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School Lunch Angst

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The start of school is five weeks away, and already I'm waking up with night sweats over what to pack for lunch. I barely made it to the end of the school year last month without cracking from the pressure of having to fill my kids lunchboxes day after day. Those last few weeks I'd haul myself into the kitchen at night, flip open the lunch boxes and stare into the void.

My kids are like human roulette wheels when it comes to food. Whether my son will want what I pack for him—a tuna sandwich, for example—is more a matter of chance than preference. Sometimes I'll hit a lucky streak. My daughter told me last year that she liked cold rotini pasta, so I packed it every day for weeks. But I guess I overplayed the pasta because she got sick of it. I could kick myself for ruining a good thing by not quitting while I was ahead.

If I were wealthy, I'd give the kids money to buy lunch every day. But at $2.25 per meal, I have to limit them to two hot lunches each per week. I should have plenty of time between now and when school starts to think of some good, healthy lunches that my kids will eat. But I won't. The night before the first day of school, I'll be staring into two brand-new lunchboxes, wondering what the heck to put in them.
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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?