QT Lunch Challenge
Teaching our children important life skills,
one meal at a time.
There are days when everything that my children eat comes in a well rounded meal. I strive to ensure that they get the proper amount of each food group, not only on their plate, but also into their mouths. Then, there are other days where I feel I accomplished the challenge if I successfully fed them. It doesn’t matter what it was that they consumed as long as they ate. It was one of the latter of those days that the QT Lunch Challenge was formed.
We had been out enjoying our Saturday, and time passed way too quickly. I pulled into the gas station to hear the infamous question, “Can we get something to eat while we’re here?” A quick glance at the clock informed me that lunch time had actually come and gone. As if on cue, my stomach growled. Yes, it was in fact time to eat. That’s when I decided to get creative with lunch.
I advised my children that lunch would be a bit of a game today, and they were intrigued. I set the rules, and let them go inside the store. It was very simple. They each had $3.00 to spend. They could get anything they wanted, with the only rule being that candy was last. (As in, you had to have a meal first, and then if you had leftover money, you could get some candy.) I also told them they could supplement from home if they wanted. (As in, you could get a drink here or save that money and drink water from home.)
The children had a blast! I was amazed at the choices that they made. While they weren’t necessarily the healthiest of meals, they weren’t complete junk food either. Their faces were covered in smiles the whole time we were shopping. It took a bit longer than what I thought it would for them to make their choices, but seeing their joy in doing it made it worth it.
Later that evening my son asked if we could do the QT Lunch Challenge more often. While explaining the challenge, I only gave the rules – not any reasons why. Because, at that point in time, I didn’t have reasons why. We were hungry, let’s get lunch. That was my thought process. Buddy however thought way more into it and provided very in depth reasons as to why this was important.
Freedom of Choice – It’s not uncommon for my children to get to choose their meal. However, the freeing feeling of being able to get ANYTHING apparently left an impact that he loved.
Money Management – A child let loose in a store is going to want everything they see – if they are anything like my children at least. However you just can’t have it all with the money that you have. Learning how to stay within your means is a challenge that I hope they can learn the concept of before entering the adult world.
Healthy Choices – While I set the rule of no candy first, I didn’t fully express what would be a healthy choice versus a poor choice. I admit I was fully expecting meals of chips and donuts to be what they decided on. And while Goose did think about donuts, she decided to go with a better option in the end, all on her own. Learning to be able to create your own filling meals is a skill that all children should cultivate.
Math – The dreaded four letter word… In order to know how much you’ve spent and how much you have left, you have to put those math skills to use. This might not be too much of a concern for the older kids, but Goose got her mental workout in for the day while the Kindergartener practiced her addition and subtraction to keep within budget.
Fun – Not necessarily a skill to build from, but definitely still an important concept all the same. The three of these guys had an absolute blast while figuring out what it was they would eat. Even the workers got a smile when each child came up to checkout and expressed their love of QT.
I wish I could claim thinking up all the reasons why this experiment worked for my family. I shouldn’t though, because I didn’t and that would be wrong. It sure does make me proud though to know that my Buddy thinks about things. Now that I know some of the great impacts that my challenge created for my children, I pass it along to you. Use this challenge wherever works for your family, it doesn’t have to be QT!
I’d love to hear what challenges you have with your children!
Enjoy the QT Challenge!