If you’re sick of seeing your kids’ lunches come home half-eaten, or hearing them complain about the food you pack, you’re not alone. One strategy for helping match what you send to what they’re willing to eat is to engage them in the work of planning lunches.
What fruits would you like to eat this week?
Encourage them to try new things. If you’re on a budget, make a game out of shopping sales, which often indicate produce that’s in-season. Canned and dried fruit can be good options too. Look together for options that are canned in 100% juice and which are unsweetened.
What vegetables would you like to eat this week?
Make a game out of filling the cart with a rainbow of vegetables. Pick options that require little or no prep to make it easy for them to help you pack portions later. Look together for yogurt-based dip recipes they’re excited to try.
What protein would you like to eat this week?
Talk about allergies you need to consider for their classmates’ safety. Talk about plant-based options like hummus or lentil salad for the environment. If food safety is an option, talk through what works best in a lunchbox with iffy refrigeration. Remind them that eating oily fishes like salmon is good for helping their brains.
What whole grain would you like to eat this week?
Eating a whole sandwich can be overwhelming for small kids. Look together for whole grain crackers to put spreads on. Consider mini pita pockets or tortillas. Talk about ways to slice bread and wraps to make them easier to eat. Experiment together with grains like quinoa or barley in tasty salads.
Last week’s tip: Lunch for Little Fingers
Next week’s tip: Little Lunch Preppers