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Who’s got picky eaters? I do! Most likely you do — and your friends’ probably do too. But what do you do when your picky eater needs to bring lunch everyday? You get creative!
1. What’s on their “approved” list? If your picky eater can tell you what they want to eat, make list of “approved” foods. My oldest child (almost 8) was always very verbal and when he started pre-K, he could tell me what he’d eat and not eat. There was more that he would not eat, but he would have some tried and true favorites (it was the next year that he ONLY ate the Peanut Butter and Jelly). My youngest child (who just turned 3) and started full day preschool this summer, is not very verbal so I can’t tell what he will eat or not. But I do know what comes home eaten and not eaten. The classroom teachers make sure not to throw anything out so I know.
2. Be aware. Limit GMOs (which you should do for all the food you can afford to). Avoid high fructose corn syrup and added sugars. Choose organic as much as you can (it’s hard, my secret is Trader Joe’s, which is the only way we can afford to buy most of our organic food). I also swear by EWG’s Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 App, which someone on a chat introduced me too — link here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dirty-dozen/id312336368?mt=8.
2. Create a shopping list- with your picky eater. To get your picky eater to actually like their lunch choices, take your kid shopping with you or go through your grocery store’s online site so your child can “pick” their foods. My toddler can point and say yes (or no) to foods. I don’t know about you, but I can’t take my three kids grocery shopping, it’s just too hard!
3. Think outside the lunch box. Lunch doesn’t always have to be a sandwich. Get lunch containers that have several small and larger sections so you can make sandwiches some of the time and other times put crackers in, rice, pasta, etc… even leftovers (if your picky eater will eat it, of course).
You want grains, protein, fruit, and veg. After that you can put in snacks, more fruit..etc.. yogurt tubes can be frozen and eaten very easily (and taste delicious).
Crackers and cheese (or lunch meats – look for meats with nitrate free) are usually a hit. Choose whole grain crackers, make sure the ingredients don’t contain high fructose corn syrup or sugar.
If your child’s school is nut free, don’t despair – you can still send SunButter and I.M. Healthy’s SoyNut Butter as a fun alternative. If you are going to send almond butter (which is my favorite), cashew butter, or hazelnut spread, just check with your child’s teacher first.
Here are some lunch choices, all approved by my picky eaters.
Note: The lunches below were for a 3 year old boy, who also eats 2 snacks from this (so this may hold enough food for a lunch for a kindergartner through second or third grader).
I was not compensated for this post and paid for this Laptop Lunches set with my own funds.This post contains affiliate links.