When kids don’t eat their lunch at school or daycare it can be very stressful and frustrating for the parents. You’re not there with them so there’s nothing you can do about their eating habits!
There are 2 extremes that people often speak to me about.
The overhelpful kindy/daycare
These are the very strict teachers who force the child to eat everything in their lunchbox before they can leave the table. Although they have good intentions, this often causes a lot of stress for the child left sitting by themselves and actually makes them more reluctant to try that food again.
Make sure the teachers know your routine and strategies and are happy to go along with that.
Don’t give them too much choice or too much food. They will feel happier if you give them less food that they can realistically finish. Build up the amount once they’re in the habit of eating the food in their lunchbox.
Don’t give them something new that they will struggle to taste, far less eat. If you book a consultation we can find the best time in your day to try new food in a stress-free, relaxed environment.
School and daycares are very busy places. Kids finish eating and rush off to play, so yours does too – whether or not they’ve eaten much lunch.
Encourage your child to help you choose some lunch food (from choice you give them). Give them small amounts so they get in the habit of eating a few foods in there then start to bulk up the amount.
There are so many other things to take into account so if you would like some more details or you would like to find out what Little Bites could do for your child book a free consultation or send me an email to [email protected]
Food to try for slow eaters or those not interested in eating lots
Remember that for challenging eaters, something is better than nothing and trying new food will be most successful at home, then can be put into lunchboxes.
Sweet veggie muffins
Scrolls (vegemite, cheese, pizza with amazing disappearing spinach pizza sauce)
Protein – cheese, meat – cold chicken, ham, cold sausage/sausage roll
Yoghurt – can have fruit pieces/stewed fruit, oats etc on top
Banana or other more filling fruits
Dips like hummus, guacamole or sour cream for rice cakes or veggies
Eggs in various form
Homemade muesli bars
Pasta with a sauce, meatballs, pesto, even with shredded chicken and cream cheese stirred together
nuts/seeds/trail mix/peanut butter (depending on the allergy rules at your school)
Salmon (my kids favourite) or tuna
Things to avoid overloading on
Food that will give them a little sugar rush then make them crash just in time to try to learn should be minimised. Nutritionally empty foods won’t give them what they need to get through the day and you’ll end up with the healthier food left in the lunchbox and a HANGRY child at pickup or dinnertime.
Some carbs are important in our diet but if your child just has carbs, salt and sugar at lunch they’ll suffer later on in the day. When giving them less nutritious food in their lunch box, give smaller amounts or they’ll fill up on this and ignore the slow release energy foods that are important for learning.