4 Reasons Your Child Isn't Eating The School Lunch You Packed

This time of year, the Internet and magazines are filled with recipes for school lunches. But before you buy the latest superhero lunchbox or start cutting the sandwiches into dinosaur shapes, here are some basics to consider and possible solutions:

Time constraints
Your child may only have 15 minutes to actually eat during the lunch period. Since this is also one of the few times your child gets to talk to his or her friends, eating lunch may take second place to socializing.

Solution: Limit containers, which may take a child more time to open.

Wanting to stay clean
If the meal is messy, some kids will forego eating to keep their hands and clothes clean.

Solution: Skip the spaghetti or dipping sauces. Choose items like cheese sticks and whole grain crackers, cut-up vegetables, and other non-messy foods.  Be sure to include a napkin.

Loose teeth
Those first graders with missing front teeth look adorable. Just remember loose and missing teeth mean it’s hard to eat certain foods, like whole apples. 

Solution: Switch the lunchbox items to foods that don’t require front-teeth biting, such as thin slices of fruit, squeeze yogurt, small whole-grain crackers, cubes of cheese or turkey and fruit pouches

Too many choices
If there’s too much food in the lunch box, your child might feel overwhelmed and skip many of the items. If you’re using several smaller containers or plastic baggies inside the lunchbox, the “mystery” aspect may be part of the problem. 

Solution: Try a bento-style container, which is one box that has a lid on top and a few small compartments inside. That way your child can see all of his or her options at once. Or limit the number of items. Go back to basics like a sandwich and baby carrots. 

How GMC Can Help

Information for this post was condensed from a longer article on school lunches, which can be read here, in GMC’s Health (e) Library. For ideas on what to put in lunches, as well as enticing ways to package it, browse our boards on Pinterest.

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