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10 Reasons your kid doesn't need a fancy lunch

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Why simple is better for school lunches

Mommy guilt knows no bounds, does it? Not even school lunches are off-limits.

That said, maybe it's time to let go of your guilt about packing a simple school lunch when your kids head back to class. Here are the reasons why simple lunches are superior to fancy lunches, anyway.

1. Simple foods are more nutritious

Fact: The less you handle and cook your child's food, the more nutritious it is. Fancy lunches rely heavily on steaming, cooking and preparing food, which can reduce the nutritional value of your child's meal.

2. You have better uses for your time

Cooking your child a five-course lunch does not count as a hobby. Unless you absolutely love to cook, you probably have better things to do with your time and energy than fawn over your child's meal plan.

3. Simple is less expensive

People seem to think that the simple building blocks of a healthy meal are pricey, but it's simply not true. You'll do your wallet a favor by opting into fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, rather than shelling out a lot of money for fancy and pre-prepared products.

4. Kids prefer simple tastes

The last time I cooked a gourmet meal for my daughter, she hated it, but you know what happened when I served her macaroni and cheese with hot dogs? She gobbled it up like a voracious honey badger.

5. Fancy foods create food comas

Starches, complex proteins, spices and cheeses are totally exhausting. If you don't want your child to crash and burn after the lunch hour, fill his lunch box with healthy and simple options instead — like almonds, berries, whole wheat crackers and fresh deli meat.

6. Lunch is too short, anyway

Last time I checked, the lunch "hour" is more like 20 minutes, which is barely enough time for your child to open her lunch box and swap her fancy lunch for a Lunchable — because you know that's what is happening, right? Give her something tasty and easy to eat so she can fully enjoy her lunch break, Mom.

7. Your children aren't royalty

You can let go of serving your kids prosciutto-wrapped roasted asparagus. They're not impressed.

8. Simple food means healthy boundaries

You don't exist to satisfy your child's every whim and craving. It's totally reasonable to pack the kind of lunch that you can fit into your schedule, and if your child whines for more, you'll have an excellent opportunity to teach him the virtue of packing his own lunch extras.

9. Packing is a breeze with basic foods

Is it easy to pack cornmeal-coated baked chicken strips with an assortment of 10 dipping sauces? No. But a sandwich and an apple? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes.

10. Simple can be playful

Simple food items can turn into a lot of fun with your child's innate creativity. Send her to school with a Lunchable meal so she can build her own lunchtime masterpiece.

This post was sponsored by Lunchables.

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