Why Won't My Kids Eat Their Lunch?

Are you tired of making lunches for school just to have them come home not touched? Figuring out the "why" might help give you an understanding of how to tackle the problem.

There's nothing more fustrating then seeing lunches come back home barely eaten. Instead of getting mad, why not try to get to the route of the problem to better understand how to help resolve the situation. Here are some tips to ge you started: 


1. Ask your kids what they want for lunch. Include your kids in the lunch making process. Ask them what they want to eat and if it's not a healthy lunch maybe compromise on a healthy item partnered with a treat for snack time. Most schools have 1 or 2 snack times so we compromise that our kids eat the healthy snack and lunch before the treat in the 2nd break. We let our kids know that if the healthy items come home and the treat doesn't, then the next day they won't be getting a treat. Obviously you need to do what works for you and your kids but letting kids in on the lunch plan can help convince kids that eating healthy foods can be "rewarding".


2. Your child has a small appetite. It might look like your kids lunch box is coming back full but sometimes we are sending lunches that are just too large for their little bellies. We listen to our kids complain all day long that they are hungry but when they are at school there is a lot going on around them and they don't have the benefit of being able to eat whenever they want, Send lunches that are smaller portions. Make sure you load up on the healthy snacks like berries or sliced apples that will allow them the ability to multitask of eating and having meaningful conversations with their friends.


3. "My lunch was gross!" Have your kids come home saying this? Consider the fact that from when you make their lunch to when they can actually eat, lunches are sitting in cubbyholes or backpacks. If you are sending items that you normally keep in the fridge, purchase ice packs to help keep the food cool. You can also purchase thermoses which will either keep the food cool or hot depending on what it is.


4. Purchase easy to open containers.  Kids have small fingers and don't always have the ability to open containers and zippers. When buying lunch containers, have your kids see if they are an item they can open on their own. Teachers have anywhere between 18 - 20 other kids in their classes so they don't have the time to go around opening items for everyone. Help your littles help themselves!


5. "I didn't have time to eat."  So many kids come home saying there wasn't enough time to eat, Most schools have a 20 - 30min lunch breaks but that includes washing hands first, bathroom breaks and getting ready to go outside. This can be a challenge for kids who are slow eaters. Kids are also easily distracted and multi-tasking isn't an easy thing for them. There is lots of talking and silliness going on that is a lot more interesting than eating. Give your kids bite sized foods to help them get through a meal. Lots of schools are switching breaks to go ouside first and then consume lunches second. They are finding great success in getting more food into the students and better focus in the classroom as a result. 


Feel free to share any tips you might have to make lunch a more enjoyable part of your kids day.