them if he had some.

Does she still want it even though she thinks it tastes disgusting?

Tracee said...

I let her have one for a field trip and she buys them when people give her money.

She keeps thinking she "just picked the wrong one." The next one she buys will live up to her ideal.

Violet said...

Too funny! The little boy I was a nanny for and how crazy he was about Lunchables and Happy Meals, arguably two of the grossest meals ever.

I limited them. Not because of money, his parents didn't care about that, but because it didn't seem healthy to eat one of these every day.

It was a tragedy of the HIGHEST magnitude, let me tell you. I was like, who cries over cheap processed ham and american cheese?

This was like 15 years ago. Some things never change.

Tracee said...

Except they got more expensive. $2.50 - $3!

Violet said...

This also reminds me of this Eddie Murphy skit where his mom makes him "McDonald's"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvoBCr7E5qo

Tracee said...

LOL VIOLET!

That's why this bothers me. Though I had no intention to doing so, I've become THAT mother!

The mother who thinks that big fat hamburger on wonderbread should equal the McDonalds burger.

I had no intention of becoming THAT mother! MY mother. Eddie Murphy's mother. The universal EveryMother who has to stay on budget even though Lunchables or a tray will increase my kids' kindergarten status.

Damn it. I make her take a homemade Lunchable.

Poor Kid.

jen said...

Oh, my kids are the same way.

Lunchables are devoid of nutritional value, and weigh only a few ounces. It's all packaging. I talk to my kids often about what marketing is, and how we need to see through the lies that we are only cool if we buy "X" product.

But, they still beg for them every time, and like A. they will count out pennies and nickels of their own to have them.

So when does "A New Earth for Kids" come out? LOL!

Anonymous said...

At my son's PRESCHOOL the lunch trays are $3!!!! So he takes a lunch every day except those days that I wake up clutching the alarm clock that I've put on snooze in my sleep.. I usually alternate sandwiches and lunchables. But we don't buy those "maxed out" ones - I could get him a happy meal for that price! Or a lunch tray! We do the little $1.50 ones that just have the crackers and cheese and meat. (would she go for those?)He likes those (especially the predictability) because he's kind of picky.
That's too funny about Ainsley though - buying them with her own money! LOL! Too funny - and she doesn't even like them. I don't think it's occured to my son to compare lunches yet (thank the Lord!)
By the way - I've always wondered how they would heat up the chicken nuggets - I'll bet the teacher would love doing that for the whole class!
Ashley

that girl said...

I think she should have a Lunchable on her birthday, if it means that much to her... I know my kids love them, but I can't stomach buying them either. Kudos to you for holding your ground. She's waaaay healthier for it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Empowering Girls: Lunchables

DSCN3148.JPG

Throughout the school year Ainsley has harassed me nearly every day for a Lunchable or a tray.

For most of the year she got a whole wheat ham sandwich, a fruit or vegetable and a juice box.

I find my daughter is one of the very few kids who bring a lunch. Some parents are assisted with the free lunch program, some buy their Lunchables with food stamps. Some simply make more money than we do and can absorb the cost easier. Some parents just gave up and found the $35 a month to pay for the school lunch tray to never have this loathsome conversation again. One month's worth of Maxed Out Lunchable is $60.

Upon examination she claimed it was the drink powder and the piece of candy that made her desperate for the Lunchable.

I went for the homemade lunchable.

Box of crackers, block of cheese, a crucial misstep with cheap salami instead of ham, FulFill powder tube, refillable thermos and tupperware and some fruit.

Is she satisfied?

Of course not.

Her desire for Lunchables has nothing to do with the sub-par food that fills the boxes. It has to do with the packaging itself. The packaging is a Kindergarten status symbol - like designer jeans.

She's the kid who's Mom erroneously believes she can substitute the real status symbol with a cheap imitation. All the other children probably pity her.

But, doesn't that build character?

12 comments:

mom said...

