Tips For Parents - What To Do When Children Won't Eat Their Lunch
With school starting, school lunches are back on our “parents’ to do” list. You want to ensure your child has a healthy lunch. After all, studies have shown that a nutritious lunch helps kids perform better in school.
At the same time, you want your child to actually eat the lunch! You want to pack nutritious lunches for your kids but you know it isn’t going to be easy. You want to provide healthy sandwiches or at least a quick and balanced meal that your kids will actually eat. You’ve been here before and recall some of the frustrations. Either you pay for the cafeteria lunch and hear about the awful food, or you discover your daughter hasn’t even taken a bite of her lunchbox sandwich and had only one bite of her apple. But your child comes home from school and did not eat their lunch. How disappointing after all the effort you did to give them a nice tasty nutritious lunch. Here is some advice that I give my clients who face this same problem: Kids that throw away or won't eat their lunch!
If you do pack a nutritious lunch and find it barely touched or realize that the cafeteria lunch is ignored because your daughter is
starving when she gets home from school, relax. Children like to be social and get out and play, ignoring their stomachs. Studies have shown that schools who schedule recess prior to lunch have less plate waste (i.e., more food is consumed after playtime). You could become an advocate for your school and work with the PTO to change the lunch period. However, this is a big task and could really big an uphill battle.
The easiest thing to do is just offer a healthy lunch at home for a healthy after-school snack. Rather than threaten them to eat their school lunch, just serve up healthy snacks when they get home (grapes, sliced peaches, nectarines, low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks, etc). They may not grab the orange, but if you have it peeled and ready on the plate when they arrive, you may be surprised that they want more. Offer grapefruit with sprinkled sugar along with a grapefruit spoon (kids get a kick out of utensils like this).
Be patient, kids will eat when they are really hungry. So have the healthy snacks ready.
Written by Anne Kolker
Written on Oct 04, 2010
Last updated on Aug 31, 2014