Bento Lunches | photo: Pinterest
Browsing around Pinterest made me really depressed. Not because I cannot replicate all the perfect crafts people have pinned. Nor is it the beautiful photos of well-decorated homes. It was the pictures of school lunches that so many moms are posting now that it is "back to school" season. It looks like American moms have now found a new sport - competive lunch box packing.
Photos of bento box style "lunches."
Seriously. I am jealous. If we lived in the United States, I'd be able to send my kids to lunch with a few slices of bread, diced fruit, a couple veggie sticks and even throw in some popcorn! I know these style lunches hit all the nutritional requirements - fruit, veggie, grain, fiber and protein. But, my kids would get kicked out of the dining hall for bringing this for lunch at their school in Spain. And definitely forget about making any cute little faces out of food.
Cartoon-Inspired Lunches | photo: Pinterest
In Spain, kids sit down to table-clothed tables with three course meals for lunch. Don't believe me? Check out my old post on it.
One Dutch mother at my school was reprimanded for packing her daughter a lunch in the "estilo Americano" (American style). Her daughter was bringing a whole wheat sandwhich and fruit for lunch.
And, have I told you that I must pack a morning snack and a lunch? Morning snack in Spain is basically an American child's school lunch - a sandwich and fruit. Between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning, the kids sit down to a morning snack (as does the rest of Spanish adults). At 2:00 pm, the children eat lunch. Starting with a first course of salad or soup drizzled with their own tiny bottle of olive oil, then a main course and ending with fruit or yogurt for dessert.
I also know another expat mom who got in trouble for pre-cutting her child's lunchtime chicken. She was told the main course must be eaten with utensils and that the child must cut their own food.
Seriously though, I love that meals are taken seriously in Spain. Mealtimes are a fantastic learning opportunity and I must admit, Spanish children probably have better table manners than most American kids.