6 Tactics to get your kids to eat their lunches!
Not all school children enjoy eating their lunches even if their loving moms and dads prepared them. This is one of those dilemmas that many parents face since no parent wants their kids going hungry at school.
But why do many children skip their school lunches? For sure there are varied reasons that only they can provide answers. Talking to your kids is just the beginning, so be sure to listen and take note of their feedback about the school lunches you make and pack for them.
The following are simple and practical steps you can take to get your kids actually to eat their school lunches
(1) Involve your kids in planning for their school lunches
Planning the best lunch meals doesn’t have to be solely a parent’s task. Surely, you can search the internet for some ideas and tips in planning for your kids’ meals, but remember that your kids are unique and they have different appetites as well.
Involving your kids can be as simple as sitting down with them while browsing the internet for meal ideas, to jotting or typing the ideas that appeal to them, to finalizing the weekly lunch meals they’ll take to school.
Getting your kids’ feedback and involving them in the decision-making process, or at least guide them in picking out the best options, is a great way to start. It also gives them a sense of control when it comes to what they like to eat, as long as it’s healthy and good for their body.
(2) Go food shopping with your kids
Part of being involved and having a bit of control over what they like to eat is shopping for their actual lunch meals. As long as you have ground rules for picking the right types of food and ingredients, it’s off to the grocery or farmer’s market you go with your little ones.
Take this time also to enjoy the outing and bond with your kids. Picking fruits, meat products, and veggies can also be very educational (i.e., identifying produce, telling them why colorful fruits and vegetables are good for them, enumerating the nutrients found in different meats, etc.).
(3) Have taste test weekends
Without a taste test, you’ll always go blind in preparing for your kids’ school lunches.
It’s an excellent way for you to better plan for the following week’s worth of lunch meals. Take this opportunity to introduce your kids to new dishes, sandwiches, fruit, vegetable, and other lunch ideas you find interesting and appealing to them. Tested and approved lunch ideas should be included in your roster of school lunches which you can rotate within the month or every other week.
(4) Let your kids make their lunches
Kids will always be curious, and they also crave a bit of independence and confidence. Prepping their lunch meals is a way to boost these traits while also providing them with proper nutritious meals and knowledge.
If you have school kids from kindergarten to pre-teens, you can let them fix their lunches with your guidance. You can have a list of their lunch meals and let them prepare them on their own. If the meal requires cooking, you can show them how it’s done and have them help by washing the ingredients, adding fillings to sandwiches, tasting the dish if it has the right flavor, and placing them in containers and lunchboxes.
School kids who are involved in their meal preparations take pride in doing so. And they are more likely to eat them happily, knowing that they have a hand (and a bit of input) in the process.
(5) Ensure that the meal containers and other food items are easy to manage
Too tight containers, too big and hard to peel fruits are just among the variety of reasons why some school kids skip lunch. If these simple things are too difficult for your kids, they are likely to skip a meal than spend time in tackling them.
Check their lunch boxes and food containers if they are easy to open and close. Have your kids demonstrate it in front of you so that you can assess their handiness.
Pick fruits that are easy to peel and eat. Apples, bananas, grapes, and berries are among the easiest fruits to eat. Citrus fruits and those with thick or more robust peels should be peeled, sliced, and packed in containers. Just make sure your kids like the fruit options so they can eat and enjoy them during lunch.
(6) Make bento lunches more exciting
A bento style school lunch can be appealing to kids especially when you include some of their favorite food items in one box. They may not like the typical single meal lunches, so this is a great way to diversify and add nutritious food items as well.
A good example is a lunch bento with veggies and dip, a few slices of their favorite cheese, crackers (whole wheat would be great), a small fruit, and a small handful of roasted nuts.
Any parent will surely enjoy the process and the success of having kids eat their school lunch meals. It may take a bit of time and patience while you’re teaching and involving them in the planning and preparation phase. In the long run, you and your kids will thank each other for the experience and enjoyment involved.