I have never been one to make separate meals or snacks for my kids when they are at home. My rule is “What goes on your plate goes in your mouth”. Bottom line. Being picky is not an option.
But when they go to school, there is only a limited amount of time set aside for lunch. They are not afforded the luxury of Mom’s constant chiding about finishing their meal. I want to pack something that is nutritious as well as appealing to them so they will actually eat it and have the energy they need to finish the school day. Here are some of the things I pack for my picky eaters’ lunches:
10 Healthy Lunchbox Ideas for Picky Eaters
- Cut up grapes – For some reason, cutting them makes them easier to eat. You can place them in a small snack bag and pinch the center with a twist tie to make it look like a little butterfly.
- Colorful vegetables and ranch dressing– The more colorful foods are, the more interesting they seem to be for my kids. However, if your child is into monotone foods, find some vegetables that are all the same color (ex: yellow squash, wax beans, carrots)
- Soup– Invest in a good thermal container and pack your child’s favorite soup with some crackers on the side.
- Reassuring notes– Just a little love note from home can help make lunch a little easier to get down.
- Something less-than healthy – Yep, I throw in some Oreos or chips on occasion because, well, why not? They are kids, after all.
- Cheese slices and crackers– always a winner in our family. Have a taste test beforehand to find your child’s favorite cheese. You may find that even though American cheese may get the thumbs down by your son, Cheddar is his favorite.
- Cereal– who cares if they just ate it for breakfast? Cereal is a great source of fiber and if they add a bowl full of milk to it they will be getting some good protein to make it the rest of the afternoon.
- Salad– Don’t assume that just because it’s not a chicken nugget or a PB&J that your picky eater won’t like it. Some of the pickiest eaters enjoy a good salad.
- Goldfish crackers and vegetable cream cheese– This is a favorite of mine. The crackers themselves are great, but adding some cream cheese with vegetables for dipping makes it more fun.
- Flavor mix-ins for milk– Fold over one end portion of a regular drinking straw and seal it with invisible tape. Carefully fill the straw with chocolate or strawberry drink mix and seal the other end with more tape. Your child can dress up the plain milk they get at lunch by unsealing and pouring the mix right into that little carton!
One thing I want to add here to help make it easier for everyone: Let your kids TRY the foods you are planning to pack before you just spring them on them one day. You may be surprised to learn that your child isn’t as picky as you thought. She may just have different tastes than you. Don’t be afraid to step outside your own comfort zone when it comes to your kids’ palates. Don’t like hummus? Maybe your daughter does. Let her give it a try.
What are some of YOUR favorite healthy lunch box foods?