This Mom's First-Day-of-School Lunch Is Elaborate, but Her Reasoning Is So Smart
I'm the first to admit that when I see a fellow mom's Instagram photo of an elaborate kid meal – you know, the ones with every color of the rainbow represented and full servings from each corner of the food pyramid – I can't help but roll my eyes. I'm all for giving kids nutritional options and do my best to encourage healthful meals, but something about these bento-box displays of mealtime perfection for preschoolers always felt like they were missing the point.
But then, author Jenny Mollen posted an image of the elaborate spread she prepared for her 4-year-old son Sid on his first day back to school. The lunch – which featured sautéed sesame salmon, rice hearts, an "avocado versus yellow pepper battle," coconut-sugar dark chocolate and plant-protein bites, a miniature harvest bowl salad with goat cheese, and organic strawberries – was every bit over-the-top as one could expect.
"I don't care how much of this he eats."
However, when fellow mom and actress Busy Phillips asked, "It looks amazing . . . does he eat it?," Jenny added a surprising addendum to her post that put it all into perspective, and made me realize that her reasoning was rather genius.
"I don't care how much of this he eats," she wrote. "It's more about constant exposure and pushing his limits."
And she's right. Studies have proven that the more opportunities kids have to try foods outside of their comfort zones (read: chicken nuggets and crackers), the more likely that they will develop a taste for them. And some foods require as many as 20 tastings before a child will accept it.
Jenny has posted several other versions of her epic creations, which she hashtags #dictatorlunches. Read on to see what she creates, whether or not her kid eats it.