E manages to sound both pointed and wistful when he remarks that "SOME KIDS get to BRING their lunch." Both J and I remember preferring school lunch - but of course it was all junk food in those days and it's not like that anymore - turkey sandwiches on dry wheat bread and carrot sticks is just not the same as those mostly-soy hamburgers and tater tots we used to get.
But even though I'm no vegan lunch boxer, I have figured out FINALLY how much more pleasant dinner is if I actually get the input of my family on menu, plan the menu in advance and then buy the groceries all at once. We planned a month in advance and shop once a week. (And I just found a grocery store that delivers! Yeehaw!) Probably you're so organized that you're doing this already, but I've found it to be a real revelation.
Some of you are talking about saving time, and this has been the biggest time saver I've experienced in a while, as well as eliminating the stress of 1. having to put together something to eat when I'm hungry and tired from whatever I can find in the cupboard and 2. having to watch my family not eat what I managed to put together. These dinners are some Eli's faves, some Jeff's and some mine, but they all include at least one or two things that everyone will eat. We all actually like eating dinner together now, which has always been my big, unrealized fantasy for my family life. Proof that sometimes dreams CAN come true.