Seeing your child come home with the lunchbox almost as full as when they left can be extremely frustrating and may even leave you feeling a little hopeless when it comes to lunchbox prep! Below, I have listed a few handy ways to try and get your little ones finishing their lunches, from the starting out in big school stage all the way to that dreaded fussy older child phase!
Providing a solution to this issue that so many parents face on a daily basis is what inspired me to write my Lunchbox Made Easy book. I wanted to offer parents a permanent solution to the lunchbox rut, and provide parents with lunches and snacks their little ones will actually eat by recreating children's favourite recipes in a healthy, nutritious way!
Starting out in big school
Moving to big school is a huge transition for both you and your little one. Most likely, your child just graduated from the cosy atmosphere of a crèche where they are given a lot more attention from surrounding adults and most likely gobbled up their dinners.
A sudden change in routine when they start out in big school can be a lot for a young child to cope with. Suddenly they have the added responsibility to manage their own mealtimes. They have to take out their lunchbox, eat all their food and then put away their lunchbox all by themselves, but in this new environment children just don't understand how to allocate time for eating. While this is understandable, you must explain to them that it is important to eat.
Break down the food groups
Breaking down the food groups and explaining why each one is so important will help them to understand why food is necessary. During their first year at school, both of my girls eventually learned how to eat their lunch during the allotted time. It simply just takes a bit of time.
Separating the food into different pots can also help them better understand the different food groups as well as help make packing the lunch so much easier! The Mummy Cooks Lunch Sets come with 20 pots in 4 different sizes so you can lunch prep for the entire week.
Keep encouraging them!
Don't be too worried if at the beginning, your child doesn't eat all of their lunch. Sometimes they need time to adjust to this new, unfamiliar school environment. If possible, try to encourage them to make sure they finish it when they get home and before they eat their afternoon snack. Eventually, they will fall into a comfortable school routine, and they'll return home everyday with all their food eaten!
Approaching this issue older children can be a bit trickier, as in this case they are used to the school routine so it is most likely picky eating.
The best way to ensure your child eats their lunch is simply to let them choose the contents themselves! Having a voice in what they will be eating means that there will be no surprises come lunchtime.This has to be within reason of course. Make sure that they understand the food groups and choose something from each category.
Inside the Lunchbox Made Easy book, I have included a whole section on the importance of including each food group in the lunchbox, as well as my go-to recipes for each group! My Marinara Sauce in particular is one of my favourites as its packed full of veg, and you can mix it with pasta and send it in the lunchbox in your food flask. Other recipes like Apple & Blueberry Oat Muffins and Potato & Carrot Waffles are also great recipes to get loads of nutrients into your little ones.
Involving children in the lunchbox prep is a great way to get them eating!