Getting kids to eat school lunches is an age old problem. Aren’t you tired of slaving in the kitchen every morning creating masterpiece school lunches only to open your child’s bag at the end of the day and find it still intact?
We’ve got a few tips that can ensure your kids are actually eating during the day rather than holding out until they get home.
Ask for their Help
When packing school lunches for the week and doing the weekly shop, ask your kids what they want for lunch. Don’t assume that they will want the same sandwich day in and day out. In fact, just because your son liked a jam sandwich on Tuesday doesn’t mean he’ll want it again every day this week. Give your children a list of the different options they can have and then take note of what they choose when you hit the shops.
Switch it Up
You most likely don’t eat the same thing for dinner day in and day out and thus your kids will not want the same thing for lunch every day either. You don’t have to spend hours the night before preparing a five course lunch. However, try to mix up what you are giving them. If you have bought bread, choose different meats, cheeses and spreads for each day of the week. If wraps are on special, then choose different toppings to put into them, such as avocado and cream cheese on Monday, chicken and lettuce on Tuesday and spinach and ham on Wednesday.
Consider the Presentation
You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled to open your paper bag lunch and see a half smooshed sandwich and a bruised banana would you? However, this can happen to lunches that are not presented and prepared properly. Invest in a high quality lunch bag or lunch box that comes with different compartments. Look for colourful containers of different sizes to store the various items in their lunch box that will not only keep the food fresh and smoosh-free, but it will also make lunch a little more appetizing.
Think Outside the Sandwich
When packing your kids lunch you probably want to go with something like a sandwich as well as a piece of fruit. However, this can get pretty boring pretty quickly so why not do something a little different? For example, instead of packing an apple and an orange, why not slice the fruit into small pieces and place them onto a stick for a fruit kebab? Or, instead of packing a meat and cheese sandwich, why not roll the meat around the cheese to make ‘sticks’ rather than sandwiches? There are plenty other sneaky ways to take regular ingredients and make them a little more magnificent through the right presentation.
Offer a Treat
Having a small treat as part of their lunch can help them get excited about lunch time. Add a yogurt, a rice bubbles bar, a muffin or a fruit rollup to your child’s lunch to give them a little more variety. Consider baking a healthy batch of oatmeal cookies, sultana scones or another healthy treat to freeze and add to their lunches for the next few weeks.
Ban the After School Lunch
Finally, one of the reasons your child may not be eating lunch is because they know they can come home and eat a large snack before dinner. Having an after school snack is important as most children cannot go from noon to six without eating. However, offer something small, such as a piece of fruit, veggie sticks or cheese and crackers. If your child is still hungry then too bad. They will get the picture after a few days and start to eat their lunch.