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Two Broken Arms - Need Lunch Suggestions

My ten year old niece fell earlier this week (leaping from playground equipment and missed) and has broken both of her arms. She is now in full arm casts. Her parents have a plan to get her back into school next week, but they need suggestions for what can be packed for her lunches. She can use her fingers, but that's about it, as the casts are full arm and she does not have a lot of mobility. All I can think of is soup in a thermos and a straw, which is going to get old real fast.

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  1. How about sandwiches cut in quarters? She can hold between thumb and a couple of fingers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: c oliver

      But she's can't manuever them up to her mouth ... that's the problem. And her mom doesn't think she'll ask for help from peers either.

    2. Alright, since she can't manuever to her mouth, she has few options. I would recommend having mom or dad talk to the school nurse and see if she can get some help eating. She can't feed herself, and it's not going to be fun...but it seems like someone will need to feed her.

      1 Reply
      1. re: milkyway4679

        It's looking that way, unfortunately. At least she's still smiling and upbeat!

      2. Goodness not fun. If someone willbe ableto help, how about cheese sticks with thin lunch meat wraped around? Or breadsticks with either od those?

        Good luck with her recovery.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hummingbird

          the other kids might tease her, but will she have enough use of her fingers to manage a small pair of tongs? would she have enough mobility to reach her mouth even with the tongs, but it might be worth a shot.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Nope, the current picture sent by my sister in New Mexico shows casts up to her biceps and the end of the cast close to the knuckles of her hands. Tho I like hummingbird's idea, that may be feasible.

        2. Oh good grief, Irostron. No ideas, outside of that silly beer hat with a milkshake in it perhaps - I just wanted to wish the poor kid a speedy recovery.

          3 Replies
          1. re: dolores

            Ah, but a protein type shake might be a good idea, since her intake may be somewhat limited, at least for the one meal and she is a growing girl. She's got help at home with breakfast and dinner. I will rely your wishes to her when I talk to her later today (and she is wearing a silly hat in the current picture sent by her mom). Thanks!

            1. re: lrostron

              Cool, Irostron.

              I was thinking about her some more (the poor kid!) and was wondering, how will she, well, you know, in school? Eliminate, I mean.

              Re that, is it possible for her to be home-schooled until the casts are off?

              Hubby had his arm cracked in one of those doors with a bar across it in school when a kid, so stories like this pain me.

              1. re: dolores

                That was one of my first thoughts as well, but her parents have met with the principal and the school nurse, and nurse will take on that issue while at school. Home school is out of the question, as dad is a local police officer and mom is the general manager of a large hotel property in Santa Fe. The school has stepped up and said that her particpation in classes would suffice until the casts are off, and if there's a test, the teacher will write her answers out for her. Things are working out so far.

          2. For a reason I'd rather not get into here, I was in a similar position as your niece is in yesterday. Aside from the straw thing, I had to wait until DH came home from work at 9P for him to feed me, take me to the bathroom, brush my teeth, etc. (sigh -- is this what happens when we get older?). I really don't think there's a way around it. Perhaps you can try to get those extra wide straws (like the ones they use for bubble tea) so she can at least have soups with small chunks in it. I wish her the best of everything with her healing!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Miss Needle

              I like the bubble tea straw for thicker things and will relay that to my sister. Thanks!

            2. I thought a little more about it, and if they are bound and determined to send her to school, give her a protein shake for lunch and then just feed her a big breakfast and feed her when she gets home.

              1. Purees. Not too thick. That way, at lunchtime, she can drink it with a straw. If she has a favorite soup or stew, with some protein in it, that can work, if thinned out and pureed fine enough. Get thick straws. Jello can be eaten through a straw, too, especially if it's broken up in advance. It might not be the most appetizing, but at least it has some potential to provide her with some nutrition. I'm sure her friends will be happy to feed her school cafeteria junk though, so I wouldn't worry. Does she usually get a packed lunch?

                1. Brave girl for making that playground attempt! My neighbor and I used to jump off my 8 foot high balcony with plastic grocery bag "parachutes" until he broke his arm in one particularly valiant attempt to jump from the balcony to a tree.


                  Neither here nor there. I like the soup / puree idea and the wide bubble tea straws. Protein drinks would get really old really fast for me. Soups and stews come in endless, often very nutritious variations. Chicken, veggie, rice stew would give her every food group except dairy.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    Well, she was a tad less graceful than that. Apparently she was standing on the top of a half dome structure and attempting to leap to the adjacent monkey bars, hands and arms outstreteched to grap the monkey bar rungs. She made it to the monkey bar rung but her hands slipped and she tried to break the fall with her hands. Oops.

