In today’s world, with parents more attuned to nutrition than ever, there are any number of innovative ways to send your kindergartener to school with a healthy and filling home-packed lunch, none of which you will do because your kindergartener will not eat a healthy and filling home-packed lunch, and it’s way too dark and cold in your kitchen at 6 a.m. to do that anyway.
Instead of stressing about vegetable this and balanced that and attempting to discern which pretzel stick goes in which compartment of the Bento box, here’s my fool-proof approach to packing.
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Kindergarten
1. In the inky blackness of the icy dawn, meet the new day’s promise by walking directly into the pantry.
2. Get out all the fruit, vegetables, fresh bread, purified water and bag of organic trail mix, then gather them all in your arms and heave them into the driveway as you will not be needing any of these things.
3. Obtain lunchbox from cabinet. If it’s still dark, just grab for the nearest object that resembles a Minion or one of the Teen Titans Go. Unless, of course, you’re one of those Bento box people. If you’re one of those Bento box people, you’ve planned, alphabetized and color-coded all lunch ingredients and this will make no sense to you. Go start yoga.
4. Get out bread to make a peanut butter sandwich. No, not that bread. That bread has nuts in it. DAD I SAID NOT THAT BREAD. The Lord God help you if you select the incorrect bread.
5. Making sure not to use any specialized peanut butter with an extraneous descriptor like “honey” or “extra smooth,” smear peanut butter onto His Highness’s preferred nutless bread
6. Too much peanut butter. Sponge some off.
7. Now it’s not enough peanut butter. Also, you’re missing spots along the edge. Ensure that peanut butter coats every last square centimeter of your pure, unsullied bread.
8. Do not dream of placing that sandwich into the Minion without engaging in comprehensive crust removal.
9. Pack a serving of healthy fruit, taking care to exclude the following: apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, tomatoes which may or may not be a fruit who even knows, limes, lemons, grapefruit, coconut, plums, apricots, blueberries, cherries, kiwis, star fruit whatever that is, pineapple, peaches, pears, grapes, figs, papayas, strawberries you know what, screw this, just throw in a Fruit Roll-Up, the kid can eat bananas when he gets to college.
10. Take a moment to appreciate that nature’s majestic bounty has blessed us all with a free source of sweet organic nutrients that you are ignoring in favor of a six-inch-square sheet of crimson-dyed flypaper.
11. Peel and chop a handful of carrots, and then, to save time, wad them up into a little ball and throw them out the window.
12. Pack a container of Goldfish crackers. If you don’t have Goldfish crackers, you can use Wheat Thin crumbs.
13. Consider skipping all this by paying for the school’s hot lunch, then recall that you’d be paying $4.95 every day for your precious treasure to consume half a plain bagel, 1.5 baby carrots and milk that’s been hyper-chocolated to the point that it’s almost a solid.
14. Do raisins count as fruit? Sure why not.
15. Wait, is this the color of cheese stick he likes? Does he like the white cheese stick or the orange cheese stick? Oh sweet, here’s one that’s all swirly with both.
16. If you find yourself out of cheese, consider replacing with a Halloween Twix bar.
17. To get some fruit in there, include one of those containers of applesauce you can squirt directly into your mouth. They’re super-fun when they leak.
18. Has Jake Arrieta signed anywhere yet? Check on that, if you ever get out of this kitchen.
19. If you find yourself in a pinch, consider Clif Bars, those mashed-up foodish patties that taste like paste-flavored mulch and are favored by extreme athletes marathon runners. If it’s good enough for people hiking Kilimanjaro, it’s good enough for the cafeteria.
20. Write a thoughtful loving note in your kid’s lunch, then ruin the shared moment between parent and son by Instagramming it immediately for brand approval.
21. Check for likes.
22. Check once more for likes.
23. It’s been a few minutes. Maybe you should see what’s happening with the likes.
24. Did we talk about the milk? Get the Thermos and pour some milk! If you don’t have a Thermos, just throw a bottle of Gatorade in there, the bus is coming.
25. Not the blue Gatorade.
26. Not the purple Gatorade.
27. What is that, G2? What the hell is G2? He is not going to like that, buddy.
28. That’s the blue Gatorade again. Pay attention.
29. Does popcorn count as fruit? Sure why not.
30. Send child out the door with lunchbox dangling precariously from backpack and leaving a trail of raisins from your front porch to the bus.
31. Make uproarious and futile promise that you’ll start doing this the night before.
32. Consume leftover popcorn.