Does the phrase “My child is such a picky eater” ring a bell? Collective sigh for all the parents out there who have crossed their fingers in hope as they sent their picky eaters off to school with a prepared lunch. To ensure your child comes home from school with an empty lunchbox and a full belly, try these inspired school lunch ideas for picky eaters.
It’s all in the way you slice it
Interesting shapes make for an exciting lunchtime adventure. Your child could be bored with the shape of his food, which means he’s less likely to want to eat it. Try cutting your child’s food into fun shapes using cookie cutters. For sandwiches, use large cookie cutters, for vegetables, use smaller cookie cutters.
Sip it delicious
A healthy fruit smoothie doesn’t have to be reserved for breakfast only, and it is a great way to load your child up with healthy nutrients and minerals. You can pack your child’s smoothie full of milk, fruit, juice, yogurt, honey, peanut butter and even egg powder and wheat germ for added nutrients. Soups are also a fantastic way to get your child to “sip” a healthy lunch. Tomato soup, vegetable soup with pasta, and hearty whole grain rice and chicken soups are all great choices that aren’t too intimidating for kids to sip. Many canned soups are loaded with sodium, however, so be sure to check the labels before purchasing canned soup. Homemade soups are easy and delicious, and making them yourself ensures you create a custom-made soup loaded with your child’s favorite veggies.
Variety is the spice of life
Younger children hesitate to try new things, but the more often you introduce new foods, the more likely they will end up enjoying a wider variety of foods. When you pack your child’s lunch, make sure to include variety. While it’s easier to always include a banana in your child’s lunch box because that’s her favorite fruit, switch it up a few days a week with other healthy fruit snacks like sliced apples with cheese cubes or peanut butter.
Give your little munchkin miniature-sized foods that are not only fun to look at, but fun to eat! Make mini-sandwich roll ups, pack some mini carrots or a mini box of yogurt-covered raisins, and make mini-cracker sandwiches by pasting together two Cheez-Its with a swipe of peanut butter or almond butter.
Fun with noodles
What kid doesn’t love noodles? Try mixing fun-shaped cooked noodles with various cheeses, vegetables, lean meats, even nuts, seeds and dried fruits for variety. Don’t forget to choose whole-grain noodles or the hybrid variety that has the nutrition of whole grain pasta, but the taste, texture – and most importantly look – of white noodles.