Great insight. I wish it weren't the case -- manufactured food-like substances that actually are BAD for our kids -- as a status item.

Richard H said...

I think one reason kids like Lunchables is their predilection for predictability. They see the package they've seen before, they think they know what to expect. When mom or dad make the lunch, who knows whether they'll be doing it right?

HEalthy eating at school is big challenge. I remember eating lunch with my kids at school (about ten years ago). The school was working to make its meals nutritious. To that end they served a black bean and corn salad. I eat black bean and corn salad. I didn't see a single kid eat it. Into the trash. A couple years later at another school, they gave out apples, oranges and bananas at lunch. Again, many kids tossed them into the trash.

Tracee said...

Richard - Aside from my cheaping out on the salami, I put in her lunch what she gladly eats at home.

As to predictability, after several months of the same lunch she got pretty sick of it.

She wants a Lunchable so bad she'll spend her own money on it. When she does have one she always expresses severe disappointment in the taste. She got the Maxed Out pizza and the cold chicken nuggets she'd been envying all year long and said they were disgusting.

She's even brought the package home - from the other children's lunches - to look at and read and long for.

Rebecca said...

I think if it were my kid who was desperate for lunchables so he could fit in in school, I'd not buy them for him, but he could sure blow his own money on them if he had some.

Does she still want it even though she thinks it tastes disgusting?

Tracee said...

I let her have one for a field trip and she buys them when people give her money.

She keeps thinking she "just picked the wrong one." The next one she buys will live up to her ideal.

Violet said...

Too funny! The little boy I was a nanny for and how crazy he was about Lunchables and Happy Meals, arguably two of the grossest meals ever.

I limited them. Not because of money, his parents didn't care about that, but because it didn't seem healthy to eat one of these every day.

It was a tragedy of the HIGHEST magnitude, let me tell you. I was like, who cries over cheap processed ham and american cheese?

This was like 15 years ago. Some things never change.

Tracee said...

Except they got more expensive. $2.50 - $3!

Violet said...

This also reminds me of this Eddie Murphy skit where his mom makes him "McDonald's"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvoBCr7E5qo

Tracee said...

LOL VIOLET!

That's why this bothers me. Though I had no intention to doing so, I've become THAT mother!

The mother who thinks that big fat hamburger on wonderbread should equal the McDonalds burger.

I had no intention of becoming THAT mother! MY mother. Eddie Murphy's mother. The universal EveryMother who has to stay on budget even though Lunchables or a tray will increase my kids' kindergarten status.

Damn it. I make her take a homemade Lunchable.

Poor Kid.

jen said...

Oh, my kids are the same way.

Lunchables are devoid of nutritional value, and weigh only a few ounces. It's all packaging. I talk to my kids often about what marketing is, and how we need to see through the lies that we are only cool if we buy "X" product.

But, they still beg for them every time, and like A. they will count out pennies and nickels of their own to have them.

So when does "A New Earth for Kids" come out? LOL!

Anonymous said...

At my son's PRESCHOOL the lunch trays are $3!!!! So he takes a lunch every day except those days that I wake up clutching the alarm clock that I've put on snooze in my sleep.. I usually alternate sandwiches and lunchables. But we don't buy those "maxed out" ones - I could get him a happy meal for that price! Or a lunch tray! We do the little $1.50 ones that just have the crackers and cheese and meat. (would she go for those?)He likes those (especially the predictability) because he's kind of picky.
That's too funny about Ainsley though - buying them with her own money! LOL! Too funny - and she doesn't even like them. I don't think it's occured to my son to compare lunches yet (thank the Lord!)
By the way - I've always wondered how they would heat up the chicken nuggets - I'll bet the teacher would love doing that for the whole class!
Ashley

that girl said...

I think she should have a Lunchable on her birthday, if it means that much to her... I know my kids love them, but I can't stomach buying them either. Kudos to you for holding your ground. She's waaaay healthier for it.