Guest blog written by Sarah Remmer (RD), Kepler Academy’s Head of Nutrition
As a pediatric dietitian and mom of 3 kids, I know all about how frustrating and worrisome packing lunches can be for picky eaters, both from personal experience (been there!) and from counselling hundreds of families over the years. Don’t worry – I’ve got you.
First off, before you react negatively to lunches coming home uneaten, or before throwing in the towel and sending only your child’s safe foods, get curious. Ask your child why their lunches are coming home untouched and how you can come up with a solution together to make them more appealing.
Here are 5 tips for success when packing lunches for a child who is going through a picky eating phase:
Packing Lunches for Picky Eaters: 5 Tips
1 | Try a bento-box: A bento box allows you to separate foods into their own compartments, offers opportunity for lots of variety (the more variety, the more your child will eat overall), and it’s better for the environment.
2 | Practice opening items with your child: This sounds silly, but it’s really important — your child might not be eating much because they can’t get into it in the first place.
3 | Get kids involved: Although you’re ultimately in charge of what is packed in their school lunches, offer some structured choice (read my Rule of 5 blog post). You can teach your kids about the rule of five, and have options from each category for them to choose from. Getting kids involves and allowing them to have a bit of control, will increase the chances of them eating more of their lunch.
4 | Be courteous without catering: Make sure that there is at least one item in your child’s lunch and snacks that they will likely accept and eat. You can still offer variety and new foods, but packing at least one safe food will put your child’s mind at ease.
5 | Maximize nutrition at home: If your child is going through a picky phase, know that it’s normal and likely not a cause for concern. Make sure that breakfast, after-school snack and dinner are nutritious and varied so that your child has plenty of opportunity to consume nutritious foods throughout the day, especially if lunch is a difficult one for them.
How do you help your picky eater have more success with school lunches?