My daughters are six, eight, and 13, and they’re already practiced at shrugging off the pressures of peer criticism. Take nori, for instance. My girls LOVE it! They cannot get enough of the crispy, salty, sesame-flavored snack. I don’t buy it every day (it’s very packaging-intensive, which gives me pause) but when I do they love it as a box lunch ingredient. Unfortunately, some of their friends think it sounds GROSS. My girls take toasted nori to school and come home with stories of horrified peers, revolted classmates, and nauseated acquaintances. I hope my own kids use more tact in the lunchroom, but who knows? There may be foods in other children’s lunch boxes which set my daughters’ jaws dropping!
My eight year old has a best friend who gamely gave toasted sesame nori a try, and do you know what? It was not a week later when I had her mom on the phone, asking me where to buy the stuff. Her daughter had come home raving about this yummy new food.
What’s the lesson in this? I don’t know, really. Pat your kids on the back if they like a healthy snack and if they’re asking for something nutritious in their lunchbox. Offer interesting, wholesome foods at home and watch as your kids’ good eating habits hold up under public scrutiny. Thank your children’s friends when they try something nutritious and new. And remind your children that opinions and preferences may differ, but cruelty and teasing have no place at school. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, even when the others have something weird for lunch.