Picky kids lunch

What to Pack a Picky Eater for Lunch

Packing a school lunch for a picky eater can be a tough task for many parents. You don’t want to give them the same old snacks every day, but at the same time, you may have a hard time trying to convince the child to try something new. When you do pack your youngster something new for lunch it’s usually a good idea to do it piece by piece instead of an entire new lunchbox all at once. For example, if they usually take ham sandwiches and an apple for lunch you may want to substitute an orange for the apple, but leave the sandwiches alone rather than changing them. This way you know they’ll still have enough food to eat even if they aren’t too keen on the new selection of fruit.

Give Them What They Like

Of course, knowing what your picky eater devours at home will certainly help you figure out what to pack for lunch. If your son or daughter isn’t a meat eater there’s no point packing it for their lunch. In general, most children seem to be fond of sandwiches, but you just need to know what to put in them. The usual choices are meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, jams and spreads. If your child likes two or more of these options then you’re in luck as you can mix things up a little instead of packing the same thing day after day. In fact, you can give them the above food options without the bread if you want to add a little variety to their lunches.

Give Options

Other options include wraps, crackers, muffins, bagels, salad, eggs, tortillas, baked potato, and pasta. And we all know most kids love dessert and there are plenty of healthy choices for them here such as fruit, fruit cups, yogurt, oatmeal cookies, pretzels, cottage cheese, Rice Krispie squares and granola bars etc. If your child’s school has a microwave oven available at lunchtime then your options will definitely grow. This will allow them to heat up last night’s leftovers as well as quick snacks such as popcorn, hot dogs, and pizza pops. If there’s no microwave for the kids to use you can always pack stews and soups in a thermos to keep them warm.

Let Them Decide

The best thing to do with a picky eater though is to basically let them choose their own lunch. For instance, you can make a list of menu items and ask them to pick the ones they’d like to have. You can also make sure they’re eating healthy at the same time by asking them to pick one fruit and one vegetable each day along with something such as a muffin, bagel, wrap or sandwich and a drink such as a fruit box or milk. If you make a list of different fruits, vegetables, desserts and main courses then the child will be able to alternate or stick to their favourites each day. If your children are choosing their own items for lunch there’s definitely a much better chance they’re going to eat it.

If your child truly is a picky eater then he or she could tire of the same old food for lunch everyday and may suddenly become more adventurous. Older children may be more open to trying different types of food. However, the worst thing you can do is pack a lunch you know your child won’t touch or try and force new foods on them. In this case you’d be better off adding something you may consider to be slightly less healthy as it’s better than having them not eat at all. Still, the best way to keep your child happy and provide yourself with some peace of mind is the previous suggestion of making a long list of healthy foods and asking your child to tick off the ones he or she would like to see in their lunch box.

The Lunch Lady

Tired of making the same old lunches every week?  Treat your child to a hot, healthy lunch with The Lunch lady, Canada’s largest school lunch provider in Canada.  Learn more about our school lunch program and find out here if The Lunch Lady is in your school.

Top 10 “Home-packed “Lunch Bag Ideas for kids and parents too!

Orange Slices

ATTN PARENTS!  You are the food crusader for your family!  Here are some ideas to consider as the New School Year starts to help you fulfil your mission.  Don’t worry – We are NOT suggesting that you make fruit kabobs, cheese daisies or use cookie cutters to create sandwiches that look like dinosaurs.  We know you are busy and looking for practical solutions and advice.

  1. Keep it  Cold!  [and Safe] – A frozen 100% juice container used as an insulator will be like a “slushie” by lunchtime and a yogurt tube , frozen overnight will be “just right”
  2. Follow the Canada Food Guide – It is not new, but it still works! Whole grains, fruits , veggies, and protein are the must- haves. Everything else is like icing. Don’t serve more icing than cake!
  3. Control the weekly consumption of Goodies – YOU Rule the Cupboard! Decide in advance how many goodies you are buying for the week, whether for school or home.  If the kids eat them all before the week is finished, resist the temptation to run to the store to buy more.
  4. Think beyond the Sandwich – Fill small containers with crackers, cheese, veggies , fruit , muffin, cold meat, pizza or whatever to create an instant “Bento Box”.  A thermos can carry leftovers, soup or even hot chocolate. Anything goes!
  5. Serve more Carrots and Apples –  It’s harvest time.  We would all be healthier, if we ate more carrots and apples and less of everything else.
  6. Try to think about the next day’s Lunch the night before. Mornings are such a rush! Get the lunches started the night before and get the kids to help out. Why not ask them to suggest a healthy lunch for you. This sends the message that healthy choices matter in your home.
  7. Be thankful – We live in a country with an overabundance of accessible and affordable food and perhaps we over-worry and over-cater to our children’s likes and dislikes. Most children in the world are grateful just to have enough to eat. Food is a blessing.
  8. Make them Laugh – There is no such thing as too much FUN. Visit onlygoodjokes.com   Kids love corny jokes. And if you are packing a lunch for a spouse, give them a good chuckle too.
  9. Make them feel Good – We seldom tell ourselves how amazing we are. Yet we all need to hear it.  Visit  abundancetapestry.com and look for their 101 affirmations for children.  Stick one in the lunch.  Then tell yourself “I am a good parent” – because you really are!
  10. Give yourself a break now and then – Do you have a catered lunch service at your child’s school? Give yourself a day off. Food sold at school must now comply with specific nutritional guidelines, making this a healthy alternative, for your kids and for YOU.
  11. ONE MORE – Surprise your child by showing up at lunch time to take them on a surprise lunch date. Just doing this once in the school year will leave a big impression.  It can be simply going home for a surprise lunch or a picnic in the park.