Ah, so you’ve spent all that time making and packing a beautiful nourishing lunchbox for your kids and it comes home uneaten? Now what?
As disappointed (and annoyed) as you might be, don’t get angry, just have a conversation with your child about why they didn’t eat it and come up with an alternative option for the next day together. There’s always a reason and a workable solution.
Ask yourself –
· Did they have enough time during their lunch break to eat it? I find this is a big one with boys especially, as they’re more focused playing than eating.
· Was there too much food? Maybe offer smaller servings or half a sandwich/wrap instead.
· Is the lunchbox itself wrong? Your child might prefer a brown paper bag, a lunchbox that’s the latest ‘trend’ or one like their friends have.
· Is the lunch boring? Try to pack a different lunch every day, or a variation of it. For younger kids, try cutting their sandwich in different ways and shapes - presenting food differently can also help with fussy eating as they visually accept food that looks different
· Is the lunch too interesting? Some kids can be overwhelmed by too much choice and prefer a simple sandwich over a bento box.
· Is the lunch too messy/fiddly? Some children are put off my fiddly packaging or foods that make their hands sticky. Try peeling an orange or mandarin, cutting a kiwi fruit in half and adding a spoon.
Try enlisting your kids help with what goes in to their lunchbox: Make a plan at the start of the week especially if you’re utilising leftovers, let them choose their fruit and veg, and have a tub of (approved) snacks for them to choose from.
If it’s the veggies that come home uneaten, don’t replace these with a different food, keep including those 2-3 vegetables and get your child to choose them, to get more buy-in. Oh, and serve those uneaten veggies up for afternoon tea on a snack plate or with a dip.
Just don’t give up on getting those good-quality foods in there… it’s a process, it takes time and you’re doing great!