Saturday, June 29, 2013

American vs Swedish lunch

We are still in the US and we decided way back that it would be a good experience for Little Swede to go to summer camp. This has led to a plethora of questions from Swedes, mostly because I keep calling it the wrong word in Swedish – namely Sommarläger and not sommarkollo. Little Swede’s pediatric nurse was perplexed by the amount of forms we had to fill in for just a few hours of camp, but also fascinated and we had a long discussion on vaccinations and school relations. But that is a whole other story.

Summer camp has been good for Little Swede. But it has also led to the dilemma of the American packed lunch. Unlike his Swedish daycare, where lunch is included and all Little Swede’s special dietery needs met while keeping things about 90% organic, day camp (which costs about the equivalent of 4 months of Swedish full time daycare) requires packed lunch.

Little Swede has never eaten his own packed lunch. In Little Swede’s world sandwiches are openfaced and preferably covered with peanut butter. We are having morning cultural clashes with how to fit an open-faced sandwich in a plastic bag – something the Swede seems to believe is possible but of which I am highly skeptical.

Also Little Swede has never really had many prepackaged snacks, or much of any snack food at all.  I tried a few roasted chickpeas on day one (don’t make that face, chick peas are one of Little Swede’s favorite foods!) but we have settled on goldfish crackers.

And so, our little boy, who easily scarfs down three portions of school lunch (something I abhorred for most of my school life – we only had a cafeteria in high school anyway), is onlypicking at his packed lunch.

We have tried a variety of sandwiches. We have tried showing him how to open the baggies. He gets help from his counselors. But, he does not seem to enjoy a packed lunch. We tried purple colored Kefir, but really he only seems to eat the package of fruit I send him with every day (see how well Swedish schools have taught him!) 


  1. Welcome to Sweden!

    If you would like some advices of fun things to do or see here in Sweden just visit our facebook page!

  2. Of course you can pack open-faced sandwiches in a plastic bag! :) You just put two together with smörgåspapper (similar to ugnsplåtspapper, and that will work jut as well) in between so the pålägg doesn't mix. It's the traditional way to pack sandwiches in Sweden, even though more and more people just simply put two sandwiches together with the same pålägg and eat them as a double. (Not my choice, to heavy and large to eat at once for me, I prefer to have to separate sandwiches.)

    But why only sandwiches for lunch? Other common fooods to bring when needed in Sweden are pancakes (rolled up with something in), a piece of pie, piroger, pastasalad, potatoesalad and some kind of cold meat, wraps.