'How can I get my child to eat all of the food I offer?' This is something I get asked a lot from Mums. We are not in school with our children to encourage them to eat their meal. It is a real concern when they come home with the food in their lunch box untouched. It is important to remember that helping a picky eater overcome their uncertainty about unfamiliar food is a process. It most likely will not happen overnight, but there are many steps you can take to ensure that the school lunch is a positive experience for your little one. I am not a fan of labelling a child a 'fussy' or 'picky' eater as it is creating a negative outlook on how your child sees themselves and food. Keep trying and keep encouraging your child. It's all about how you approach the subject with them. This will bring more results. Here are my best tips and tricks for preparing a lunch box for a fussy eater. Check out our lunch sets to help make healthy choices for your child.
Avoid calling your child 'picky' or 'fussy'. Keep trying and keep encouraging your child.
Tip 1: Take your child shopping with you
Letting your child have some choice in what they will be eating gives them some control over their lunch. Of course, this has to be within reason. Remember that a balanced lunch needs to have a carbohydrate, protein and fruit or veg. Try to ensure that your child's lunch includes something from each of these categories if possible, and discourage them from choosing too many foods from one group. However, let them explore the aisles of the supermarket and see what fruits and breads catch their eye. They will feel more involved in the creation of their lunch, and therefore will be more excited to try what they picked. You can separate the food groups in their lunch by using the Mummy Cooks Lunch Set.
Tip 2: Always Keep a Box filled with Lunch Box Essentials
This tip is also about giving your child some control in packing their lunch box. In my fridge, I keep a box with food especially bought for the school lunch. I separate the food inside into the three main food groups. Then, I allow my girls to pick what they would like to take to school from this box. This encourages their involvement in planning the meal. They are much more likely to try and enjoy foods that they picked out themselves. You can even lay all of the food for the school week out on the kitchen table or worktop if there is no room in your fridge for a box. Seeing the food spread out and separated in this manner teaches children the importance of a balanced meal. Mine really enjoy the process of making up their lunch, and I think yours will too!
Keep trying and keep encouraging your child. It's all about how you approach the subject with them.
Tip 3: Pair the Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
If your child is really struggling with fussy habits, avoid packing a lunch that is made up of only foods that they are unfamiliar with. This may put them off trying the food altogether. However, if the unfamiliar food is paired with a food that they are comfortable with, then they will be more likely to try it. Sometimes, this familiar food may not be as healthy as you would like. Yet, it is important to remember that this is a process and will help your little one to form a positive relationship with food.
Tip 4. Make Sure that their Lunch Box is Visually Pleasing
Little changes in how food looks can make a huge difference to a child! Cutting vegetables into cute shapes, such as circles, squares or sticks, makes the lunch box much more appealing. Using fruit skewers and chicken skewers also makes the lunchtime experience far more fun. You can even arrange fruit into a silly face and give your child a fun surprise! There are so many ways to make their lunch more interactive. When packing for a fussy eater, make sure that what you have prepared looks as pretty as possible. This means that everything looks neat and organised, with lots of colour and the fruit and vegetables look ripe and vibrant, with no brown spots or bruises. Taking care of these little details may be just what is needed to convince the fussy eater to taste and try.
I hope these tips have given you some new ideas. I know that it can be very disheartening when your child won't eat the healthy food that you have prepared, but keep persevering. One step at a time!
The Mummy Cooks Lunch Set contains twenty portion pots in four sizes, Everything you need for the school lunch.