Monday, October 04, 2004

The Perfect Snack

I am searching for something. It is the perfect snack food for my child's lunch. There are only limited things that my kids eat, anyway, mainly involving carbohydrates or colorful things with faces. I think mainly they subsist on juice boxes and superhero vitamins. Every once in a while I will get them to ingest a carrot or a cucumber, but then they lapse back into previous habits. I have taken to sneaking the vegetables into other foods such as the spaghetti sauce. It is starting to look strangely lumpy, in spite of my attempts to puree the carrots beyond detection. Maybe I should just dump jars of baby food in there. I don't know. They do eat eggs, which I consider an accomplishment. Here's the thing, though. The 5-year-old requires not only a lunch, but also a SNACK. So even if I manage to create the perfect lunch, there is still the problem of the snack. And the snack is supposed to be healthy, so I can't just stick cookies or KitKat bars in there. (ahem. Hasn't the kindergarten intelligentsia heard that chocolate is good for your health?) Apparently not. So I have tried all kinds of things in this special snack bag. (which cannot even go INTO the lunch. It must be strictly segregated or it could be confused with his lunch snack.) I've tried the cracker family: round, oval, square, peanutbutter flavored, cheese flavored...nothing works. And these bags actually come back home looking as if the entire class did a line dance on them. They are pulverized into fine crumbs that can probably be used for baking. I have tried pretzels and potato sticks, under the rationale that these are not as bad for you as fritos or fried dough. The 5-year-old claims that the potato sticks look like dead french fries. I suppose if you look at it that way you could get a sense of Potato Rigor Mortis. I have tried the fruit family: grapes and raisins. These always come home untouched. He likes apples, but there is no way to peel and cut them and get them to not turn brown. Yes, I know Huckleberry Finn and his buddies would eat them straight off the tree, but these are children who have never gone barefoot. I am now considering trying to find a cookie that maybe LOOKS like a healthy snack. I could disguise it somehow! Maybe with food coloring! Or I could make it into a healthy looking shape such as a carrot. (The 3-year-old already has this covered. He claims cheese puffs ARE carrots.) Other rejectees: Pop Tart sticks, Sponge Bob Square Foods, breakfast bars of any kind, Cheezits, all yogurt-based products, and the remainder of the fruit family. All I know is the Holy Grail of the perfect snack food is still beyond my reach. I still... haven't found....what I'm looking for. (Cue Bono) I know what my mother will say. She will say if he doesn't eat a snack maybe he will be hungrier for a good lunch. And she is probably right. But I still worry that the teacher will think there is something WRONG with his parents that they can't come up with a healthy snack. Perhaps I can give him some kind of gummy treat and claim it is an astronaut food. We got it from NASA. It's the equivalent of liver plus spinach. It's worth a try.

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