                    All: I've relayed the jello, soup and stew suggestions along with the wide straw idea, and we'll see what works.

                    1. re: lrostron

                      Irostron, it sounds like it could have been worse. I hope she heals quickly, all the best to her.

                      1. re: lrostron

                        that absolutely sounds valiant. she sounds like a great gal and i hope she heals up quickly! (she should suck up lots of yogurt through her bubble tea straws for the calcium. maybe dilute it with a bit of milk to make it more inbibeable)

                    2. How about this. Since she cannot connect the mouth and the hands why not buy her a pair of tongs (like we use in the kitchen) so she can pick up food with the tongs and bring to her mouth. The chicken fingers, sandwiches and the like may come backinto play.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jfood

                        That might work, and I stress might, but would lead to a gret deal of laughter in the lunch room at school. The problem is the way her arms are cast. Essentially knuckles to mid biceps (one in blue, the other in green!) but at an angle, so I imagine she would wind up lifting whatever is in the tongs above her to get sustenance into her mouth. I have a picture, but don' t think it's real appropriate to post (a grinning ten year lifting her cast arms looking like she's in surrender).

                        1. re: lrostron

                          Why do you not paint the tongs with that think sticking paint to help her eat then. Make it a little fun.

                      2. This is such a silly idea, but I wonder if a pickle grabber might work. Cut up her meals into small bite sizes and she can use her fingers to push the pickle grabber for the food and then just turn it around and pop it in her mouth.

                        Something like this:

                        1. I take care of kids for a living (and a laughing!) - and a favorite lunch is homemade smoothie - frozen fruit (mango, blackberry work well), banana, yogurt, a little milk - or fruit, oj, and yogurt for a creamsicle type drink...Thick straws also come on sport drink cups....

                          1. Poor baby!!! But just because her arms are incapacitated is no reason to make life miserable for her taste buds! She doesn't need (or deserve) a soft diet or lunches through straws. What if her nose itches? What if she gets soup on her chin? The "lunch companion" is the best idea so far. If there is any possible way a family member can do it, that is probably the surest way to preclude teasing or another kid eating half her cookie before she gets a bite. Or maybe a teacher? Which is not to say that there aren't kids her age who would help her with great compassion. Your family has a dilemma! Great good luck with it and a speedy recovery to her.

                            Oh, and when I was in the 7th grade, my best friend broke her right arm and didn't have to do any homework for the duration of the cast. I was soooooo jealous! But at least she could feed herself with her left hand.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Caroline1

                              All: We have an temporary solution. The best aunt is flying out this afternoon to Santa Fe. Hey, it's Hatch chile harvest season, so why not! The plan is to free up my sister and her husband, so I will be there to hrlp with the two other kids, get the wounded one ready for school, which is going to take some time, bring her to school for the first couple of days then she's bound and determined to ride the bus with her friends), and then be there for lunch. I'll be there for meal prep and there when the kids get home from school. Again, thanks for all of the suggestions.

                              1. re: lrostron

                                How funny! I had considered posting that exact suggestion. It's always great to maintain "favorite aunt" status :) And I'm betting that after the first few days she's going to get over reluctance to have her friends help her. It IS rather a status symbol!!! Good for you and have a great time.

                                1. re: lrostron

                                  Have a great trip and be sure to tell your niece that if she breaks both arms AGAIN, next time she's on her own. Well, unless you enjoy the chili festival! Fortunate niece. Fortunate you most of the summer heat has said goodbye. And stuff yourself with a bunch of chilis for the rest of us while you're there! Happy flights.

                                  1. re: lrostron

                                    You are SO the best aunt, lrostron! Enjoy the chili festival, and good luck to your niece in re-acclimating herself to school. I think c oliver is right - after a few days, it'll be OK to have her friends help her eat her lunch.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      While you're there you might have her experiment with an extra long fork, like you use for bbqing.... that might be long enough to stab food and get it to her mouth. Then mom could send her lunch of precut meats and veggies.... kind of like a one piece at a time shish ka bob.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        All: thanks for the well wishes and the niece says thank you as well! I showed her the posting and she thinks she's a celeb now!

                                        1. re: lrostron

                                          Well she IS! After all, she has her very own thread on Chowhound! ;-)

                                          1. re: lrostron

                                            Please send us some updates. I bet I wasn't the only one here who froze their arms in place like in a cast and tested out some kitchen utensils :D

                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                              I will, when I see her after school today (and probably feed her a snack!)